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Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Being comfortable with our singing can be our no. 1 challenge -says Simone Niles

It’s great to feel comfortable.

But what kind of life would we have if we only pursued our comfort?

This week I want to ask you to explore making a shift out of your comfort zone with your voice and visual performance.

The No. 1 Challenge

Often when I work with students on their vocal and visual performance, comfort zone is the number one challenge to improvement.

It’s just so easy to stay where you are and do the things that you are used to, because if something feels comfortable, why change it?

We need to notice the things that are working in your performance and then to experiment with the things that are not.

Working with a coach or a friend is very helpful in this instance because it is sometimes harder to see what we need to change within ourselves—because of our comfort zone.

So, this week let me act as your coach.

Try This

Your Voice – Sing songs that are not in the same range all the time just because it’s easier. For example, you can explore lower notes if you generally sing high parts or the other way around. This also gives you the opportunity to learn something new about your voice.

Your Visual Peformance – Open your eyes more and use hand gestures that specifically express the song you are singing rather that using the same ones you are used to for each song. For example, if you find yourself closing your eyes when expressing emotion, keep them open instead and the other way around. Or if you tend to stand still and use a mic stand, move around more with the mic in your hand, again the other way around.

The Dynamics of Change

You can start to make changes by doing things differently even in it starts with a small shift in the way you did it before.

The interesting thing about change in general is that it is not comfortable.

Even if it is a positive one, it can still make you feel uneasy and resistant.

You may not always accept that these changes are good for you and that’s okay.

Sometimes they won’t be, but until you dare yourself to do things that are different, you will stay the same.

My Reactions To This Week’s Peer Review Vids

Ray Cridland – At the Dark End of the Day

Ray – a very cool song, I am sure many people can relate to this. You have a strong hook, -‘so come one home’- and this works well melodically, but needs more muscular and breath support to help sustain your dynamic. The word ‘home’ is a good one to practice and you could open your mouth more and bring the sound forward in your mouth (forward placement). Humming is a good exercise to encourage this. Your subtle use of vibrato at the ends of some of your phrases worked well. Good job.

Dwight – Beyond Wonderland

Dwight, it is so wonderful to hear such inspirational lyrics – keep it up! You have a very good flow and your diction is clear making it easy to understand what you’re saying. I’d like you to play around more with your articulation, meaning the shapes of your vowels. If you articulate more you can emphasize some words more than others to further get your message across. That being said, your intonation is quite good and you have used good breath support throughout.

-Simone Niles

Simone Niles is a leading vocal and performance coach and an author on the specialty of performance enhancement. She has a busy private teaching practice in London and also teaches at The Institute of Contemporary Music, where she is MD of the college’s vocal ensemble. Her book “Coaching for Performance Excellence”, gives artists new and innovative ways to achieve performance excellence and is available from her website.
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This article has been especially adapted for VoiceCouncil Magazine from Simone’s book, “Coaching For Performance Excellence”. www.coachingartistry.com

  • I agree. Pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone is huge. I’d extend this concept to genres too. Even if you sing mostly rock, it helps to take a set of opera or classical lessons here and there. I’d say the same the other way around…if you’re in a choir, rock out every now and then.