Updated: Feb 10, 2019
I'll never forget it!! It was my first time doing a show on a big stage!! I was the opener of the show, meaning I was the first act to perform, so I had high expectations of myself to do a good job. I started off with the first song, and everything was flowing normally as usual. But as I continued, the excitement began to build, I started walking and moving around the stage, my adrenaline started pumping, and the energy began to grow very high. When I finished the first song of my set, the audience clapped and cheered. I was so relieved to receive their approval, however, there was one small problem. I got so caught up in all of the energy, that I was unable to calm down and catch my breath for the rest of my set.
I mean a sista was WINDED! I tried to sing through it, play it off, turn away from the microphone every chance I got to catch my breath but it DID NOT WORK. I was so afraid that people were either going to notice, or that I was going to lose all control and not be able to perform my whole set. I thank God for giving me the strength to get through it. I learned a valuable lesson in that experience - it takes more than just being able to sing to become a great performer.
So I started to think about what practical techniques I could use to build my vocal stamina. If you're a person like me that wants to move and dance on stage, then part of what it takes is having proper breath control, even when you start to feel a little winded. So the idea came to mind to simply start singing when I would do my daily walk.
Now there are two artists, for example, that come to mind (and I know there are many more) when I think of those who have mastered the art of vocal stamina on a big stage. And this is solely based on my own personal opinions and observations. That would be The King of Pop, Michael Jackson (RIP M.J. *tears*) and The Queen Bee, Beyonce. Have you ever noticed how they dance, pop, drop, shake and all kinds of things, but their voice doesn't shake or jerk? In my opinion, its because Mike and B trained themselves vigorously to get in vocal shape. There's no way you can perform like they do by laying on the couch eating kale and drinking smoothies all day. They put in serious work to pull of major, world class performances like that.
Now I won't lie to you, the struggle was real...at first. I was huffing, puffing, whewing, stopping, panting, and I couldn't finish a full phrase. But every day, my breathing and control got better, and I even started to sing better. I don't know how to explain it, but something about my tone began to sound clearer. Even when I felt myself getting winded, I was able to effectively control my breathing. Now I have a stationary bike that I use to train myself at home. I enjoy it very much because I can easily get out of bed, put on my workout clothes and start training in the next room.
Here are a few tips I'd like to recommend when training this way:
1. Listen to music that you enjoy, but also gives you a challenge vocally.
2. Train to songs that you actually plan on singing in your next show or set of shows.
3. If something does not feel right physically, STOP immediately.
4. If you feel faint, lightheaded, dizzy or if your heart starts pounding, STOP immediately.
5. Take your vocal stamina training one day at a time. It takes time to build so be patient with yourself.
So now when I take to the stage, I feel more confident and self-assured that when the adrenaline and excitement hits me, I don't have to panic, because my vocal stamina training will come into play to help me navigate through my performances, and I can focus on having fun and reaching the people.
I posted a video below so that you can see how it works. Thank you for checking out my blog. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope this helps someone. Good luck on your musical journey.