Is it possible for singing to give you greater confidence in other areas of your life? I believe that it is!
Just about everyone can sing – it’s an ability most people are born with – children sing with no boundaries at all caring very little about how they sound. At some point, many people become more aware of their voices and how they sound when singing and for some reason, people see fit to tell people “they can’t sing”. This annoys me greatly. Especially when it is said to children. It can be harmful not only to their musical enjoyment but also to having A VOICE at all. Many of my singers report having been told they shouldn’t sing in school productions, that they should mime instead or that they couldn’t join the choir. Think about what this could do to the confidence of these young singers?
There are many reports and studies citing examples of singing boosting self-esteem and confidence. According to an article by Fay Agathangelou self esteem can be boosted because when singing you can be released from your inhibitions and really be yourself. I see this a lot with my private singing clients. It takes a while for them to get used to singing on their own (it’s a bit like standing naked in front of someone – very exposing and quite embarrassing at times). Every single note, breath and mistake gets heard both by teacher and student and it can be very difficult to hear on an emotional level. To add to my singers’ misery, I record them and make them listen back to themselves (in the comfort of their own home). It makes progress much easier for them to track. I would also add here that I do this for myself! (I don’t like it either!) In time this process gets easier as the singers grow in confidence.
Singing is a mindful activity – it stops you having the space to think negative thoughts and allows you to exist right in that moment – which is why song choices are also very important – you’ve got to be singing something that brings you joy.
The very act of stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying to sing alone is the first step to developing confidence. We learn best the we are very slightly out of our regular ‘happy place’. Group singing is a great way to find a middle ground to do this – you have everyone else with you, in the same boat. You can hear them and you might be able to hear yourself…. and together we create a more pure sound (I have an app to prove it!)
Many of my group singers leave a rehearsal happier and I’m left wondering what this happiness is relating to. I think its confidence! They have pushed aside some fears, come and joined a group, probably sat next to someone they don’t know but the shared goal and working together as a team has left them feeling that they are very much a part of the process – that they have contributed and that they are valued. They have the confidence to come back and do it all again the following fortnight… and again…. and again. Some even have the new found confidence to get on a stage and perform. It’s amazing.
I run a smaller choir called ‘The Liberty Chorus’ which has around 15 members meeting monthly. Initially, we did a six week block of rehearsals and then I took them to the local pub for the open mic night. I’m fairly certain that NON of them wanted to do it… but they had agreed to sing, they promised me and more importantly, each other. And so collectively there was a confidence which perhaps lacked individually. Of course they sang. Of course they loved it. Of course they stayed longer in the pub and drank too much! It was cause for celebration!!!
I have instigated a ‘treasure at teatime’ solo slot within the West Bridgford Liberty Singers (there’s a previous blog post relating to this from Vicky who was treasure one week – a lovely account of her experiences). Most of my treasures probably would not have wanted to sing alone in front of 100 people – but by singing in the group, they gained the confidence to do it!
And finally, one lady I have know for a while started coming to my pop up choirs in West Bridgford. After the first one, she felt confident enough to put herself forward for an audition at the Nottingham Playhouse for a production in the summer. And yes, you guessed it…. she got her part.
Singing and singing together could just give you the confidence you need in all sorts of unexpected areas of your life!