Embrace Your Mistakes
When I am working with a student I am always on the lookout to see if they are dismissing a vocal event.
Dismissing an event is when attempting an exercise or line in a song, your voice does not go the way you planned. This “mistake” is often viewed with frustration by the singer and dismissed or cast away.
I believe the bigger mistake is not the vocal one, but the throwing away of a valuable learning moment.
Every Sound Has Value
When practicing, you are working on gaining control and knowledge of your instrument. Every sound you are making has valuable information which can help guide you in becoming more proficient.
The missed note is a perfect opportunity for analysis. Analyzing and making adjustments based on your “mistakes” is one of the quickest ways to improve as a singer.
“Mistakes” are the perfect opportunity for deliberate practice. This is a process where you analyze the event (in this case our mistake), make adjustments and attempt again. Repeat as necessary.
The analysis and adjustments are key here. This allows your brain and nervous system to catalog “cause and effect” within your voice, which in turn will give you greater mastery of your instrument.
What To Do
The next time you practice, instead of being frustrated with your voice and mistakes, I want you to pay very close attention to these imbalances.
When one occurs, stop for a moment and begin to analyze. What exactly occurred (flip, strain, etc.)?
Once you have identified the event, you need to think of the different reasons it may have occurred. Did your vowel go wide? Did you push too much air?
Once you have selected a cause, make your correcting adjustments and try again.
What happened? Was it better, worse, or the same? If not satisfactory, make further adjustments or reanalyze for another cause. Perhaps your vowel was fine but you are squeezing the cords together too much. Adjust and attempt again.
If you apply this thoughtful practice you will grow in leaps and bounds.
Don’t waste anything while practicing, especially your “mistakes.”