Maintaining a consistent vocal performance presents one of the most significant challenges for any performer or artist. Even those blessed with exceptional talent often neglect to address their areas of weakness. The discomfort and effort required to tackle their creative blocks deter them from doing so.

In this episode of The Intelligent Vocalist podcast with John Henny, we delve into the reasons why people find themselves stuck in their routines, hindering their progress and potential in the music industry. Furthermore, we'll provide mindful solutions to help overcome these common struggles. So, if you've ever felt like your singing isn't improving, or if you're eager to avoid getting stuck in such difficult times, this article is a must-read.

Key takeaways:

  • Only staying with what's comfortable and familiar can hinder your progress
  • Create an action plan to get you out of a rut, and to prevent you from falling into one
  • A mentor can help support you to stay focused on your goals

Falling into a Rut Routine in Our Vocal Journey

photo of a man sitting in a cardboard box labelled

Many singers find themselves stuck in a rut during their vocal journey. Rut routines can be frustrating because they often lead to inaction and stagnation. John associates this feeling with his experience in learning and playing guitar.

According to him, his passion and undying love to excel at playing guitar have always been there. And yet, he still finds it challenging to add to his daily routine to practice the instrument. Instead, he's accustomed to spilling his creative juices on strumming chords he already knows how to play. At the same time, he practices performing the songs he is familiar with on his instrument.

On the one hand, John claims it helps relax his brain. On the other hand, he's aware that doing so doesn't make him progress at all.

In singing, a lot of vocalists also do not venture further into their creative endeavors. Instead, they fall into a routine that makes them do the same warm-ups every time. They no longer pay attention to the quality of the sessions to the extent that they multitask while practicing.

This repetitive rut routine prevents singers from improving and exploring their creativity. Sadly, many can hardly break free from a rut as they find it challenging to recognize that there is one. They begin to lose focus during practice sessions, and, in the long run, they would start rushing through them.

How to Get Unstuck

Everyone experiences moments of inertia; when things seem to be going nowhere. In some cases, this may simply be a sign that you're stuck in a rut. In other cases, it may be indicative of a more severe problem. If you find yourself struggling to move forward despite numerous attempts, there are several steps you can take to get unstuck.

Be self-aware

Breaking free from old habits and routines can be a challenging endeavor, but it's a crucial step toward enhancing our singing abilities. John emphasizes the significance of self-awareness as a valuable tool for overcoming stagnation and making progress.

Self-awareness involves being attuned to your internal state and how you present yourself to the outside world. This encompasses understanding your mental and emotional well-being and being aware of how your actions are perceived by others.

Being self-aware also means recognizing your habits. Our habits often become ingrained routines that are tough to break. However, self-awareness empowers you to identify when you're in a rut and take the necessary steps to break free from it.

Additionally, it's important to be mindful of where and how you allocate your energy because energy is a finite resource. Ask yourself where your energy is truly going and consider whether it could be better utilized elsewhere. If you're using your energy on practices you've already mastered, you may find yourself stuck in a comfort zone. Therefore, self-awareness helps ensure that your energy is directed toward the most meaningful pursuits.

John also emphasizes the importance of being conscious of where you focus your attention. Engaging in multitasking during warm-up exercises, singing in the car, or vocalizing while cooking or doing laundry should not be considered effective practice. Focused attention means being in a state where you dedicate your energy solely to the practice itself.

In the realm of a singing career, self-awareness is an indispensable asset for overcoming challenges and achieving your goals. It enhances your decision-making abilities and boosts self-confidence. Through self-awareness, you can gain insights into the reasons behind career ruts and the motivations behind your actions and behaviors.

Reconnect your voice to your mind and body

Escaping the clutches of monotony and routines can be a daunting task for anyone. But for singers, it can pose an even greater challenge. Our voices are intricately tied to our mental and physical states, making it all too easy to find ourselves trapped in a never-ending cycle.

However, John has an insightful recommendation: we need to reestablish our body connection and awareness. When was the last time you simply took a deep breath and allowed yourself to truly feel the air entering your nostrils and filling your lungs? He urges us to embrace this profound body connection, as it can be the key to disrupting those persistent routines that leave us feeling trapped.

Establish focus

Many of us often find ourselves trapped in a monotonous routine. Perhaps you feel like you're unable to break free from your daily struggles, or that your progress with your singing voice is stagnating. Whether you're facing difficulties with your vocal technique, your repertoire, or both, there are steps you can take to break free from this rut and reignite your progress.

  1. Take a Step Back and Evaluate Your Situation. Sometimes, we become so immersed in our current circumstances that we fail to recognize the barriers hindering our progress. To move forward, it's crucial to pinpoint these obstacles one by one.
  2. Develop a Concrete Action Plan. Once you've identified what's holding you back, it's time to craft a strategic plan to overcome these challenges. This may involve setting attainable goals, breaking them down into manageable steps, and adhering to a structured timeline. By embracing a fresh set of objectives, you can cultivate creative inspiration that breathes new life into your current routines. This can also include pursuing voice lessons, or switching voice teachers if you're already taking voice lessons to get a fresh new perspective on your singing process.

Don't fear discomfort

One of the most common reasons we find ourselves stuck in a rut or stuck in routine is our fear of discomfort. We often convince ourselves that the path ahead will be too challenging, that we lack the necessary talent, or that we're terrified of sounding less than perfect.

However, if we take a moment to be honest with ourselves, it becomes clear that most of us are afraid of stepping out of our comfort zones. We tend to experience fear when confronted with uncertain situations, unfamiliar tasks, or challenges that push our capabilities to the limit. Over time, we become so accustomed to what we already find comfortable that we confine ourselves within the boundaries of our comfort zone.

But here's the important truth: breaking out of our comfort zone is one of the most effective ways to enhance our skills and refine our techniques. As long as we are willing to embrace discomfort, there are no limits to what we can achieve. It's time to cast aside our fears and take decisive action!

Seek support from others

When embarking on your journey as a singer, it can be tempting to cling to the same old habits that have brought you to where you are today. However, if you aspire to elevate your singing career to new heights, seeking support from a mentor is absolutely essential.

A mentor can serve as your guiding light, helping you break free from your singing rut and chart a course towards unexplored musical horizons and creative projects. Collaborating with a seasoned professional can introduce you to innovative techniques and invaluable tricks while boosting your self-confidence and networking prowess. Their role extends beyond mere instruction; they offer invaluable guidance, constructive feedback, and unwavering support as you cultivate new skills and rediscover your unique voice and emotional expression.

The ideal mentor is someone deeply passionate about their craft, eager to share their wealth of knowledge and experience with you. There are numerous avenues to connect with the right mentor, whether it's through music schools, music organizations, or vocal coaches. Discovering the perfect mentor can mark a monumental stride towards realizing your musical aspirations.

Unlock Your Path to Progress

Getting unstuck and making progress in your singing career can seem daunting. But by taking the time to assess what's going on, create a plan of action, be willing to step out of your comfort zone, and get support from others, you can start making positive changes in your singing. With hard work and dedication, you'll soon find yourself on the path to success.

Staying in Touch

If you want to know more about John, you can visit There you can listen to previous episodes of The Intelligent Vocalist podcast, as well as access his blog posts. Join John's mailing list to get special offers that are exclusive to his mailing list, and stay up to date on new courses and books.