Tag Archives: resistance

Consistency

What does consistency mean for you? Do you think of food? Do you think of behaviour? How about chemistry? Music? Art?

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Art work for sale at Intrigue Winery in the BC Okanagan. Sadly, in the original photo I took, the glare made the artist’s name impossible to read.

Consistency is one of my Three Words for 2014. I think for me it has been the hardest one to keep present in my mind and in my day-to-day actions. Routine is different from consistency. Routine is your daily schedule that you perform as you move throughout your day. Consistency in that routine is what moves you forward. Incidentally, it also creates good habits!

In Three Words for 2014, I wrote:

“The only constant in life is change, therefore consistency in my actions will bring about the changes that will happen!”

 I have started getting up earlier. This consistent action has allowed me to add a few things to my morning routine on a more consistent basis. This includes a short morning meditation, writing this blog, and having time to enjoy my breakfast (most mornings!) before I head to work.

Getting up earlier also means I have to go to bed earlier! So, I have tried to be more consistent in the time I end my evenings. I finish up around 9:30 pm and start to get ready for bed. It’s made my earlier mornings much easier and I feel better overall!

It’s easy to set a routine or a daily schedule, but harder to stick to it. So by being more consistent, (even on weekends), I find I’m not as frequently overwhelmed by everything I try to accomplish in the day. That doesn’t mean I still don’t try to do too much!

Better consistency in my singing practice has also resulted in a more consistent sound and ease in singing. It has been hard to make that part of my routine because although I love singing, I often experience Resistance, that thing we all wrestle with when we have something that needs our attention!

By fighting Resistance with consistency in my actions, I lessen the possibility of procrastinating on the things I’d like to achieve.

Singing every day, in some way, shape, or form is a consistent action that makes me very happy. What makes you happy? What consistent actions do you do that help you move forward? Leave me a comment below or contact me on any social media – I’d love to hear from you!

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Focus

When starting something new (like singing lessons!), your focus is usually fairly intense. Excitement about the possibilities of this new pursuit are in your thoughts, you feel happy to be exploring a new area of interest, and you are making the time to do the work necessary to get better and improve.

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After some time, you find your focus changes. You don’t learn things as quickly as you thought or hoped, you find yourself spending a little more time on other worthy tasks (resistance!) instead of continuing to improve in your new pursuit. Since this is a blog about singing, let’s call this new pursuit ‘singing lessons’, although any new task, skill, activity etc. can be inserted here.

When singing, focus can be used in a number of different ways. In a broader sense, you focus on your overall direction – perhaps there is a goal of an audition, recital, or competition. You look at your goals for a longer period of time and ask ‘Where do I want to be?’ or ‘What do I need to focus on to get there?’

However, you also need to focus within your vocal practice on specific techniques, sounds, listening, etc. This is where the daily practice comes in.

So how do you focus when practicing singing? When my attention is distracted from practicing singing by other worthy things like the internet, cleaning the kitchen, dusting, a good book, TV, etc.,  I find it really helpful to set a timer for my practice. I start with 30 minutes, then work up from there. When I set a timer, I know I have to focus for that specific amount of time, then I take a break. If you’re just beginning your singing practice, start with 15 minutes, take a 10 minute break, then try another 15 minutes.

Another way to focus is to sing at the same time every day. Put those times in your calendar or schedule, and stick to them. That time is untouchable.

Sometimes singing practice is taking a look at a larger view – using a broader focus, if you will, and mapping out what you need to do to get there. This might include specific benchmarks such as, “I will have this piece memorized by September 30th.” or “I need to decide what pieces I will sing for X by October 31.”, etc.

In a previous post I discussed Listening vs. Hearing. Listening requires more focus than hearing. Listen intently to a new piece of music, perhaps even a genre you’ve never explored before required attention and focus. Listen closely to different aspects of the composition – high tones, low tones, bass line, percussion, rhythm, lyrics, harmonic changes, etc. – there many possibilities! Your focus will change depending on what you are listening for.

When you learn to sing, there are many different things you have to focus on separately, in order to improve your overall vocal quality. Tone, breath control, rhythm, hearing and leading your line within the structure of the overall piece, harmony, direction of the phrase or line, text, poetic message, etc. This is why we need a singing teacher or a coach. You need another set of ears that aren’t focused on the production of all those qualities to help you find the best way there.

If you have been sitting on the fence about taking lessons, go and find yourself a teacher! Try out a few different teachers (finding the right teacher will be the subject of a future blog post). Starting is the easy part. Keeping your focus on a consistent basis will deliver results, progress, and the joy and satisfaction of focusing on a specific task!

Set your timer, focus on the task at hand, and have fun!

As always, thanks for reading, feel free to share this with anyone you think would be interested and subscribe if you haven’t already done so!