Una Ulla

SInger | Vocal Coach

Una Ulla singer | songwriter | vocal coach from Latvia

Are you singing and not enjoying it?

That can be fixed with some training. Let me give you a few things to think about.

I must be honest, I have liked singing since I was a child, and still, there have been times where I have not enjoyed it that much. It doesn’t feel easy or fun. That is before I started to learn from professionals how to sing.  I know that there are people who have found themselves singing in front of others for whatever reason, but with an idea in their minds, that it is not what they should do. You sing, but you also know that if there would be someone around who would “sound better” (in your opinion), you’d give the job to them right away. So why do you sing? And maybe, maybe there is a way you could actually sing and enjoy it?

Singing is how humans started music way back when. Percussion and singing, mimicking sounds around in the nature. Music is hard-wired in our brains, it is an important part of being a human. It is a strong emotional and expressional tool. It has been with us throughout the journey of the human kind to become who we are today. If you can talk, you can sing, is my opinion. Now, some are born with more tools in their pocket for singing, some must start from zero, but we all can sing. If you find yourself singing in a band, that means you are not as bad as you think you are to begin with. So why do you still feel bad about it?

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Your vocal apparatus is a bunch of muscles that you can train to do what you want them to do. More often than not, to stop the unnecessary muscles to do work they don’t need to do. You will need a vocal coach to tell you where to start and what to do, also it will feel weird and very, very personal, but it is all trainable. Forget the phrases like:” I don’t have the gift for singing”,” I could never be good at it”, “Oh I can’t sing”, “I could strangle a cat with my singing voice”(Is that a thing people say?!), etc. It is all lie you tell yourself.

Do you feel like you’re not singing the right notes?

That can be fixed with some training. There is a tube of air. It’s made of air, there is no literal tube there, coming from your lungs, that gets the vocal folds in your throat moving. That air tube gets smaller and moves toward the back of your vocal folds also producing more pressure, so the chords vibrate with higher frequency (times per second the vocal folds vibrate) to produce higher notes. When you sing lower pitches the tube of air moves forward and gets bigger with less pressure. To produce lower notes, the vocal folds need to vibrate less times a second. There are a lot of muscles and coordination involved to make this process smooth. To hit a certain pitch, your brain needs to send signals to your muscles and they need to know how to respond to produce the sound you want. This takes practice and muscle memory. How do you master it? By doing it repeatedly. Yeah, I wish I could tell you there is another way to become better at things. Nope, you just have to do it. Over and over again.

Do you feel tension and after a few songs you can’t sing anymore?

This can be fixed with some training. Tension is one of the biggest problems of singers. Your whole body is an instrument and your lifestyle is involved in how you feel when you sing. Bad sleep, bad diet, aches and pains, bad posture, all of that impacts your singing. Stress from being on stage, fight-or-flight response, when your lizard brain thinks your audience is going to eat you also doesn’t help.

First make sure that you practice singing without being stressed. You can’t assume you will be perfect just by walking on the stage. That is a recipe for disaster.  You got to make those muscles remember the right ways of doing things. While practicing, you need to isolate the muscles that don’t need to help you sing. They want to help you, because they don’t know better, but that means there is a lot of unnecessary tension and movement and pushing and pulling to make the sound, which ends up creating a mess and inability to perform under these circumstances for a long time. Again, what do you need to do? Find a person who can give you advice exercises you can do. Singing should feel easy. That is if you are doing it right. If it starts hurting or feeling tight, you’re doing something wrong and you should not continue like that. A good rule of thumb, if it hurts stop.

Do you feel self-conscious about singing?

This is also a thing that can be fixed with training. We all have some or other mental blocks. But the more you sing, the more tools you have in your box, the more confident you will feel about it. Hearing yourself through a microphone is also very weird, if you are not used to it. Singing and feeling good about it is work with the muscles and your technique as well as your confidence.

Put your mind to it. Find a vocal coach that can get you started and hear where your problem areas are. It is all science, explainable and you can work with it.

Singing has a lot of health benefits too. Singers snore less, singing in a group makes you feel happier and bonded. Singing can help with stress and improve your immune system. Now I am just naming these, but there is actual research behind it. So what I would like every person who sings even a little to do? Keep doing it. Do it more. Do it for yourself and do it right. Vocal lessons are not only for professionals. It is for your pleasure, and let me go even further, for your health and happiness. Singing is what humans have done for a long time. Hope you find joy in singing.

SING!