Your first singing lesson is so exciting! You're getting to do exactly whaat you love, and know that you're going to get even better. You can see yourself up there, hitting every note, nailing every riff, and you can hear the applause of your adoring fans.
Then you remember that you have to practise. And everything turns grey. Your heart pounds, your stomach is in knots. You know you're not a terrible singer, but you're worried that people will laugh at you. Especially that moany neighbour, who seems to do nothing but complain about other people all day.
It's natural to be nervous about warming up, repeatedly going over exercises, and practising when you first start out.
When I first started singing lessons I lived in Gillingham, next door to a nurse who, from the time we moved in, only ever spoke to my then husband.
Like all musicians, I had to practise.
I knew that, regardless of whether my neighbour was on night- or day shift, she was always up and about from around 2pm. So I scheduled my practise time for 4pm, every day. Every day. Every. Single. Day. 😮🎶🎶
And for the first few weeks, my next door neighbour complained. Every. Single. Day. 😂
My neighbours on the other side never mentioned it. I knew they could hear me because the kids would knock on the door to take my baby daughter in with them while I practiced.
The only time they mentioned my singing was to comment on my progress.
But the nurse kept complaining.
This went on for about 6 weeks.
It was really off-putting, knowing that she would be complaining to my husband every day.
But I didn’t let her miserable comments and complaints stop me. If anything, it inspired me to be successful more quickly. I knew that eventually I would be out playing gigs and that she would one day be a distant memory.
One day her husband stopped me in the street (she NEVER spoke to me) and said “Your singing’s really coming along.” Neither of them mentioned it again after that.
A year and a half later I moved back to London and started gigging.
This i swaht I learned all those years ago:
Everyone starts where they start.
There will always be someone who wants to drag you down.
When you know what you want, nothing can stop you.
Some nurses are really miserable!
Singing is a very exposing activity. When we open our mouths and share our emotions we are vulnerable. And some people like to play on that. The thing to remember is that every time they do that, they are exposing more about themselves than they ever could about you. You're DOING the thing. and they don't like it. Well boo-hoo to them, we all have to put up with things we don't like for a while.
Even I still get nervous from time to time.
I met my partner at work. We teach music at the same college and he has heard me sing ans teach hundreds of times. We became a couple just before lockdown and decided to "lock down" together. At first I was nervous about practising when he was around - even with that history.
Here's the thing: no one gets good at something by not practising. Even singers with natural talent have to warm up, and exercise their voice. And as much as you may think they never get nervous, I can guarantee that if they care about singing, they definitely do get nervous -100%.
If you really don't want to practice at home you can hire a rehearsal room. You can find them easily on Google - Pirate Studios rent out rooms for as little as £5 an hour (use code CARRIE216416 for free credit towards your booking). Or go for a long walk where there aren't many people around. This is a favourite of mine, especially during lockdown. While my neighbours are lovely, three straight months every day might have been a bit too much - at least the nurse wasn't stuck at home!
If you're nervous about singing, the only way to build confidence is to practise.
And when people laugh or complain, look them in the eye and thank them for the motivation to improve.
Keep going - you’ve got this!
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