Amelia possessed a lovely warm and fluid voice with a soulful sound but she was very shy.
Whilst her voice was quite beautiful, she was very withdrawn, both physically and vocally; when I asked her to sing to me, it was like watching someone hum to themselves whilst waiting on the bus!
Amelia expressed genuine frustration at her seeming inability to come forward; her brother was running a band and was very keen for her to join it but his lack of patience with her shyness was creating further fear in Amelia.
We discussed her fears…
- Am I good enough?
- Will people just talk to each other when I am singing?
- Will I blurt out a wrong note?
Once she had expressed these fears, she was a little more relaxed and ready to work.
I set up some plants, a music stand, two chairs, two speakers on stands and also drew Amelia’s attention to several pictures on the wall.
We played a game of pretend – that these objects were all people’s heads and Amelia should sing between one and three phrases to each.
I complicated the game in this way to divert Amelia’s focus from the fact that she was singing ‘out’.
Her tone quickly increased in power and her ‘sense’ was clearer as she worked through her ballad.
She was so pleased and said, “I didn’t even think about my voice!”
I extended the exercise so that Amelia had to decide how she felt about each object; we wrote the words on yellow sticky notes and placed them on the objects (scared of, annoyed with, especially fond of, determined to impress, etc).
This further increased Amelia’s expression and opened and freed the connection between her emotion center and her vocal quality.
After the exercise we talked about this specifically and Amelia began to understand that it was her feelings that were literally blocking her voice and not, as she thought, her voice that was blocking her feelings!
Amelia has now joined her brother’s R&B band and is slowly becoming very used to performing. She reports dreadful nerves before each gig but has been playing the game for some weeks now (imagining yellow stickers on the heads of her audiences!) Shhhh! It’s a secret!