How Your Thoughts Can betray Your Singing Performance

The true mark of a great singer is someone who can captivate emotion in their singing and portray a sense of passion with their musical performance.

Have you ever wondered how to achieve this? 

It’s more simple than you think!

It just has to do with the thoughts that are going through your head while you sing or perform. These thoughts will keep you focused on a particular aspect of your performance. 

For example, if you’re a very technical guitar player, you probably already spend a lot of your time thinking about technique while you’re onstage. 

But while this is okay when you’re practising, you’re going to come off to the audience as robotic.

"This is what happens when you are thinking more about your hands, rather than the emotion you’re trying to embody for the audience."

Now, if your technical chops aren’t up to par, you won’t be able to focus on other parts of the performance. If this is the case, then you need to spend more time getting the technical side of your performance down.

However, if your technique is adequate, then try turning your attention to the audience during the performance. If you’re the singer, try focusing on the emotion of the song that you’re trying to sing. 

For example, if you’re singing a sad song, you can visualize things that make you sad while singing the lyrics. That way, you will automatically portray actual sadness in your voice.

Being able to achieve this is the type of performance that gives the audience chills.

When they can hear the emotion in your voice, they can see the visual signs of said emotion. 

Nothing is more potent than an audience relating to your singing while you are singing a sad song due to the emotion that the song brings out of the singer.

Does it remove some of the perfection of the technique?

Yes, maybe, but it adds a massive layer of authenticity and creates moments for the audience to remember.

Also, remember to realise that if you’re feeling the emotion that strongly from your singing; the chances are that the audience will also feel it too.


How can you practice this?

Well, for singers, it’s relatively easy. When you’re singing, you need to make sure that your mind is on the emotion and that you’re visualising the elements that match the feeling of the song. 

If your voice is feeling rather weak on a particular day, you may notice that more of your attention goes to getting the notes correctly. This extra effort is okay—but realise that you still need to spend some time paying attention to the emotional content of the song as well.

The best advice that I can give you is to spend the few days before the performance practising and keeping your voice from atrophying (voice atrophy happens after three days) and then your voice should be in good shape for the show. Now, go out and focus on the emotion that you’re trying to showcase and have a great time!

On a side note:

Although I can sing and play the guitar. I have a tendency not to do both at the same time. Because it takes away from my ability to truly focus on the emotion of the song that I’m trying to play because I’m too busy switching my focus between guitar and voice to pay much attention to anything else.

It’s possible, though, and you can still pull off both at the same time and maintain the emotional connection to your playing, but it’s more challenging to accomplish.

If you are learning to sing and play the guitar at the same time, this is something that you should keep in mind if you’re new to music or trying to accompany yourself.

About the Author


Inspired to learn how to sing, perform, or accompany yourself? Check out voice lessons in Rochester from Chris Glyde!

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