Another month of “Sängerschmiede” is over and it’s time to let you in on what happened. At the end of the last group coaching, everyone got assigned a new homework song. When I heard the song I initally felt scared, but that feeling was quickly replaced by excitement? joy? I don’t even know, as it felt a bit new to me.
So, the song I got is “Goldeneye” by Tina Turner.
Sounds intimidating, right. And it was, but also exciting, I guess. So very conflicting feelings here. But I signed up for this challenge, so let’s do this.
Let go of the Ukulele
As I mentioned in Part 1 of this series, it’s a singing class and therefore designed to focus on voice alone. Since last time was our first assignment, I got away with accompanying myself with the ukulele. But now it was time to let go of that and focus solely on my voice with singing to a playback. This in itself is a big challenge for me. I am so used to perform with my ukulele, that I feel completely naked without it and the thought of standing on a stage and just singing is frightening.
Then of course, there’s so many questions that arise: What to do with my hands? Mic on a stand or in my hand? Do I need to move my body? WTF am I doing here? 😉
I was not able to tackle all of those questions this month. But not having the ukulele in my hands was definitely a big first step for me. And really weird, as you can see in the video at the end of this post 😉
Let go of my comfort zone
Up until now, I only had vocal coaching with two different coaches, but mainly just one – Manu (who I love dearly and was so successful in bringing out the best of me so far). But of course, the program kinda requires to take lessons with different coaches. Which makes sense, but had me a little bit on edge. I finally found the right groove with my main vocal coach and know what to expect. So getting used to someone new, or even a couple of new people is hard for me.
After meeting the head coach Mel for the first time at the last group coaching, I was really impressed by her. What she said and the questions she asked resonated with me, so I thought it would be nice to start this month with her. I also had a lovely session with Katharina, who was recommended by a ukulele friends. And I had (actually my 2nd) session with Dominik, who will become one of my regular vocal coaches.
It’s interesting to see, how with some coaches it’s more difficult for me to open up than with others. And that sometimes it’s easy to open up while singing, but not so much on a personal level, and sometimes it’s the other way around. Will have to keep an eye on that 😉 But I’m also happy that I get to keep up with my usual coach Manu, as it gives me the sense of stability that I need.
My goal is to at least try one new coach every month. Thankfully Stimmfabrik offers so many of them, that this will be doable. It’s definitely nice to get different perspectives on my voice and my progress. Even though it’s not that easy for me to fully engage with new people, I know that it helps me a lot to just get over my fear and do it anyway.
Let go of being cute
This month I also had to let go of being cute. In the last couple of years I created this “Nikky and the Ukulele” persona, who always has this cutesie touch, with a mellow and softer voice. There’s really nothing edgy about this Nikky. It’s a very pleasing and always nice persona – even though lots of my original songs aren’t even like that when you listen closely to the lyrics.
But now it was time to let go of that. With my homework song, it was important to be edgy, to get a little gritty and dirty and let me tell you, this is so much more difficult for me than it probably should be. It’s weird, because more than once in my life, people have told me that I’m too loud and take up too much space. But somehow I can’t seem to translate that to singing.
So getting into a mode to engage my chest voice and not be cutesy and nice was a challenge. With some different techniques, additional body work and strengthening my focus I made really good progress and was able to slip into that mode. However, when I listen to the recording now, it still seems way too cute and lovely. Even though it felt like it was totally rough and edgy when I was singing it. So here’s most definitely a field where I need to improve even more.
Let go of perfectionism
The final thing to let go of, was my perfectionism. This I was able to do just fine. I guess that’s a success. I’ve been working on this song for four weeks and it got to a point, where I thought that it was good for now. And that’s when I recorded the video and knew that I would be done for now. Could I sing the song better if I practiced some more days, maybe. But sometimes it’s better to just make the decision that it’s good as it is for now.
So here it is:
Let go of the fraud police
So the video above was the one I handed in for the second group coaching. The days before I was actually really excited and looking forward to our next meeting and to sharing my progress. No fear whatsoever. I’m actually surprised that even up until the video was played and while it was playing, I was still excited. But of course, right after it was done, imposter syndrom set in. I felt silly for being excited because it wasn’t really that good and I should have worked harder and implement more of the pointers that the coaches gave me.
Ugh. It’s just so hard to let go of the fraud police. And even though I know that this is not true. That I worked hard and made a lot of progress, the feeling of not being good enough is kinda what lingered on for the rest of the group coaching and is here even now.
I guess this process that I’m going through is much more difficult emotionally, than it is vocally. Thanks for joining my ride.
PS: If you’re new here and need a bit of background story to the singing class I joined, check out my last blog post.