VoiceCouncil will no longer be updated. Articles will still be available for some time.

The Day I Began to Lose My Fear of Singing


Are we not courageous when we are willing to hear, feel and listen to the song of our bones? -asks Deborah Weitzman

I have been singing my whole life, earning my living from music, giving concerts all over the world and yet something was holding me back:

my fear of not being good enough and the fear (perhaps) of my own power.

It took the most bizarre journey to Buenos Aires and the chance meeting with an unusual, yet profound therapist to help me release my true, authentic voice.

A Transforming Encounter

Revealing to her (and to myself) just how scared I was in live performance, she said:

“If your fear, she says, becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, you unconsciously open yourself up to further attacks, in the people you meet and in the situations around you.

“You don’t realize this, of course, that you’ve actually put yourself in these situations, that you’ve drawn these to yourself like a magnet. How you feel you really are and what you deserve is what you actually allow to happen. Not the other way around. And this will continue repeating until you are willing to see and to change this pattern.”

“But how can I, if I can’t see it?” I ask.

“This is what we are going to work on. What you see and what you allow yourself to see can change.”

The Hard Work of Letting Go

I told her about all the work I had done: “I’ve done all this! With therapy, with studying acting, with the Alexander Technique, maybe this is as far as I can go?”

“Not to negate the work you’ve done,” she says, “it’s led you here. I’m just not convinced you went as far as you can go. Something stopped you from seeing, stopped you from becoming who you really are.

“I wonder if you have tried too hard to please,” she continues. “When someone gives a look of disapproval, it often reflects their own fear of being shamed or made uncomfortable by whatever your voice or behavior may have triggered in them. When you begin to understand this… you will see it all around. It is the same for your mother, for your father, for all the people that you’ve been so afraid of. Listen carefully. She speaks very slowly now. You are much safer than you know. Today, you are not in any danger. Not your mother, not even your father has the power over you they once had. The moment you realize this, you will see the shift – not only in your singing.

LoseFeartext01She is more than a therapist: she is Merlin, the magician. Her words pluck against my brain, they splash and twist and stun.

What if I have lived my whole life with this wrong interpretation?

The enormity of this error overwhelms. Is it possible to learn everything over again from scratch?

Like breathing, like singing…

I take my guitar and let the flood of feelings and memories that once felt like the enemy pour into my voice. My eyes fill with tears, but nothing to block the gush of music in me.

I try to not care what anyone thinks, not even the fear that I am too much.

“Be too much!” she encourages with that amazing laugh of hers, “let it flow from your heart – so much less pretentious in Spanish – corazón gives warmth and permission.

Her words uncover me, touch the untouchable, and I am no longer just trying to sing, I am in the love of the singing!

It is, after all, frightening to be alive, but if we’re able to tolerate the dreadful discomfort and breath, the terrible and threatening can shift into life-enhancing power, like laughter, like the gorgeous vibration of tone in song.

DeborahBioDeborah Weitzman has worked for over 25 years as a Singer-Songwriter and Teacher of Voice, Expression and the Alexander Technique. In a humble, spiritual approach, she continues to grow and learn from her students and audiences, and the people she meets on her travels. See www.deborahjeanne.com

This article is adapted by the author from Pandora Learns to Sing – a compelling rite-of-passage of the wind beneath our fears … and what it takes to have a quantum leap in perception. (“an absolutely an un-put-downable, beautiful read”)

  • Dewman

    Awesome! Thanks for sharing, I think I am at a very similar point in my life. I will take the words of your therapist to heart myself, and try to make forward progress in my music and performance. Thank you