Vocalists over 40 – professional or not – have a lot going for them, and it’s about time the young whippersnappers heard about it! – says Jaime Babbitt.
So, all you wise and sagacious ones, this is for you:
Know that you’re not getting older – you’re getting better!
In the same way that men and women have sexual peaks, singers have vocal peaks. And guess what? This age is EXACTLY when the singer’s vocal peak occurs!
Not only can you have amazing stamina and rebound, you have the extra-added benefit of all that nuance and wisdom and, perhaps, grit in your voice.
You also have the knowledge and acceptance of who “you” are, leading you to your own vocal truth. How great is that?
Make sure you keep your money maker working
There’s an old adage, “Use it or lose it”. It’s stuck around for so long because it’s TRUE; if you don’t keep your instrument in tip-top running order, you run the risk of having it bottom out. And you don’t want that.
So, join a choir. Audition for community theater. Take some lessons. Do it. You deserve it. Oh, and because your voice is attached to your body, the same rules apply: exercise, eat and drink healthily.
Keep up with current music
Don’t just keep listening to the same old same old you’ve listened to your whole life. Expand your horizons; there are still some really talented, unique artists out there.
If you don’t, you are just going to be a big old fuddy-duddy snoozerama. Find some contemporary artists you like and learn their tunes.
Try copying their hipster vocal stylings; yes, some seem wacky (hey vocal fryers, I’m looking at you) but keep an open mind. It will keep you having a fresh, open voice, too.
Entertain your elders
I know if you’ve been reading my articles you’ve heard me prattle on and on about playing in nursing homes, blah blah blah. Well, since we generation Xers and baby boomers are the generations right behind these elders, guess what? We know the songs! We’ve heard them from our parents! And alas, the responsibility falls to us first.
So here you go: start learning Frank Sinatra songs now! Believe me, it’s good karma; today’s millenials will have to sing Nirvana songs to us, right?
Mentor younger singers
You don’t necessarily have to become a full-time voice teacher or vocal coach, but if you’ve been singing and studying long enough, by all means put that bee in your bonnet.
Some singers turn to teaching and/or academia as they get older. Why not? Up-and-coming singers should learn from someone who has already been walking the walk. And for those who already have a degree in music, better yet.
But remember, you still can be a mentor: give talks at local music programs or schools, music stores, music camps during the summers… opportunities abound!
Don’t ever forget how valuable you are and how much you have to offer. Why do you think older wines and cheeses cost so much money? That really has nothing to do with anything. I just love older wines and cheeses. But I also love older singers – and you should, too!