I can always spot nervous singers — whether it’s their first time singing or they’ve been doing it for a while, there’s a special type of panic that comes into your eyes when you’re in the middle of a choir and thinking to yourself, “I am the only person in this place who’s screwing this up. Oh no, another wrong note. I shouldn’t even be here!”
And every single time I see that, I want to come over to them, take them by the shoulders and look deep into their eyes and say:
It’s ok. Really.
Like anything else, singing is something you learn. And unlike many other things you can learn, singing is something we’re all naturally wired to do, so you don’t have to worry that you’re doing it wrong, or that you’re somehow the exception to the “If you can talk then you can sing” rule. You’re not — I promise.
You’re never alone.
One of my very favorite things about choir singing is how supportive it is. When you sing with a group of people, you’re not only focused on doing the same thing, your bodies actually sync up on a physical level, which is an incredible feeling.
I don’t know about you, but if my heart is literally beating in sync with other people, I feel supported enough to learn and explore my voice, even if it’s not perfect the first (fifth, 10th) time around. So if you’re in the middle of a rehearsal and you start to worry that you’re screwing things up, remember that you have a whole room of people supporting you. Allow them to carry you — ride that wave of support and connection. And if you’re really worried, then stand next to a strong singer that you like. Sing a little softer and without you even trying, your larynx will actually synchronize with your neighbors’. As you let your voice get absorbed in those around you, soon enough you’ll realize that you’re doing fine.
And of course, remember that you’ve always got your director. If you’re in Sing Portland! I’m your biggest fan. I would honestly rather have a singer who’s happily belting out the wrong notes than a cranky singer who does everything perfectly. Not to mention the fact that I’m 100% dedicated to helping you realize just how amazing singing can be, and that means that I’ll do whatever I can to get you there. I’ll never call you out or criticize you, and I’ll never put you on the spot to sing or ask you not to perform. Never. Ever. Ever!
This is supposed to be fun!
If you remember nothing else, remember this. Singing is supposed to be fun! It’s a time of connection and joy, not stress and fear, so relax and allow your voice to come out. You’re not going to hit every note right every time; nobody does. And — I can’t stress this enough — it doesn’t matter! So trust yourself, trust your body, trust the people around you, and trust your director. Relax into the connection that this experience is founded on, and you’ll be absolutely amazed at what a difference it makes both in your singing and how much you enjoy it.
Want to see what it’s like to sing in a choir where every single person thinks you’re great? We’d love to have you join us! Click here to find out how and where you can sing with us.