I Help people sing and speak expressively and powerfully no matter the level of experience :)
HI, I'M JORGELINA
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Last week my adult students and I organized an open mic night in our community. It was a great night full of music in a supportive environment! Organizing a singing performance for beginners was a fun task.
This was the first time that we have organized an event of this kind, and because of that, I needed some extra help! My adult students were kind enough to take an active role in both the organization and the running of the event. This made the whole experience much better for everyone.
The first thing to have in mind when organizing a singing performance for beginners or any event of this kind is to humble yourself and make a list of the people who would be happy to help!
Even if it is a small event, it doesn’t come stress-free, and there are plenty of things to organize. We are not all-powerful, so help is needed to fulfill some roles.
In our case, we had the following roles to fill:
Thankfully, we had enough people for all those roles, so I have to say, even though it was a bigger event than we normally do, it was the first time I did not end up having a migraine after it!
So, generally when I tell people I teach holistic singing, I am talking about holistic training as a musical instrument – training the voice in conjunction with our bodies, minds, and overall energy to sing better.
But another passion of mine – apart from the vocal instrument itself – is what’s involved for a contemporary singer as a real performer. It really is not just about singing nicely! That’s why when organizing a singing performance for beginners, we need to consider a holistic approach as a vocalist, which includes the following elements (and many more!):
Of course, vocal technique! But also…
As singers, we are not just supposed to sing prettily. We are meant to communicate a story with our voice and our energy as our tools. Know what you are saying. Spend part of your training learning to connect with your song and sing from that connection. It is not just about having a nice voice and definitely not about how many high notes you can reach.
As a performer, you are in charge of keeping your audience engaged and entertained, to give them the gift of some minutes of escaping from their everyday life.
As a vocalist, you have it easier than many instrumentalists. You bring your instrument with you everywhere, yes, but you still have to be able to successfully manipulate a mic stand, to be able to use a microphone in a way that helps you, to know how to test a mic – and to know the difference between microphones too. Many vocalists take a passive approach to this, expecting (and even demanding) the sound person (or even another instrumentalist) to do everything for them, from arranging their mic stand to even arranging the music stand for them. Don’t be one of those singers. Don’t be one of the singers that give singers, in general, a bad name. Be one of those singers that take an active role in the whole music experience instead of expecting everyone to serve you. Be professional!
Are you using backing tracks for your performance? Make sure you get them ready in a suitable device. Investigate if the place you’re performing in supports your device. Have a back-up plan in case things don’t go as planned. Are you carrying the music on your phone? Make sure you have it in airplane mode! You don’t want messages to suddenly interrupt the music and the flow of your performance.
When you perform anywhere (even a friendly open mic), you have to show up prepared. In fact, you have to over prepare if you want things to go really well. The moment you’re on stage you’re an artist. Prepare in advance! When I have small performances I like to play the set every day for two weeks. Knowing your material well will actually give you freedom in the performance. That way when you’re in an environment in which the energy is always unexpected because it doesn’t depend on you, you are prepared to do your best, instead of being frozen by an unfamiliar environment.
If you don’t know your songs really well before a performance, you won’t perform as well on the actual day. If you can’t sing your song from beginning to end without messing up the lyrics (or even looking at the lyrics), don’t hope for some miracle that you will be able to do everything perfectly on the day of your performance.
And please make sure you actually know your lyrics! It does not look good to see a performer staring at their phone for the entire set.
Remember, if you don’t know your material well, you can’t really engage in the most important aspect of your performance: communication!
Make sure you have the time and space to warm up your body and your voice. Get to know yourself. What do you need to get ready to sing? If you get nervous about performing, you may need to take that day a little lighter, or take a walk, do some yoga, take a bath! Try not to schedule unnecessary things that day. Make sure you keep yourself hydrated during the entire day. Make sure you prepare the clothes you are going to wear in advance.
A performance ‘mistake’ that beginner (and not so beginners) make sometimes is to say sorry to the audience for things that didn’t go as planned. I have seen plenty of beginner performers telling the audience that they messed up the lyrics, that their voice doesn’t sound as great as usual that day, etc. Own your performance! Most of the time the audience doesn’t even know you made a mistake. Own your performance and defend it. Do your best and be happy with it. It is tempting to tell the audience you do it better at home – but remember it is not about you. The performance is about what you give. It is not about perfection but about sharing music and helping people have a good time! If you want to be better next time… keep on practicing! It will be better every time.
All of that said… Perform as often as you can! Just like anything in life, practice is what makes you good at something. And it is fun! (That’s why we keep on coming back for more 🤓)
Are you ready to learn singing? At Auckland Contemporary Singing School we offer a holistic training in singing, covering all the essential aspects of being a true, complete contemporary vocalist.
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