Arts Entertainments

Singing Instruction – How to criticize your own singing

I am an older boy now, but I can still vividly remember when I was 6 years old and decided to clean the kitchen while my mother was upstairs. I worked and worked, smiling the whole time, imagining how happy my mother would be when she saw what she had done. When I heard her coming I hid, excited by how she was going to feel. She walked into the kitchen, stopped and looked, and then said, “Alan, come here please.” When I showed up he said, “I see you cleaned the kitchen. That’s fine, but look over here. You skipped several places in the cabinet. And why didn’t you straighten the table?”

Now, my mom was a great mom, but she thought she was teaching me a lesson… if you’re going to do something, do it right. But what she actually did was secure the fact that she would never volunteer to clean the kitchen again.

Think of the part of your subconscious that runs the show as that child, and the mother is YOU. The “mother” part automatically jumps to what doesn’t live up to expectations, ignoring all the good stuff. Instead of helping, the “mother” part encourages discouragement. “You just don’t do anything right.”

I often instruct the student to listen to his recordings as if he were surfing the radio and came across this singer. How do you feel about that singer? Do they have a “professional” attitude? Do they communicate the meaning of the song?

I instruct them to try to ignore mistakes and pitch issues and focus on the effect this singer is having on them. Of course they cannot totally ignore the negative aspects, but they can train themselves to listen to what is good as well. Can you do that?

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