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HI, I'M JORGELINA
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When we train as singers, adopting the right mindset for singing can help you achieve your goals and enjoy the process. Have you heard about the concepts of growth mindset versus fixed mindset?
Some months ago I came across a book called Mindset, by author Carol Dweck. I was really happy to finally see summarized in one book a lot of the things I have observed during my whole singing training and my whole singing teaching career.
I recommend you grab a copy of the book and read it all. But summarizing, what the author explains with multiple examples is that those with a “fixed” mindset believe that talent and intelligence are things we are born with or without. And therefore, we can’t cultivate them.
Those with more of a “growth” mindset, see talent and intelligence as qualities that we develop through hard work.
She also gives multiple examples of how people who did not demonstrate innate ability or intelligence, became world leaders in their fields through hard work and perseverance.
Sadly, there are still too many people who believe that singing is something we either have a talent for or we just don’t and we can’t do anything about it. In fact, most people believe that. Many times parents come to my studio bringing their child to take lessons and they tell me something along the lines of “if she/he has no talent just let me know, we can handle it”. They tell me that if I don’t think the kid has natural talent then they shouldn’t even bother trying.
And that’s how I see an innocent kid, nervous and shy waiting to be judged for someone they just met on one of our most precious gifts: our own voice.
Fixed mindset people think that if you are not a good singer naturally, you shouldn’t even bother. They seem to forget that behind every great singer, there are many years of hard work and dedication.
According to Carol Dweck’s work, fixed mindset people consider that if you are talented then you shouldn’t have to work hard at something. And so hard work to achieve something becomes almost shameful.
When the student (kid or adult) brings a fixed mindset to the lesson, progress is always limited.
Growth mindset people see talent as something you develop. At Auckland Singing School, we encourage students to adopt a growth mindset. It is part of the holistic singing process.
In the case of singing, students with a growth mindset see singing as a skill that can be developed.
Students with a growth mindset for singing know that singing is a process and that it will take time. They enjoy the little and the big improvements, and they also enjoy the process of learning.
First of all, when you adopt a growth mindset for singing you now know that it is possible for you to learn to sing at a high standard. The first step for achieving anything is actually believing you can do it.
Having a growth mindset invites you to be curious about your voice. To set goals for yourself, and not for other people. Singing the styles that you enjoy. Finding solutions and ways to train to meet your own goals.
It also helps you make peace with the fact that some people have a more “natural” ability to sing than others. Because that is just a starting point! With a fixed mindset, you can have great ability but without hard work, there will be no progress. But with a growth mindset, natural ability is a nice gift that can be nurtured and developed to your fullest potential.
In my experience working with growth mindset students of all ages, I have been delighted to see students who couldn’t match one note in tune at the beginning of their lessons, become confident singers in their chosen style.
I’ve also seen growth mindset people with certain “natural” ability for singing (which in most cases is not a gift but a result of a supportive environment and usually lots of music around), become much happier with their voices and become curious and excited about the different possibilities that their voice offers. Having fun with it, taking on new challenges to grow. And as a result, becoming skilled singers and musicians.
I have worked as well with professional singers with a growth mindset, who through singing lessons achieved connection with their instrument and tools to really take care of their voice and enjoy it. Singers that learned to truly use their instrument to communicate and express themselves meaningfully in their performances.
A growth mindset for singing helps you focus on what singing should be about: communication and expression through your own particular and magical voice, rather than trying to prove you’re the best voice out there. Or rather than hiding your voice from the world because you think you don’t have talent!
If you want to perform in front of people, to participate in musicals, shows, etc, having a growth mindset will help you overcome the uncomfortable emotions that this might bring for any reason, and grow from there.
According to Carol Dweck’s work, people with a fixed mindset are much less likely to take on challenges. The reason for this would be that if you believe talent is fixed and given and you take a challenge and don’t succeed, then that would mean you are not talented. Taking the risk could mean paying a big price.
People with a growth mindset apparently are much more likely to take on challenges and this is necessary when you are learning to sing. Because learning to sing requires building new habits in the way you use the voice. Transformation is necessary.
There are some famous examples of singers that were rejected by either singing competitions, music companies, or not “naturally talented” at first, and didn’t let that stop them. Some examples are the great Elvis Presley, Tori Kelli, and even Madonna!
Cultivating a growth mindset can help you achieve your goals in singing much more easily. And most importantly, give you a lot of joy in the process!
And most importantly, a fixed mindset can be changed into a more productive growth mindset.
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