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. Download All Things Vocal podcast on your fav app!

Friday, January 6, 2023

12 Vocal Resolutions To Rock the New Year -Updated

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WHEW, We made it to 2023! I hereby challenge you to make this the best year ever for your voice! Here are some ideas to help you begin this January with intention and openness for opportunities to come for you and the people you can touch.

I know a lot of folks are down on the idea of resolutions, saying they don't work. In my experience, it's all in the way you resolve yourself! Consider the word 'resolute'. If you are resolute, then you absolutely intend and expect to do something... you don't just muse about attempting it someday! Among the many things you might want to make new year resolutions about, please include your voice! Here are my 12 suggestions:

1. Resolve to assess the state of your voice. 

All change starts with awareness. On a previous post, I suggested that you figure out your next most important thing for your voice, and start working on that. You can do this many ways... record and assess your voice yourself, ask friends with ears you trust what they hear in your performance, ask yourself how your voice feels when you sing (and right afterwards), attend a workshop or other event where you can showcase your voice and get an informed opinion, or in vocal lessons. If you think you might have vocal damage, go to an ENT fellowship trained specializing in voice. However you do it... get a baseline of the current condition of your voice. And while you're at it, assess the state of your overall health because your body IS your instrument!

2. Resolve to do something about your weakest vocal area.

Becoming aware is only the first step. Now you have to do something about what you've discovered. If your pitch sucks, do pitch practice. If your feel for rhythm is lacking, take drum or dance lessons. If your voice gets tired or strained, find out the fixes for the causes of your vocal cord abuse. If you have breath, tight throat or communication issues, find out what to practice, and then... get on a practice schedule!

3. Resolve to warm up and warm down your voice

OK can I tell you how nuts it is to perform on a cold voice? Try running an engine without oil. That's how nuts. Make a decision to warm up correctly, even if it's for 5 or 10 minutes, and that goes for in-between sets, too! Then do cool down exercises (light, shorter versions of warm ups) after long performances. Just as with muscle effort in athletics, your vocal apparatus needs the cool down to recover more quickly from strenuous use.

4. Resolve to address your speaking voice.

Frequently when a trashed voice comes in to train with me, I find that one of the core causes of the strain is from talking! You use the same little cords to speak that you sing with. Let that sink in. If talking tires you, change your technique. Yes, it will take concentration at first to correct life-long habits, but every speaking voice I've worked with will tell you it's worth it. And if you really want to go the distance, investigate voiceover careers! Fyi, I have the ultimate training course now available at www.SpeakingVoiceTechnique.com

5. Resolve to get out of your comfort zone.

Your voice needs fresh fire to stay alive, present and growing. Even if you never do the song in public, learn something with lower or higher range (don't push, just pull strongly to challenge your voice without strain), learn a cover song in another genre, or write a song with a new co-writer!

6. Resolve to improve something you already do well.

No matter where you are in the vocal ability continuum, you can improve. Ask yourself deeply: what would you like to be able to do that you can't do now? Could you be less numb and more authentic when you sing or speak? Could your pitch accuracy be even better? Want even more control for vocal licks, volume, tone, whatever? Do you want to sing as well in the studio as you do live, or vice versa? Want to try another musical genre? Oh yes, you can.

7. Resolve to study some masters of your genre.

You may even be a master of your genre, but that doesn't mean you can't learn from other voices. Immerse yourself to study the vocal nuances of some singer or speaker you highly respect. Stick your headphones on and listen deeply. Practice to add what you hear and like to your own artistic vocabulary.

8. Resolve to set goals for your vocal performances.

What would you like to do with your voice? Where would you like to sing next year? What protocols would you need to follow for the pandemic era? Would you like to record something? Would you like to give a speech at some event? (Yes, the era of venue closings WILL end!) Would you like to sing to a loved one or at someone's wedding? Do better at songwriter rounds? Would you like to pursue a serious vocal career? or be more successful at growing the one you have? Write it down. You won't necessarily know the final outcome of your efforts, but your focused intentions can create attitudes which cause actions that lead to results... and sometimes create surprises you never would have imagined!

9. Resolve to have and nourish a small circle of trusted friends.

An artistic temperament is often rather reclusive, shy or lone-wolf-ish. But even the most creative spirit needs community. Each of us need a small circle of positivity, wisdom, encouragement and mutual accountability. It can keep us safe in times of failure AND success, growing and creating, and making a difference out there. A prosperous journey only takes place fully in connection with others. If you don't have this inner circle... resolve to find one! If you do... call, message, go see them or kiss them good morning regularly this year! And yes, you can have great brainstorming chats online... I do every week!

10. Resolve to take better care of yourself physically, mentally and spiritually

Yep. All this has to do with your voice. Do take care of your vocal health (signup for my free vocal health report if you haven't yet). If you haven't yet... STOP SMOKING! Eat healthier (a whole new set of resolutions, eh?), commit to more physical exercise, back off sources of stress, connect spiritually in more regular devotional times. Your life, your voice and your messages will show it.

11. Resolve to sing fearlessly.

No matter how 'good' or 'bad' you think your voice is, your voice is valid and your messages matter. Sing. Speak. Use your voice fearlessly to make the world a better place! And when you start to do well out there, read over my post on Responsibilities of Successful Voices.

12. Resolve to be a better listener.

Don't forget that your ears are as important as your vocal cords. Empowering other voices truly can change the world. Make a point to listen more closely to someone else. Right now ask yourself: who is the quietest voice that you know? Perhaps start there ... make time and lend them your ear like it means something to you. It will.

Need help?

If you want some professional help with your singing &/or speaking voice... contact me for vocal lessons, or invest in a Power, Path & Performance course or Speaking Voice Technique to study on your own.
Meanwhile... Happy New Year!!

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  • At February 26, 2021 at 2:40 PM , Blogger Dwight B said...

    I am a little late getting around to this one, but very much enjoyed it. It really caused me to think anew about what I am doing with my music and where I want to go in the future. Your blog is always inspiring. Thanks for sharing so much with us.

  • At February 26, 2021 at 6:55 PM , Blogger Judy Rodman said...

    Your comment made my day! I'm so happy it inspired you. Please keep in touch, and thanks for the kind words!

  • At January 6, 2023 at 8:53 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Interesting, Judy! And many of these can apply to anyone, not just singers or speakers. I used to lose my voice every January or February for a week when I was teaching. Talking was such a strain on my voice. I'm sure I could have benefited from some of your recommendations/suggestions!

  • At January 7, 2023 at 12:18 AM , Blogger Judy Rodman said...

    Oh yes, teaching is a prime source of vocal strain if you don't use good technique! For teachers and other people in jobs that require a lot of speaking, I recommend my course at www.SpeakingVoiceTechnique. Thanks for the comment... Glad you enjoyed this post!

  • At January 7, 2023 at 9:12 AM , Anonymous Denise Wakeman said...

    Excellent list and I love the reframe to the active tense of "I resolve..." plus the universal appeal of the list. Thank you, Judy!

  • At January 8, 2023 at 5:25 PM , Blogger Judy Rodman said...

    YES... the changes don't unfortunately just fall from the sky :) So glad you enjoyed the post, Denise!

  • At January 17, 2023 at 8:45 AM , Blogger Desertphile said...

    Thank you for this list. I do my morning vocal warm-up while feeding the horses, shoveling poop, and cleaning chicken coop (sticking my head out of the hatch when inhaling: whew!). Resolution #13: perfection is to be eschewed, as it is impossible--- being excellent is good enough. :-) This fine morning, instead of mixing vocals, I get to move snow. Woo hoo!

  • At January 17, 2023 at 10:37 AM , Blogger Judy Rodman said...

    Oh I love that #13 you propose! In fact, I often suggest... don't go for perfection, go for magic! And excellence is exactly what I mean - specifically, excellence in the pursuit of that response to the lyrics/words coming out of our faces. Thanks for that suggestion!

  • At February 12, 2023 at 5:26 PM , Anonymous Anthony Nebel said...

    Resolving to get outside of your comfort zone is a challenging but incredibly rewarding one. Some examples would be trying out for a singing gig or a public talent show to show your progress with your voice. I highly recommend trying it out as you will learn a lot about yourself and where you are currently at in your vocal journey.


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