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Glossary Of Singing Terms

glossaryofsingingterms

Successful Singing’s Glossary Of Singing Terms:

A Cappella: Singing without any form of instrumental accompaniment.

Accompaniment: The instrumentation that plays beneath the singing.

Accompanist:  A pianist who plays music beneath the singing.

Adducted: The term for vocal cords getting pulled together when you sing high up in your vocal range.

Alto:  Low Female Voice

Aria: In opera, a song, especially a solo.

Arpeggio:  A staggered scale going up and down in small intervals, most commonly on the 1st,3rd, 5th and 8th notes of an octave.

Baritone: Male voice located between bass and tenor in range and tone quality.

Ballad:  A slow tempo, sentimental or romantic song.

Bel Canto: (Beautiful Singing) Singing that focuses on beautiful sound, not on acting or emotion. It’s characterized by ornate vocal style.

Belting: Using excessive air flow and vocal cord tension in an attempt to sing louder

Adam’s Apple: Common term used to describe the part of the larynx (voice box) which protrudes from the front of the neck. More noticeable in men than women.

Blend: In solo singing, the smooth transition between the head and chest voice. Or, when more than one individual is singing, the sound combination between singers, which preferably makes it difficult to pick out one singer’s voice amid the group.

Break: The sudden change in tone between the head and chest voice, caused by vocal tension. When a singer hits his or her break, there may be a sound that is jarring and ugly. This can be avoided with good vocal technique.

Breath Support: Efficient use of the singer’s stream of breath, controlled primarily by the diaphragm.

Catch Breath: A quick, short, unobtrusive breath.

Cave: The round shape at the back of the mouth.

Centred: Everything balanced, working as one.  Getting the greatest amount of power from your voice, using the least amount of effort.

Chest Resonance: The resonance sounds it comes from the chest area.

Chest Voice: Also known as “chest register.” The lower notes of a singer’s range; in the same general range as the speaking voice. When singing in the chest voice, the vocal cords become naturally thick, and the resulting sound is generally associated with deep, warm tones.  Achieved by using resonance and voice placement.

Consonant: A speech sound produced as the result of a temporary partial or complete constriction of airflow (b d f g l etc)

Diaphragm:  The dome shaped muscle attached to the bottom of the lungs that separates your chest and stomach cavities. Its main function is to initiate inhalation.

Diction: The clear pronunciation of words. This requires attention to both consonants and vowels. Different types of music may require more or less diction; for example, in musical theatre, it’s essential that the audience understand the lyrics, but in jazz or blues, the singer may occasionally slur words on purpose in order to achieve a desired sound. Good diction helps produce good sound, however, so all singers should pay attention to it.

Dynamics: The variations of soft and loud singing in a given song.

Epiglottis:  The leaf-like cartilage that separates the functioning of your oesophagus (channel to stomach) from the functioning of your trachea (channel to the lungs).

Exercise: In singing, a device (a note or sequence of notes sung in a certain manner) used to condition and/or strengthen your vocal muscles to work with the proper airflow.

Falsetto: (False Singing)In male singers, a high register (actually, sung in the female range) similar to the head voice. However, unlike the head voice, falsetto cannot blend with the chest voice.  Female’s can also sing in a falsetto range.  It has a Minnie Mouse Sound about it

Flat:  To be under the correct pitch, not quite in tune.

Forced:  Singing that is forced may sound strained, and is accompanied by unnecessary tension in the throat.

Full Voice:  As loud as a person can sing without creating imbalance between airflow and vocal cord tension. Also refers to a tone that has a balanced resonance quality.

Hard Palate: The hard area of the roof of your mouth, just behind your teeth.

Head Resonance: The Resonance is created within the head cavity. Chest Resonance is created within the chest cavity.

Head Voice: Also known as “head register.” Singing in the higher part of the range. While singing in the head voice, the vocal folds are thin; the head voice is usually associated with light, bright sounds.  Falsetto is resonated in a head voice.

Imagery: The situations, people, or emotions a singer pictures in his or her head while they sing, in order to achieve emotion and a good level of acting in their songs. Imagery may also be used to help a singer achieve better vocal technique.

Intonation: The relation of one note to another, and the relative pitching of each note. Could mean singing in tune or not.

Karaoke:  A music entertainment where the singer sings along to a pre-recorded track and follows the lyrics on a video screen.

Larynx:  The organ at the top of your trachea (windpipe) made up of cartilages, ligaments and muscles. Inside, attached from front to back are your vocal cords. Certain muscles of your larynx affect the tension of your vocal cords as they work with air from your lungs in producing vocal sound.

Legato: Singing as though all the notes were tied together; the notes flow together smoothly.

Major Scale: A diatonic scale with notes separated by whole tones except for the 3rd, 4th, 7th and 8th.

Mask: The area around and including the eyes which is often used to create head resonance.

Metronome:  A mechanical or electrical instrument that makes repeated clicking sound at an adjustable pace.  Used fo marking rhythm in practicing music.

Middle Voice: The middle range or register of the voice when singing or speaking.  Achieved by resonance and voice placement.

Minor Scale: A diatonic scale with notes separated by whole tones except for the 2nd, 3rd, 5th & 6th.

Nasal: When the voice is focused purely around the nose and nasal area.

Nodes:  A type of polyp on the vocal cords that prohibits good singing. When vocal cords get irritated (from fatigue, poor technique, an infection, etc.), they swell. Singing repeatedly with swollen vocal cords causes nodes. The only way to know if you have or are developing nodes is to go to a throat specialist (ENT). If you have frequent hoarseness or a constant sore throat, see one immediately. Treatment is usually rest, although surgery may be required in severe cases.

Over breathing: Taking a huge breath in and then constricting the lungs, making it difficult to sustain a note.

Phrasing:  Refers to the breaths or “stops” in-between notes. Natural phrasing will include “stops” after all periods, commas, semicolons, or colons. Additional phrasing may be necessary for the singer to take catch breaths                                    or to achieve a certain style. It’s an excellent idea for singers to sit down with sheet music in hand and                                                 mark their phrasing before they begin to sing. This helps prevent unexpected losses of breath and                                                       awkward phrasing that draws attention to itself.

Pitch:  The sound of a particular note. When pitch is referred to, it’s usually in reference to being “on” or “off” pitch. “On pitch” means the singer is singing in tune. “Off pitch” means the singer is either flat or sharp.

Placement: A singing technique that uses the sensation of vibrations in the head to achieve healthy sound that resonates and carries well. Most healthy singing is done in what is often referred to as “forward placement” (or “the mask”), with vibrations behind the teeth/lips, on the cheekbones, and sometimes the forehead and/or nose. The resulting sound is full, not nasally or thin.

Projection:  Generally, the ability to be heard by the audience. Sometimes also refers to the ability to communicate emotion to the audience, as in “she projects great sadness.”

Pure Note: A clear, sustained note with a controlled breath and without vibrato.  To create a true pure note, everything needs to be in balance.  Placement of the note and vowel, diaphragmatic control and vocal cords energized yet relaxed.

Range:  Refers to the notes that a given performer can sing comfortably.

Repertoire: The songs a singer knows and can perform well.

Resonance:  Occurs naturally when the voice is free to travel through the cavities above your vocal cords, where it is modified and amplified before leaving your mouth. It determines the final quality of your tone and makes your voice sound different from anyone else’s.

Reverb:  A termed used by musicians, and sound engineers for reverberation.  Usually created by a machine, or mixing desk, it gives the voice more colour, tone and presence. Usually used in studio’s and live performances.

Scale:  A series of notes differing in pitch according to a specific scheme (usually within an octave)

Sharp: To be above the note (often the result of oversinging) when you can’t hear yourself properly, so you are not in tune.

Sight Singing: The ability to look at sheet music and read sing it with near-perfection. Most professional singers can read music and sight read with at least some accuracy.

Siren Sound: Making a sound like an old-fashioned war siren.

Soft Palate: The fleshy part at the back of the mouth.

Solar Plexus: Located at the centre and base of the ribs, the soft part just above the stomach. The centre of diaphragmatic power.

Soprano:  High Female Voice

Staccato: The opposite of Legato. Each note is separate from the one before and after it.

Swallowing the Note: Pushing down too far on the larynx, strangling the vocal cords.

Tenor: Highest male voice

Tone: The quality of your voice that results from the resonance reinforcement of the tone initially produced in your larynx.

Transpose: To change the key of a song; to lower or raise the notes of a song or a portion of a song.

Vibrato:  A slight, but regular fluctuation in your tone. Caused by the normal relaxation and contraction of the vocal muscles as they are activated by alternating nerve impulses. Gives and “energy” to the tone during the vibration process.

Vocal Cords: Two muscular folds that connect from the inside front to the inside back of your larynx. Their change in thickness and vibrating length, due to adjustment in tension, affects the pitch and intensity of your tone.  Also called “Vocal Folds.”

Vowel:  A specific resonance structure through which a tone is sustained. Produced primarily by altering the size and shape of the mouth cavity and changing the position of the tongue, which determines how the resonance cavities will reinforce certain frequencies of the initial cord tone. The result of each alteration is a recognizable sound – Ah Oh Eh Ee Oo.

Warm-up:  Anything that helps the singer prepare for a rehearsal or performance. Typically, a warm up consists of vocal exercises, such as running scales.

 

clarity trio summer

Love Your Voice

LOVE YOUR VOICELove Your Voice

 

As a singer, you will only have the one instrument to work with.  It cannot be repaired, replaced or upgraded.  You will need to look after your voice and give it the love and attention it needs to stay in shape.

We have all know that awful feeling when we have a gig/audition/rehearsal/recording session and have woken up with a croaky/hoarse/sore throat.  You’ve lost the top end of your range, have found some amazing strange sounds at the bottom, and the notes in the middle sound nothing like what they usually sound like.

These problems can occur for a number of reasons, but they usually boil down to a few predicable factors:  You’ve got a cold, had a few too many the night before, too much shouting, you’re stressed… the list goes on.

Whether it’s down to a cold or lifestyle, there’s lots that we can do to help ourselves look after our voice.

Drink plenty of water.  If drinking milk makes  you produced more mucous, avoid it on days that you sing.  Caffeinated drinks can be diuretic, minimize the amount you drink. Herbal tea or Honey and Lemon with hot water is a soothing drink.

Stretching

We all know that we are supposed to warm-up our voice before we start to sing.  Use your favourite vocal exercises, or ask a vocal coach if you are not sure.   But stretch your body too. Look at your posture.  Go through a basic stretch routine which allows you to stretch your whole body – arms, legs, torso, head and neck.  You will feel better for it.

Don’t forget to cool-down after singing too.  A few gentle exercises to help the muscles of your larynx to relax

Technique

Learn different techniques that will help you exercise your voice, work on its agility, but also work on developing your tone and resonance.

Diet

Look after yourself and eat healthy.  Minimize the amount of processed food you eat a week, and replace it with home-cooked meals with lots of fruit and veg.  Drink less alcohol and give up smoking.

Certain foods may increase reflux or mucous production around your throat.  Once you have discovered what these are, then avoid eating them on the days that you sing.

Its worth investing in a vocal spray for the days when your voice is uncooperative. Opt for a glycerine base rather than an alcohol base spray

Rest

Get plenty of rest, relaxation and sleep.  If your body is tired or stressed, then your voice is going to be tired or stressed.  A singer who is tired is almost always going to be pushing for tone and power in their voice.  Eventually this will set them up for voice problem or even damage.  Don’t forget to give your voice a regular day off too.  Singing or talking day after day without a rest is going to cause voice problems.

Steam

Get into the habit of steaming your voice.  It’s simple to do.  Simply pour some hot water into a bowl.  Place a towel over your head (and bowl) and inhale through both your nose and mouth for about 10 minutes.  You can also add a drop of your favourite essential oil to the water if you prefer.

Don’t Strain

Can you use a microphone to take some of the strain off your voice.  Don’t try singing over bandmates, turn your mic up instead (or turn their mics/instruments down). Learn some mic technique to help amplify your voice where you need it.

In an ideal world, singers would never have to sing when their voice is suffering from a cold, hoarse, tired or sore throat, but sometimes we have to perform when our voice is not at its best.  The main point here is to be aware of why you have a voice problem in the first place.  Is it because of a hard-to-avoid infection or is your voice problem down to poor technique.  If it is the later, then you really need to look at getting some voice coaching to address the problem.

 

Love your Voice

About Your Voice

About Your Voice

larynx

Voice” is the sound made by vibration of the vocal cords caused by air passing out through the larynx bringing the cords closer together.

Your vocal cord (also known as vocal folds) are two, white mucosal membranes situated inside your larynx (Adam’s Apple).  These membranes are fixed at one end, giving them a V-shape and open and close to allow for breathing and sound production.

Vocal Cord

Your larynx sits on top of your trachea (windpipe) and as air passes through with each breath you take, your vocal cords vibrate creating a sound.  The frequency that your vocal cords vibrate will determine the pitch of your sound.

Male vocal cords tend to be longer and thicker, giving the male voice a deeper, lower sound, whereas female vocal cords tend to be shorter and thinner giving the female voice a higher and lighter sound.

The physical action of singing or speaking is the same for everyone.  The reason we all sound different to each other is down to our physical attributes. The shape of our head, our bone structure, the position of our teeth, our nasal cavity, our sinuses.  This is also know as our facial mask. Once that sound is produced by our vocal cords, it travels up towards our mouth and nose, where we shape and polish that sound around our facial mask before we exhale our own unique sound.

You can feel your larynx if you gently press the front of your throat and then swallow.  You will feel it moving up and then back down to its original position.  The action you feel here is your larynx lifting and your vocal cords closing to prevent food and drink from entering your windpipe as you swallow.

Your vocal cords are delicate structures.  They appear white as there is little blood supply to them.  They are also covered in mucous to prevent them drying out.  The process of breathing, talking and singing or coughing can easily dry them out. This in turn leads to your vocal cords not being able to open and close easily, leading to friction or a hoarse voice.  There’s more about vocal health here.

As a singer, learning how to control your breath and using vocal exercises to help you strengthen and develop flexibility in your voice is invaluable.

 

Breathing

Successful Singing DiaphragmLearn To Sing – Breathing

Breathing

One of the cornerstones of learning to sing is knowing how to breathe correctly and learn to control your breathing , so that it is used to optimum effect when you sing.

When we are born, our breathing is naturally correct: babies can breathe, yell and scream with optimum effect because they use their lungs without conscious thought. As we grow older, we tend to get lazy and only use the upper part of our lungs, taking shallow breaths as required, rather than a deeper, more natural breath.

To understand how correct breathing and breath control works, first you need to understand the process that breathing involves:

Inspiration (breathing in)

At the bottom of your lungs there is a large (upside down bowl shaped) circular ring of muscle called the diaphragm.It attaches itself to the lower rib cage and spine.During inhalation the tendon at the bottom of this muscle contracts and the diaphragm is pulled downwards, gently displacing the stomach and intestines.. Air is drawn into the lungs via the nose and mouth.Inside the lungs, a gaseous exchange takes place where waste carbon dioxide from the body is exchanged for a fresh supply of oxygen by the blood travelling across the very thin membranes of the lungs.

Exhalation (breathing out)

After a few seconds, the diaphragm tendon relaxes and the diaphragm slowly moves back to its original position, pushing the (waste) air out of your lungs.

Breathing is essentially an autonomic reflex, in that your body does it without you having to think about it. How fast you breathe depends on your oxygen requirements. However, you do have control over your breathing, enabling you to hold your breath, speak a sentence, or sing a song. This ultimately is learning how to control your diaphragm.

Find your Diaphragm

Gently place your hand on tummy, just under your rib cage. Now pant like a dog a few times. You should feel your hand gently being pushed as you pant.

If you hold your hand to your mouth and breathe out slowly, the breath should be warm and moist. You should also feel the action of the diaphragm as you exhale. This is the correct amount of breath used when singing normally.

A singer does not need to ‘force’ or‘push’ air through the vocal cords to produce a good strong sound – doing so only creates too much pressure against the cords, which in turn, prevents them from operating correctly, which can lead to damage to the voice.

Try our Breathing Exercises

Tongue Twisters For Singers

Vocal Warm-Ups -Tongue Twisters

Singers often consider their tone to be the one of the most important parts of their voice.   Stage presence, confidence, vocal range and agility also feature as important areas.

Often singers do not consider the need for crisp, clear and precise articulation to complement and add to their vocal delivery.

Know Your Articulators

These are:

  • Tongue,
  • Teeth,
  • Lips
  • Jaw.

Try to use your articulators when forming consonant to help form your vowels This will give your words more clarity.

 

Try this exercise to help you be aware of where these sounds are formed in within your facial mask. What sounds good and what doesn’t? Eg if you dropped your jaw, or moved the position of your tongue, does it change the sound for better or worse?

Both lips  (P, B, M, W and WH)’s

Tongue Tip and hard palate (D,L,N,R,S and Z)’s

Lower lip and upper teeth (F and V)’s

Back of tongue and soft palate (K, G and NG)’s

Jaw, tongue and lips (A, E, I, O and U)

Try some of these tongue twisters to help your pronounciation:

A synonym for cinnamon is a cinnamon synonym.

 

  • I saw Susie sitting in a shoe shine shop.
  • Where she sits she shines, and where she shines she sits.
  • Seth at Sainsbury’s sells thick socks.

 

  • Send toast to ten tense stout saints’ ten tall tents.

 

  • Sheena leads, Sheila needs.

 

  • Stupid superstition!

 

  • Nine nice night nurses nursing nicely.

 

  • A proper cup of coffee from a proper copper coffee pot.

 

  • If Stu chews shoes, should Stu choose the shoes he chews?
  • Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
    A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked.
    If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,
    Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

 

  • Imagine, imagining imagining, an imaginary imaginary imaginary menagerie manager, imagining imagining imagining an imaginary imaginary imaginary managerie.

 

 

  • Wayne went to Wales to watch walruses.

 

  • If Pickford’s packers packed a packet of crisps would the packet of crisps that Pickford’s packers packed survive for two and a half years?

 

  • Six sleek swans swam swiftly southwards

 

  • How many cookies could a good cook cook If a good cook could cook cookies? A good cook could cook as much cookies as a good cook who could cook cookies.

 

  • How much wood could Chuck Woods’ woodchuck chuck, if Chuck Woods’ woodchuck could and would chuck wood? If Chuck Woods’ woodchuck could and would chuck wood, how much wood could and would Chuck Woods’ woodchuck chuck? Chuck Woods’ woodchuck would chuck, he would, as much as he could, and chuck as much wood as any woodchuck would, if a woodchuck could and would chuck wood.

 

  • Four furious friends fought for the phone.

 

  • Black background, brown background.

 

 

  • Five frantic frogs fled from fifty fierce fishes.

 

 

  • East Fife Four, Forfar Five

 

  • It’s not the cough that carries you off,
    it’s the coffin they carry you off in!

 

  • She stood on the balcony, inexplicably mimicking him hiccuping, and amicably welcoming him in.

 

  • A tree toad loved a she-toad,
    Who lived up in a tree.
    He was a three-toed tree toad,
    But a two-toed toad was she.
    The three-toed tree toad tried to win,
    The two-toed she-toad’s heart,
    For the three-toed tree toad loved the ground,
    That the two-toed tree toad trod.
    But the three-toed tree toad tried in vain.
    He couldn’t please her whim.
    From her tree toad bower,
    With her two-toed power,
    The she-toad vetoed him.

 

  • What a to do to die today
    At a quarter or two to two.

  • A terrible difficult thing to say
    But a harder thing still to do.
    The dragon will come at the beat of the drum
    With a rat-a-tat-tat a-tat-tat a-tat-to
    At a quarter or two to two today,
    At a quarter or two to two.

 

  • I am not a pheasant plucker,
    I’m a pheasant plucker’s son
    but I’ll be plucking pheasants
    When the pheasant plucker’s gone.

 

  • When a doctor doctors a doctor,
    does the doctor doing the doctoring
    doctor as the doctor being doctored wants to be doctored or
    does the doctor doing the doctoring doctor as he wants to doctor?

 

  • If two witches would watch two watches, which witch would watch which watch?

 

 

  • The thirty-three thieves thought that they thrilled the throne throughout Thursday.

 

  • Something in a thirty-acre thermal thicket of thorns and thistles thumped and thundered threatening the three-D thoughts of Matthew the thug – although, theatrically, it was only the thirteen-thousand thistles and thorns through the underneath of his thigh that the thirty year old thug thought of that morning.

 

  • Six sick hicks nick six slick bricks with picks and sticks.

 

  • To sit in solemn silence in a dull, dark dock,
    In a pestilential prison, with a life-long lock,
    Awaiting the sensation of a short, sharp shock,
    From a cheap and chippy chopper on a big black block!
    To sit in solemn silence in a dull, dark dock,
    In a pestilential prison, with a life-long lock,
    Awaiting the sensation of a short, sharp shock,
    From a cheap and chippy chopper on a big black block!
    A dull, dark dock, a life-long lock,
    A short, sharp shock, a big black block!
    To sit in solemn silence in a pestilential prison,
    And awaiting the sensation
    From a cheap and chippy chopper on a big black block!

by W.S. Gilbert of Gilbert and Sullivan from The Mikado

 

 

  • The Final Fixing of the Foolish Fugitive

Feeling footloose, fancy-free and frisky, this feather-brained fellow finagled his fond father into forking over his fortune. Forthwith, he fled for foreign fields and frittered his farthings feasting fabulously with fair-weather friends. Finally, fleeced by those folly filled fellows and facing famine, he found him-self a feed flinger in a filthy farm-lot. He fain would have filled his frame with foraged food from fodder fragments.

“Fooey! My father’s flunkies fare far fancier,” the frazzled fugitive fumed feverishly, frankly facing fact.

Frustrated from failure and filled with forebodings, he fled for his family. Falling at his father’s feet, he floundered forlornly. “Father, I have flunked and fruitlessly forfeited further family favors . . .”

But the faithful father, forestalling further flinching, frantically flagged his flunkies to fetch forth the finest fatling and fix a feast.

But the fugitive’s fault finding frater, faithfully farming his father’s fields for free, frowned at this fickle forgiveness of former falderal. His fury flashed, but fussing was futile.

His foresighted father figured, “Such filial fidelity is fine, but what forbids fervent festivities? The fugitive is found! Unfurl the flags! With fanfare flaring, let fun, frolic and frivolity flow freely, former failures forgotten and folly forsaken.”

Forgiveness forms a firm foundation for future fortitude.

 

Tongue twisters to help your pronounciation

 

Getting Performance Blues

Performance Blues

Getting Performance Blues

Do you love to sing?

When I was younger I loved to sing.  I dreamt of being a famous singer.  I would put on my favourite album and use my hairbrush in front of the mirror.   I finally got myself a vocal coach whose facial expression said it all when I started to sing – this person has got to be kidding me.   However we persevered and as time went on I gradually improved.  I practiced, practiced and practice because I loved singing.

Years later, I’m still singing, but there are times when I get totally fed-up with a piece of music or a particular song.  The one everyone associates with you and wants to hear it, but you feel physically sick even at the thought of having to sing that song one more time.  This is a momentary blip in my love of singing.   Overall, I love the buzz it gives me.   As I start my breathing exercises, I start to feel up lifted and relaxed.  When I sing my songs to an audience I put my heart and soul into it, while watching the audience sing and dancing along as they enjoy themselves.  The buzz I get from that can last for hours.   I want to hold that feeling forever.

But what happens when it all goes wrong.  What happens if you don’t you love to sing anymore?   Is it the physical act of singing you don’t like anymore?   Is it your voice?   Is it the vocal repertoire that you’ve worked on too long?

If it’s the physical act of singing that you have grown tired of, then you have already decided that you don’t care about being a singer anymore, so you may as well quit now – No use prolonging your agony.    This is a very extreme case.  Usually the reasons are far simpler in that you no longer enjoy singing the music that you are expected to sing, or you didn’t realise that you had to work as hard to obtain the level of singing you wanted to achieve.

Well here’s some ideas to help you overcome it:

What you are doing is not a test or exam.  It is a performance.  It is meant to entertain the listeners.  The listeners want to hear you perform. Take a deep breath and give them the performance of your life.

Let the performer in you take over.  Think of each piece you are singing in terms of entertainment value.  Imagine you are singing that song from your heart.   Give it the facial expressions, hand movements (difficult if holding a mic).   Have fun with it.  Use an instrumental break to have fun with your audience – show off and enjoy it.   Imagine yourself as an internationally famous popstar and strut your stuff.  Play up to your audience – they will love it.

Experiment with new ideas as you sing through pieces.  What about speeding it up, slowing it down, different phrasing, emphasizing different words or changing the way the sentence is said.   Tape yourself and listen back to it.  It may work even better than the old way.

Work more on the harder items of your repertoire as these are the ones that you will worry about the most.  That way you’ll be more relaxed when its time to perform them.  This may seem like obvious advice, but there is no need to practice the songs you already sing well many times before your performance.

Think about your theme.  Be creative.  Think about the message you are trying to convey with your selections.  If nothing comes to mind, be imaginative.  This will get you thinking about new ideas for old pieces.

Start looking at new songs or new styles of music.  Find out how you feel when you are singing them.  Could you include them in your repertoire?  Maybe you just need a change of direction.

Get your friends around to listen to your new ideas, new songs, etc.   Listen to what they have to say about it.  Do they think it will work for you.

The worst part of the gig

Unless you are extremely successful and can afford your own roadies, the worst part of the gig is after your performance. You are buzzing after your performance; people are coming up to you to talk to you and making a fuss of you.  Then BUMP, you come back to reality.  It’s late, you are tired and its pouring with rain.  You have to take apart your PA and pack it into your car/van, only to unpack it all when you get home (It’s not advisable to leave your gear in the car/van overnight as it may get stolen or damp).   Every artist says it’s the worst part of the night.

A fellow artist once said to me after hearing me complaint ‘do you love to sing’ ‘Of course’ I replied.

‘You would do it, even without payment’ he questioned

‘Of course’ I replied again.

‘Then you should consider that you get only get paid for setting up and taking apart your gear, and what you do in between – you do for free’

After  a little thought, I realized that he was right.  I have never complained about packing away my gear again.