Changing Views will Change Perspective

Changing perspectives can help solve singing problems; stepping back provides clarity while zooming in allows for detailed work, and applying this to vocal challenges can lead to effective solutions and renewed motivation.

(4-minute read time)

I once bookended the journey to visit my parents with a day at the beach to recharge my battery.

Those beach visits were a phenomenal gift and supplied a powerful analogy. And I’m sure you know me by now- I love a good metaphor!!!!

So here it is – When I was looking at the ocean from a lookout, higher up and further away, the waves didn’t seem very big. In fact, I was surprised there were even surfers in the water, let alone riding those minuscule waves.

Ocean from far away at sunset


But when I was down on the shore and walking at the water’s edge, the size of the waves as well as their power and closeness were completely different. Bigger and more present and even intimidating.


Ocean from up close with rocks in the foreground

Which view is correct? Both of them!

So I can conclude that my point of view + my proximity to a situation determines how I perceive and interact with it. Therefore, changing views will change perspective. Der. I know…sometimes I need a lesson to be really spelled out to me loudly.

How does this relate to singing?

If you are having trouble solving a problem, change where you’re looking at it from.

Intimidated and overwhelmed? Do something to gain some distance and put things back into perspective.

Finding it hard to gain momentum? Perhaps draw closer to one element of the detail of the situation and get stuck into some nitty-gritty work.

Here are a couple of examples:

1. Fixing a phrase that has a difficult interval or rhythmic pattern

  • It’s always useful to get in close and isolate the phrase. Maybe even only 2-4 notes of the phrase. Check for accuracy and technical ease and build confidence.
  • Then zoom back out to the whole section and work on flowing in and out of that phrase.
  • Then zoom back even further to the preceding and following sections so you regain context.
  • Then return to a mindset where you remember the point of the whole song and don’t obsess over that one phrase anymore.

2. Managing some throat tension

  • Perhaps you are seeing it from a hazy and broad perspective- hoping it will fix itself and be better tomorrow.
  • Try drawing in closer and getting some clear data to determine the cause of the tension.
  • Is it stress? You may notice the tension improves after talking through your lifeproblems with a trusted friend or counsellor.
  • Is it related to your upper respiratory tract or digestive health? Treat the symptoms responsibly, boost your hydration and get some rest.
  • Is it the result of inefficient body alignment? Try lying on the floor to get feedback about how your body has been holding itself.
  • Or maybe you need a technical tune-up to unearth muscle behaviour in the throat or larynx specifically. Time to book a singing lesson.

3. Changing your tone quality or colour to better suit the music genre/style

  • Try a flexible practice approach where you alternate between big-picture approaches and nitty-gritty approaches. This could be within one session or over multiple days and weeks.
  • A big-picture approach might be some curious long vowel work to explore your resonance options. What changes as you play with volume, tongue/jaw/lip positions and mental imagery?
  • A nitty-gritty approach might include choosing a phrase from a song and applying those same explorations. Record each one to hear the effect of small adjustments.
  • And a return to the big picture could be to switch your thought processes to the colours and emotions of the song words. Record yourself singing the whole song to observe the natural out-workings of your explorative work.

No matter what is going on with your voice, finding new ways to approach the situation, whether from the metaphorical lookout or down on the shoreline face-to-face with the waves, could bring about the shake-up you’re looking for.

I’d love to hear if this analogy and thought process is useful for you!


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Photo by Nadine Shaabana on Unsplash

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