Judy Rodman - All Things Vocal Blog

Training & insights for stage and studio singers, speakers, vocal coaches and producers from professional vocal coach and author of "Power, Path & Performance" vocal training method.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Numb/Lifeless Singing: 9 Causes and Cures


So you've either noticed or been told that you have a numb or lifeless singing voice. Getting to the root  (the why) is the only way to change this ineffective, boring vocal performance into a voice that is understood at an emotional level.

The top 9 reasons I see in vocal coaching for numb/ lifeless singing:

1. You don't know what your main vocal goal should be. 
  • Your #1 goal should be to make somebody feel and/or understand something... much more important than technically 'singing good'.
2. You don't know what the song is about. 
  • Read the lyric out loud... what is it saying? Go deeper... What is it saying between the lines?
3. You don't know who you should be communicating to. 
  •  Again... read the lyric. The answer should come. You should also understand who you should NOT be communicating to in order to be authentic.
4. You don't know what response you want to generate from your performance.
  • As every great actor knows, you can't get a response you don't go for. If you communicate effectively, you will create some kind of (even a subtle) response from the listener. Not everyone has to like what you say, but you should be able to generate some kind of response energy from your performance. Sometimes it's just a feeling of electricity in the room... you know it's there (or not).
5. You're thinking too technically during performance.
  • The time to think technically is during vocal training and technical rehearsal, not during actual performance.

6. You are psychologically constricted due to past trauma, low self esteem, fear, fatigue, chronic pain or physical illness 
  • Treat the underlying physical or psychological condition. Yes... freely singing can do wonders to free the psyche, but sometimes it can also uncover the need for some extra help from counseling or medical professional. 
7. Your mental focus is scattered in too many directions.
  •  You as a creative person may need to rein in your enhanced sensitivity to read a room. You must focus your thoughts on your #1 goal (above), informed by knowing the who, what and why of the song!
8. You are not using facial and/or body language.
  • Singing with a poker face or stiff body will generate a numb vocal sound because of the breath and throat issues that result. Learn to your body and your face correctly to give life to vocal tone.
9. You are uncomfortable and insecure vocally due to vocal strain, inability to hit high or low notes, do vocal licks or sustains, make use of tone colors and other vocal control issues.
  • Hit me up. I can help... with all the above, in fact.
There's no need to settle for numb singing. When you discover the cause, the cure can be found - and your voice can become a sound that moves mountains in the ears of your listeners.

PS... this works for the speaking voice, too.

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