You hear me say constantly that you are not the creator of your talent. You are merely the vehicle through which it flows out into the world.
That being said, there's a part of you that disputes that statement, and wants to be recognized as the MAKER of this voice you have.
That's your EGO!

A great many performers live under the delusion that there is such a thing as a “Healthy Ego”.
I am here to tell you otherwise. The Ego is not your friend.
Oh, I can hear you already! “What do you mean? It’s what makes me ME”!

Exactly! It’s who you think you are…not the reality of WHO you are, a spiritual being connected to the source of your talent, given to you by The Creator, to express SELF. Your talent is NOT the ego.

The Ego is the entity inside us that loves the word "should" and is always telling us what to do and how to do it. It loves to predict upcoming failures and calamities, or to comment on things that have already happened with "if only" this or that. The Ego’s chatter" is constant. It never shuts up.

It includes not just our own thoughts, but those of our parents, our teachers, and others, and it insists on all of our attention.

We have mistakingly decided that who we are is all tied up with our ego, and we keep the ego around because we are convinced that it is the symbol of our individuality, so it stands to reason then that "letting go" of this chattering pest in our brain isn't easy.

In a great book about performing called "The Inner Game of Music", the author says, (and I am paraphrasing here), that we can best understand the workings of the ego by looking at the process of falling asleep.

Falling asleep is something we naturally know how to do, but cannot do when our mind is running a mile a minute. If there's nothing on our mind we are usually able to fall asleep quickly and without making any effort, but when our mind is full of a thousand worries, it's close to impossible.

This is the ego at work. Its nagging voice will tell us all about tomorrow's problems, or run a tedious litany of the day that just past.

The problem is that as long as you're trying to go to sleep, you can't! Some people count sheep, or their breaths, as a technique to deflect their attention from the chattering ego. When we can "let go" of the constant instructions and judgments of the ego by concentrating on something else, we can finally fall asleep.

It’s the same for the singer during a performance. The ego will not be still, offering constant critiques of our performance in our ear. Many singers get tighter and tighter the longer they sing. They start to run out of air and can’t complete a phrase, or they forget the words, or they get so dry in the throat the throat actually starts closing up altogether.
So how do we learn to silence the ego, and let our essence come forward?

Techniques to Letting Go!

Letting go is sometimes embarrassing, scary, and a difficult process. But until you can pass through the temporary discomfort, you will not have the opportunity to discover what True Self has to offer you. So take the plunge! Do these exercises and just see what is waiting for you on the other side! These are to be practiced in order whenever you sing in front of people)

Technique #1 - Role Playing
Sometimes it's easier to just pretend that you are a confident, experienced, and powerful performer. Try taking on the persona of a singer or performer you admire and "FAKE IT 'TIL YOU MAKE IT!"

Technique #2 - Becoming the Music
Losing yourself in the character you are portraying musically, or in the emotions and message of the song will help you to keep your attention OFF of your vocal cords, or your breathing. The more into the music you get, the less these impingements have a chance to get in your way.

Technique #3 – Create a Focal Point
This is the point that so many doctors and mid-wives tell their patients to concentrate on as labor intensifies. Concentrating on some object or person literally lessens the pain of child birth, whereas during a performance, looking at a familiar face in the crowd or in your mind can diminish the distraction of your ego. Carol Channing has used this technique successfully for over 7 decades on stage.

Technique #4 - Becoming Embarrassed
If letting go is sometimes embarrassing, but leads you to the place where the real YOU can do it's (your) thing, then it's best to get that embarrassing moment out of the way as soon as possible. My own moment came when I was in the middle of a medley of songs about "rhythm". The medley started with "Crazy Rhythm", segued into "Fascinatin' Rhythm", and ended with "I Got Rhythm".

I had the whole visual part of this medley planned out in my head, but could not quiet the inner critic who kept telling me that I would make a fool of myself with this medley because while I have rhythm in my voice, I have none in my feet. I simply can't dance!

And true to form, I fell flat on my backside trying to do a Gene Kelly move in the middle of the thing. The audience laughed like crazy. I was totally humiliated, but directly behind that was a revelation!

My artistic self stepped right in and turned the whole thing into a comedy sketch, and by exaggerating my clumsiness, the crowd roared with approval...and that medley became one of most requested numbers I did.

Do something ridiculous, singers! Embarrass yourself. Once you do, you will get past it and never have to be embarrassed again. You have just stepped over the hump!

Technique #5 - The Final Challenge - Try Something "Impossible!"
That note you never have been able to hit with clarity or power? Go for it now! That phrase that you can never complete in one breath? Do it now! Can it get any worse than embarrassing yourself to death? No! It cannot! You are now over the hump and on the other side where your real self lives and breathes. From now on the ego will dim with every performance.
Try it and see for yourself!

Author's Bio: 

"It is my commitment to you, the singer, to help you reveal the voice you know is inside of you, striving to come out and be the perfect expression you know you can be. I believe that if you have a "burning desire" to sing, and you believe you are "called" to it as your contribution to Universe, that I can help you eliminate bad vocal habits, performance anxiety, and any limiting beliefs you may have about your ability to succeed. It's my mission in life to help as many singers as I can discover the voice inside of them, and then use their gift to fully express their essence in the world."
I've been singing for a living since 1961, and while I still perform at a variety of venues throughout the year, I have spent most of the last 40 years teaching, coaching, and otherwise mentoring others on how to fulfill their dreams of being a singer. My students range in age from 15 - 70. The young students learn discipline and good habits for keeping their voices strong and powerful forever, and the older ones are rediscovering their dreams of youth by learning techniques that have revitalized their voices and their confidence! I am absolutely sure that I can teach anyone, yes anyone how to sing and even more than that, become the singer they have always dreamed of being!

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