Singing Is Natural: Learning To Sing Can Be As Well!!

If no one told you not to, you’d be singing. If you’d seen other people in your family singing, like as not, you’d be as well!

Why?

Its fun, fulfilling, sexy and performing for other people ROCKS! So…if its such a natural thing how come more people don’t feel comfortable doing it? Even in the shower?

Well (said Dr.Divy, clearing her professional throat…) I believe everyone WILL!

Eventually.

Its one of the most natural expressions of being alive. Birds do it, bees humm it…
even educated fleas…etc etc

If you were left to your own devices creatively and were raised around really relaxed, relatively enlightened usually positive people you’d have learned to sing easily.

People even learn under stress and duress!
They’re just not that happy when they’re off stage. Can be a problem.

Anyway, every problem I’ve ever had the honor of helping to”fix” has come down to some habitual
contraction. And once relaxed and all atrophy aside (vocally muscling up) everyone learns to sing quite well!

Now, they may have some residual vocal side effects from being vocally contracted for however many years,
but they learn to relax and get stronger and they love it.

What if you’d been instructed to sit in a straight backed chair for 35 years?
When u finally stood up what do you think you and your body might go through?

What if you’d been denying yourself swimming? What’s it like to learn later in life? What do you go through?

And if you’re a kid (or know one) and you are strong and flexible and willing to learn how long do you think
learning to sing might take you?

((I’ve had kids grasp the basics and use their new voice naturally in a matter of HOURS!))

When you relax your fist what’s left? An open palm, a helping hand, a lift up, a great handshake, a high five and a pat on the head for doing your rehearsal CD just like I asked!!

ITS WORKING!!!

Love you all and thanks for reading
The SIngers’ Daily

This is Divy Nelson
AustinVoiceLessons.com

Vocal Workshop Offering Quick Fix = Totol Bull!

Why waste your time and money? Would you go to a one day workshop about Karate and expect yourself and/or your body to retain it?
Would you give the thrill of surfing a one day chance and then judge the measure of your surfing abilities by that day?

Would you try speaking Spanish using a ONE day workshop and really expect to have it down?

NO!! So…..

Please do not go to some workshop offering the one time ‘discovery’ of your voice. Not unless you use it to kick-start a term of study that will actually last for a lifetime! Even a six week program in my vocal studio will change your vocal trajectory permanently.

If you can learn to run faster you can learn to sing.
If you can learn a language you can learn to sing, and well!

But someone offering you something impossible is just that: impossible. Or very very very very UNLIKELY, lets just put it that way. Just so I don’t sound so negative. Wouldn’t want to squelch the magic!!

I have facilitated thousands of people with their voices over a 30 year period of time.
There are only a few things to fix or relax or be aware of really!! But that awareness takes a certain amount of attention and
focus to grow. The body takes time to retrain and do what you’d like it to when its under pressure (i.e. people staring at you while they listen to you sing!)

It takes a bit of patience, some skillful coaching….and yes, you can have a great voice.

Being able to sing, with a nice vibrato, on pitch and on key, in rhythm and in front of people ONE TIME
really doesn’t mean that, from then on, you’ll be able to do it ever again.

That is one of the MAIN points of frustration for semi-professional singers or a really good amateur.
Repeating the performance!

SO, my point again is, get with a good coach. Study voice for a stretch of time. Get measurable results that you and everybody else can appreciate and have fun with it the good old fashioned way. By applying yourself.

I had a very excited note on Facebook today about something one of my students “got!” technically.
So much JOY and enthusiasm makes it all worth it!

This is Divy Nelson for
The Singers’ Daily

AustinVoiceLessons.com

What Does Singing “Clear”??

Singing clears the emotional self. The physical action of singing has profound effects on every body system!

You also can’t think about much else besides what your singing while you’re singing it! You become instantly centered in the present.

Its a yoga, a martial art.
Strength, agility, laser focus, flexibility, practice! confidence, relaxation, being present… its the same travel path.

But then you add people watching, judging, comparing and applauding….this bumps it up a notch.
How the hell can you prepare for this much multi-tasking?

What you really learn to do is handle, from total relaxed presence, eveything at once: allowing your voice to continue working under pressure.

Its a knack.

So , to master the voice one must be able to master it under pressure which brings us to performing.

There are SO many benefits to learning to perform I won’t list them all but just know its worth it!
Performing can give you a confidence you never thought possible. And that confidence can be applied to everything in your life.

I’m writing this today, after teaching for the last few hours, watching as my students allow themselves to begin the process of desiring to perform. That desire, if allowed, fuels the mastery process beautifully. Whatever the real motivation it doesn’t seem to matter. I’m grateful the desire is born because it makes my job so much easier!

So then, in a performance class, we’ll sing for each other. Support each other and be VERY very positive with our feedback.

And we’ll watch each other bloom with expression, with newfound confidence and relaxation expanding into vocal mastery.

Its such a blast.

Have a great today and tomorrow.
This is Divy Nelson for
The Singers’ Daily

Visit AustinVoiceLessons.com

hugs

Divy

The Craft of Ease

Teaching today I was struck with how we sometimes think something is wrong with our voice or our life when in fact we are just not applying enough energy to the task!

Generally, it is easy for me to sing well. I’m quite used to how much effort it really takes and I apply it almost automatically.
Singing is an athletic event and being an athlete helps!

Well, how about when creating money? or romance? or expansive lifestyles? or physical health?
How athletic am I there?

I gradually got used to how much effort, strength, flexibility and stamina my voice required of me to use it well and accurately.

For many its hard and almost not worth mastering….
Does that make singing easy or difficult to accomplish? And by whose measure?????

I’d really like to analogize this out into our greater lives.
Apply this principle to making money, being in relationships, spiritual attainment or anything we deem worth having or doing.

There are two camps. Everything should be easily attained because that’s how you know you are on the right track and in the flow so to speak. And its opposite: everything worth doing is hard: hard work, hard labor, hard won = more value.

Its true: everything we want is easy to attain if we actually want it, do whatever is suggessted to aquire it and never look back!
The actual steps may involve enormous amounts of time, study, practice, patience and love…but none of that is particularly
difficult to figure out. And its true: some of those steps will have you break a sweat! Is that hard? If one is making an enormous effort easily, while breaking a sweat does that mean the task is “hard” and therefore the thing not easily done and not worth doing?

Simply going for ‘ease’ all the time means there’s probably a reaction to a lifetime (or 10) of suffering to attain anything.
The point of view is still rooted in limitation. It can seriously give you the impression that WORK is a bad thing!

Remember, everyone may have a very different way of interpreting a word and its meaning.

It is amazingly easy to sing 30 scales in tune and in time. What made it easy was a series of small steps, in themselves rather mundane. The awareness of what my voice and body required to make singing these particular scales easy is what really grew over time. And the comfort or ease with which I handled the uncomfortableness of the “work” and many weary muscles became second nature, all to be expected, not resisted and….easy.

Once in a while a skill or talent just “happens” and is labeled “TALENT” (which is supposed to be easy).
But I say for myself, there was a lifetime past where all the work had already been put in and make no mistake about it.

Therefore, if certain things come easily to you, you can apply that way of being to attaining other things as well!..but show other people what part is easy and what YOU mean by EASE! Go step by step….to make it easy.

So, have fun singing and rehearsing and allowing what has seemed illusive to become second nature once again.
WORK AT IT! Focus on it, relax into it: whatever it takes!
And go ahead: surmount some obstacles!

Having surmounted a few hundred, I myself am ready for a nice cup of tea and a cookie.

Have a day filled with action and strength, flexibility and fervor filled with the ease of knowing you are doing exactly what you want to do! Now THAT’S ease.

This is Divy Nelson for
The Singers’ Daily
Ciao for now

Your First Time…

Witnessing someone sing in public, for the first time,
is really a treat.

They’ve chosen a song, strengthened their voice, gone through a tiny bit of hell and showed up onstage!

It SO deserves applause!

I always feel that, no matter how they sound, they deserve huge hugs and kisses just for showing up.
For most of us, taking ourselves and our voices seriously is a big step in allowing ourselves to be the
NUMBER ONE STAR in our very own production called: My Life (…the musical!)

I’ve noticed that consciously asking for the spotlight, stepping into it and saying to the Universe at large , “Bring it ON!” seems to bring a pretty big response from all four directions!

Most people gear up for the negative judgement that they just KNOW is on its way. The judgement they are counting on so they can use it as an excuse to justify their “I’m not good enough to do this” point of view…
They usually aren’t prepared for the onslaught of positivity that rains and pours…

The Universe at Large seems to
particularly appreciate what it takes to sing a song!

And this theme seems to be somewhat Universal.
Taking into account strange religious rulings about No Singing,
generally, in every corner of the world,
singers get measurable and exalted praise.

However, in the United States singing has lost its practical recognition in the community.
People generally think of ‘being a Star” when they refer to someone wanting to sing.
But actually we should remind ouselves that singing has always been a point of ritual and commemoration,
celebration and punctuation to our daily lives.

That being said, singers ( or anyone willing and able to lend a vocal chord!)
provide a very necessary service.

Think of a funeral or wedding without singing! Or a birthday or New Years Eve or a ballgame!

If we think of integrating our best singers back into their communities not only will we have REALLY HAPPY HAMBONES who love to sing, who know they are needed and are willing to do all sorts of events at the drop of a hat, we will also stop making singing only for The Stars.

Everyone will learn to do it once again and stop thinking of it as an exclusive ability for only a chosen few.
That alwasy bugged me..the chosen few thing. Only a few have talent, etc
If you’ve been reading this blog you’ll know what I think of the term “talent”…

Anyway:

Singing belongs to every BODY that has a voice.
Re-integrating it, on a daily basis, back into our lives will nourish and support everyone being able to express themselves
more frequently, more beautifully and with less stress…..
singing is normal.

Birds do it! Bees do it!
I dunno about fleas…
But I definitely know that YOU
can
sing!

This is Divy Nelson for
The Singers’ Daily

June 2009

There Is No Problem!

I’m going to introduce my basic philosophy on Life in this little entry here… and apply it to singing of course
Okay…ready? Here it is:

There is NO problem. There never was and never will be.
Don’t like that last note? Didn’t get a breath in time? Messed up the lyrics?
It is just not a problem!

I always noticed that for really talented (please review my first blog entry in this series on my pov on “talent” if you’re interested) …Okay, for really open, flowing and skilled musicians,
improvisation was the art of discovery and recovery!

Climbing out on a limb, becoming obviously a little lost and
recovering beautifully! Finding any path back to key equilibrium and moving on!
Doing this quickly and efficiently! Improv!

Improvisation can also be applied to Life, singing, making love, cooking, finding a good dentist etc.

SO, lets review (already?)
I’ve just hit a clunker note/ there’s a cute person in the front row/ I don’t even FLINCH/ there’s a famous movie director in the 2nd row/ I sing another note close to the last one that creates the impression that I MUST’VE clearly hit that last note on purpose/ then, find my way back to familiar territory/ WALLAH!….saved my musical ass once again!

No problem, no pain or thoughts about hitting a “wrong” note that really did go against the key and feel of the song… just for a second! Just a weaving dance of notes that fly and float around the key, the melody flying about in and out of what I’m singing…all is well!

AND it sounded fine AND the sax player compliments me on some very interesting improvisational choices and he especially loved the dissonant notes and there’s no problem!

So, coming up with ways to NOT hit a bad note can become a dogmatic technical uncreative point of view that hinders your discovery and consequently your learning to recover!

Becoming an accurate singer is, of course, a good idea. And one should be able to sing what one hears in one’s head on command: I agree. But in ANY moment, if that does not happen for whatever reason….it’s no problem.

It never was! It never will be.

Pressure off to be the perrrrrfect singer before you can have the time of your life performing for the folks???

Revealing yourself,
essentially vulnerable
and as naked as you can be,
to the world
is:
FUN!

Don’t make something that is so much fun a problem.

This is Divy Nelson for
The Singers’ Daily
Austinvoicelessons.com

(since 1492)
PS: it is important to have sung about 10 thousand scales in every key during your hourly practice, if you are a beginner.
Just thought I’d throw that in. Its like the steering wheel on your fancy car. More on scales later..

Ain’t None Of Your Business!

You THINK you know what you sound like.
Yes you doooo.

Butcha don’t. You Can’t!
Know how I know? Cuz acoustically I’m way over hear, listening to you project towards me (hopefully).
You are inside your body listening through bone and tissue and not in the correct spot to hear yourself at all!
Its that simple! Plus we are looking at you and that can take up more of our attention then anything else.

Plus throw in a little judgement and its over!
Its too hard to tell the real impact a voice being driven by YOU has! Plus, if your good, you’re too busy driving to notice.

I know, for myself, that I am way too close to my own process to be objective.
I wish someone had clued me in about this long ago. I’d have relaxed a lot!

For the last 15 years, when I get offstage, I ALWAYS have someone close by give me 2 seconds of feedback.
“How was it?” Because I honestly do not know! I can hardly remember! I was too busy singing.
So I depend on someone I trust giving me quick, objective feedback.

For the first ten years of my ‘singing with the band’ career the only feedback I got, besides “Divy, that was great” was “well, it was kinda hard to hear you because….” and then I’d get to hear how all my vocal efforts were mostly drowned out by a band playing all over itself and not being able to hear itself play!

This prompted me to be the Queen Of Amazing Monitor Systems. Much to the annoyance of most of my drummers. They being directly behind me and in the line of fire from my VERY clear monitor speakers. My drummers could hear me as well as I could. I trained a lot of young drummers to play underneath in THE number one supportive position, as the rhythm section, and not all over the front line as a soloist.

Anyway, the point is, as you stretch and strengthen and mold and expand a beautiful singing voice you cannot tell what you really sound like. For that matter you can NEVER tell what the effect you had on your audience really was. Most honest performers know this much.

Letting a performer know what they made you feel and think during their performance is always great feedback for them. And letting them know what the overall effect was, how you perceived they effected the audience, is SUCH welcome feedback. Even if its just your opinion, its another point of view the singer cannot really have themselves and would love to know about.

So, if you can, be generous with yourself: get real feedback about what you just did onstage. It’ll help you relax, learn and strive for more. It’ll get you to not question your performance so much after its done!

Remember: While your growing a new voice…its none of your business what you sound like! Its too early to tell anyway!
Trust your amazing vocal coach and just keep a goin’! If you don’t like what you sound like on your rehearsal CD then just
remind yourself that it DOESN’T MATTER!

It really doesn’t.

Not right now anyway….give yourself the gift of trusting your feedback people and relax. Keep working it.
Trust the process!

This is Divy Nelson for
The SIngers’ Daily

AustinVoiceLessons.com

Does Your Mom Think You Sing Great?

Its Important.

Its important to have people around you that believe in what you love to do regardless of the “reality” of how well you do it.
All your friends and family, when you do something you love to do, something that makes you feel like a million, should be applauding!

Sometimes, if family doesn’t know what support LOOKS like, you have to spell it out. There’s no shame in that. Maybe they’ve never known!

Its okay now to say “Hey, I know you have your own idea’s about how someone should sing but: I’m taking voice because it gives me SUCH joy. I could really use your support. It would look like this: no matter WHAT you really think of my voice….you clap….you smile and you let me know you SUPPORT my efforts! It doesn’t matter if the notes are GOOD OR BAD or anything in between. Just that you support the arc of my learning to do it! And thank you!”

I have students memorize these little public service announcements all the time. Mostly for family, so they get the support they can use. Not criticism they can’t digest or even relate to.

Does it really matter how perfectly you sang? If your form was exact when you took a jump on your horse? That you skydived solo instead of piggy-backing along with an instructor? Does it really matter if you hit a clunker when you were pouring your heart out onstage??? In the bigger picture of Life does it matter? Will we remember the note or the HEART?

My Mom said to me yesterday that I was a really great writer. Well, I know I am not a really great writer. That’s my current point of view but she convinced me enough and I got excited about writing my blog more often! There was a direct result of the support she had for me and that is now effecting you!

Support is unconditional. It has no other agenda. It is kindness up close and personal.

I really love my Mom.

🙂
This is Divy Nelson for
The Singers’ Daily
May 2009

Sentimental Notions

I get sentimental. I think about all the amazing people I’ve trained to teach and facilitate voice over the years, where they are now.
Some are having children (Yay Sarah!) some are moving, some are helping with other family matters but, most are still teaching voice.

So many people still making a decent living with almost no overhead and loving their lives, making music all day long.
THAT is a satisfying thing to know. That I built into the program all of the simple small business techniques that have always worked well here in the states.

I am obviously proud of this, and should be.
I’ve watched a lot of programs promise people a lot of things, including “you will make a living” and fail over and over.
And there’s my graduates, still functioning in a musical capacity while making a living.

Truly warms my heart!

SO, the vocal tip for the day is: MAKE SURE TO REST!
Lots of questions lately about hoarse and tired singing voices.

There is only one answer: rest.

I’ve always advised to trade talking minutes for singing ones, meaning: For every word you DON’T speak you’ll get 5 extra notes at your gig or recording session. You might become the Silent Sage when not singing but, hey! whatever it takes!

Even friends of mine who’ve had lazar surgery have had their “nodes” or vocal calluses come back after just a short time back at work. So control the problem where u have control. Make sure the first 2 songs of each set are instrumental, one other band member can sing at least one song per set, don’t show off your biggest notes in chest voice more then ONCE per night and don’t talk over the house music on the breaks!(or in the morning…no talking!) and rest, rest, rest….

These habits will ensure vocal health.
We’ll chat about changing your speaking voice to also help in this as well.

Happy, Healthy Singing!
This is Divy Nelson for
The Singers’ Daily

May 2009

Shouldn’t Singing Like A Bird Be The Pre-requisite To Teaching Voice?

Being able to sing can come naturally or you can learn how! That’s the good news. I’m in Austin, TX and there are some AMAZING vocal coaches here. Intense and professional, the folks here are from inside the music world with resumes to prove it.

Some are traditional and some not (like myself) but everyone is very sincere and doing great work.
So my question today is: who should be teaching voice and advertising that they do so?

My other question is: if you are advertising that you facilitate peoples voices shouldn’t you be able to sing really REALLY well? And understand the voice, how it works, basically?

And be able to answer vocal anatomy questions at the very least? And have an arsenal of wonderful things to vocalize so your students can learn quickly?

What I’ve noticed about vocal study is that it changes people’s lives almost always. No matter what level they’re at vocally an entire transformation begins to take place when the student begins to practice.

Almost everyone notices this and will sometimes comment, saying things like “This isn’t JUST about voice, is it.”
Posed as a question but given as a statement the student is actually asking us if we realize how profound taking voice can be!

For all the coaches I’ve known trained and met over the years the answer is “YES!” We do see how totally transforming taking voice can be for everyone concerned! Especially us or we wouldn’t continue for as long as some of us do!

The tears of joy after a first performance. The frustraion and tears of terror heading into that performance. Going past all previous limitations. Yes, we get it! We know the territory well and it can be sublime.

Its an HONOR to facilitate something that is held in such high esteem by so many cultures around the world.

Now: when people very innocently inquire about vocal study it is important to deliver what they’re looking for. Even though we know much more will be given and received! The voice is the vehicle for this growth and that’s where we put our attention and focus our expertise.

Make sure there are no hidden agendas or any other motivations for getting clients into the classroom.

Even the requirement of the coach to make a decent living can interfere with the delicacy of the process.
Simply allow those simple facts of life and don’t worry about it at all. That’s part of the job. No worry!

It is not possible to facilitate voice without being a real singer yourself.
Glamorous breakthroughs do not last.
Be wary of claims of super quick fix’s that give your voice everything without any practice or work.

I can actually have ANYONE singing quite well in about 5 minutes. But again, it doesn’t last without real, ongoing study and practice. The body requires time to integrate newfound flexibility and strength (and a million other things).
So please be wary of groups saying they are going to deliver your voice to you when they are actually just getting you excited about the POSSIBILITY of gaining your true voice!

Its just common sense, really.

By the way Skype Vocal Sessions are working GREAT! So if you’d like to take a lesson with me online email me at
divynelson@gmail.com and we can set that up.

This is Divy for
The Singers’ Daily
May 2009