This question of greatness has been on my mind recently. What is it that separates a great singer from a good one?
There’s a high level of singing that a lot of people are doing. If you look at the classical music world, there are lots of conservatories, producing a lot of singers. If you look at the local music venues in any given area, there are a lot of different singers and bands performing 7 nights a week.
If you assume a certain amount of natural talent, a high level of training and a drive to perform, what is it that makes some people move on to greatness and others stay in the category of good?
Some of it is luck, being in the right place at the right time, knowing the right people, leveraging your network and practicing hard. But, I’ve come to the conclusion there is another element. One that isn’t so obvious to the naked eye.
It is the ability to connect emotionally with what you are singing: the ability to sing from your heart
For some this comes completely naturally. I love to watch these people on stage. When I see them sing it always seems that it doesn’t matter if there is an audience, they simply must share what is inside them.
For many, many others, the emotional connection is elusive. It isn’t the music that is the issue. Music is always emotionally driven. It is your heart center. Emotions can be big. The can be scary. If you aren’t in tune with your emotions off the stage, it can be hard to tune into them when you sing.
It can take some work to get below the surface to see what is going on with your emotional center that is influencing your performing. Perhaps this is why voice lessons so often feel like therapy!
Keeping a journal, talking with a therapist and engaging in heart centered practices will all help you identify your work and move forward.
Yoga is at its core a heart centered practice. By cultivating present moment awareness you are able to ride, without judgement, the waves of emotions that occur in life. The physical practice helps to develop awareness of what is going on with your body, but it is meditation that will tune you in to your emotions and help you move through whatever your issues are so you are present to the music!
Try developing a regular meditation practice. Start small, 10 minutes a day and add time as you get comfortable with the practice. Keep it simple and just focus on your breath. Your thinking mind will engage and all you have to do is notice that you’ve started thinking and return to focus on your breath. The results might astound you!