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If you, dear singer, have done enough stage performance to feel confident with a mic or instrument in your hands, singing in the studio can feel as unnatural and uncomfortable as communicating a foreign language... on Mars! You find it maddeningly difficult to sing as well as you know you can do on stage. The harder you try, the farther away that goal seems to move. Self confidence slips away and you enter a stage that I call 'Red Light Fever' (referring to the red light that comes on when the machine goes into record mode). So let's talk about why this is, and what to do about it:
How are Studio and Stage Singing Different?
The recording studio can seem artificial and strange to a veteran live performer, offering very different sensory input for the automatic nervous system to respond to. And the performing voice is primarily worked by the automatic nervous system!
- The studio feels more like an operating room than a performance space.
The singer loses focus on where and why to sing. The resulting vocal, even if the voice is hitting all the notes, sounds numb or disconnected.
- The audience is not there
Even with a supportive production team, it can feel like you are singing to the critics instead of your fans - and your inner critic can be the hardest one to please! This can divert your voice's attention away from the heart it is supposed to be delivering a message to. Every take will have elements of the question 'was that ok?' in the nuances of the vocal performance.
- The critics are there!
Without the normal mic or instrument to hold, the hands fall lifelessly at the sides, which causes the ribcage to drop and collapse inwards. Even a little ribcage collapse will sabotage breath control because it relaxes the taut stretch of the diaphragm, which then can send uncontrolled breath to the vocal cords. This results in a loss of vocal control.
- The singer's hands and arms are usually hanging at 'rib anchor' position.
Your ears are hearing the details of your vocal sound under a microscope instead of stage monitors. Live mics are usually much more forgiving, with more reverb and and a smooth, rich ambiance from added room acoustics as well as crowd response. The sound of studio mics, even with reverb in the headphone cue, can throw the ear if it is unfamiliar with all the fine detail they pick up from the voice. The eq is different, too. The result can be a sudden lack of confidence, sabotaging breath support from a guarded stance and also tightening the throat.
- You have studio headphones on your ears.
The good news
- Vocal lessons with a focus on mastering studio singing.
- The ultimate studio vocal training course 'Singing In The Studio'.
- Hearfones for practicing .
- Vocal Production - working as part of your production team, I am in the studio with you, producing your vocals.