Welcome to “What’s in your way?” week!
For those who are not members of the program I’m piloting this year, called “Keep Singing!” Online Singing Instruction and Group Vocal Coaching Program [for more info on the Keep Singing! program, go here], this is a presentation I made for our 4th-week-of-the-month training last month. It was really fun creating it, so I thought I would share it publicly.
Then, once I rendered the video and published it to YouTube, I saw that pretty-much-none of the YouTube clips I showed as examples appeared correctly. So, I placed links for each one in the YouTube description, but thought it best to create a blog post that runs through the whole thing, too. That way, you can follow along as you want. If you’d like to watch along with the YouTube video where I walk/talk through these, you can view it here:
What’s This About?
This article and video are about Showing Up and Showing Both Yourself and Others That You Believe You Are a Singer.
Today, we’re addressing a Mindset Issue of thinking and presenting like a singer by exploring one small physical adjustment you can make that has HUGE ramifications for you showing up as a singer.
Interestingly, the mindset and presence issues that create a stage presence for a singer AS a singer are often what also produce good tone, volume, create excellent resonation and make it so the singer doesn’t have to push to make the sound happen for them.
Showing Up as a Singer
Stage presence and the belief that you belong “up front” as a singer – what does it mean? what does it look like?
Well, it doesn’t have to look like this, but it certainly can…
Mick Jagger isn’t average on any level. But he still serves as a great example of the belief that “I belong” and “I can take up space here” and “I’m a singer – end of story.”
What’s the Small-but-Huge Adjustment You Can Make That’ll Transform Both Your Sound and Your Visual Presence as a Singer?
Dropping your jaw. (Aka Open your mouth!)
Here’s the opposite (hee hee 😆):Singing with your mouth closed! 😶
But you don’t have to be Mick Jagger: https://youtube.com/clip/Ugkx-7fB2Bl159TXho-J5LXWyrz8ms-7kiV3
Let’s look at some jaw-dropping singers who approach their jaw-dropping naturally and as appropriate to their song and their voice:
3 opera grand dames, all singing the same song – what differences and similarities do you notice with their jaw drop, body movements, facial expressions, etc.?
- Kiri te Kanawa – https://youtube.com/clip/UgkxFiurP15BFgId8ohZ3UarkuSaVUo08E8u
- Renee Fleming – https://youtube.com/clip/UgkxJfpcPCujuYcfjYVN99DkZvhJJ1F6C4-M
- Montserrat Caballe – https://youtube.com/clip/UgkxJ4AJWJmGLA3hZV-SjjRduK2ZTAIhkvJT
- Freddie Mercury & Montserrat Caballe – “Barcelona” performance – notice mouth and body – https://youtube.com/clip/UgkxRlDmbtcB0N2LxOSTaAenA-RIN52-elYv [IF YOU WATCH THIS FURTHER later on, then notice this: even when either Freddy or Montserrat raised their heads, they raise their entire torso and sternum to keep the neck in alignment. They never throw their head back so that the neck is bent backwards on the spine. Why do you think so? How would it impact their trachea?]
- Ariana Grande – https://youtube.com/clip/Ugkx9IbJZ1-Cv_zqzqKXwhR-JigpdlO2MK_w
- Aretha Franklin – https://youtube.com/clip/Ugkxsa5gWjKzKvEtgcaDlabS9ct5FvGBuhqH
- Working the genre, no matter your natural habitat – and owning it with training, work, expression, and jaw-dropped vocal presence!! (Luciano Pavarotti & Bryan Adams) https://youtube.com/clip/UgkxiEpeVml6KFyHozN_cHJmGM6t6UoHQa00
- The 3 Tenors (José Carreras, Plácido Domingo, and Luciano Pavarotti), https://youtube.com/clip/UgkxCERzWdB1ujz6M9Oh2rrh-8oaPjorapi2
- Maria Callas – https://youtube.com/clip/UgkxbfTFdOkzDURYChyfKCKd_3UJuPFaYN_q
- Whitney Houston – https://youtube.com/clip/UgkxZIvLVxpiQlCPcyvspMSQ5MaWtKslAozj
- Ed Sheehan [miced voices don’t need as much jaw drop except for tone – https://youtube.com/clip/UgkxoQYKI29Z-bFnraLfWQUlSRj9u4DbeGQ-
- Brian Mcknight – about 1 finger jaw-drop; still sings very open-throat, even when he uses horizontal mouth position: https://youtube.com/clip/UgkxV0S780dhe_YG2kQuJ7cRFwWVmE3OmlqQ
I’ve literally taken all day to do this because I was having so much fun!
Let’s land the plane!
What’s Common among These Singers?
- Projection of confidence
- Expressing the lyrics with their body and face
- Presence- taking up space – belonging
- Opening their mouths like they mean it
Imagine them singing it with no jaw drop! What would be different about their performances if their mouths were less than one finger dropped – really imagine it and think of 3 descriptive phrases for your impression of them as singers if their mouths were closed during their singing.
So, how much jaw-drop is good?
On average: 2 fingers.
Minimum: 1 finger.
Learn to sing through what feels weird.
Drop that jaw!
Feel what it feels like to drop your jaw 2 fingers’ width:
- USE A MIRROR OR VIDEO when you practice exercises or songs.
- Put your fingers between your teeth
- Hold your jaw there, remove your fingers, feel what it feels like, and see what it looks like.
- Sing that way.
You have to teach your body and muscles what it feels like to actually be dropping your jaw so that your mouth isn’t closed.
Now What and So What?
Now, go and take ownership of your presence as a singer on stage, in churches, on a sidewalk, on video, or wherever it is you sing or want to sing. Look like you belong there by dropping your jaw and declaring to yourself and to the world, “I’m a singer. I sing. Do do that, I open my mouth and I’m done apologizing for that or feeling self-conscious about it.”
Tell your body and brain, “I belong here” by practicing this little tweak that has a HUGE impact on your mindset and physical presence and appearance as a singer.
Let me know how it goes – leave a comment about what you thought, what you tried, and what happened!