The Mistake That Keeps Talented Singers Stuck

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Photo Source: @ian.kacungira via Twenty20

There’s one question I am asked all the time: What’s the secret to great singing?

I totally get it. Who doesn’t want in on the secret to greatness? But the thing is, there’s no useful, practical answer to this question.

While these broad, inspirational secrets are easy to digest, they’re hard to execute. They’re designed to address an insecurity with instant encouragement without providing any real strategies or substance. As such, they are rarely actionable.

Since I’m all about taking action and digging down to guide you in the real work that will facilitate lasting change in your singing, naturally such a question pushes my buttons. Luckily, there is a better question, one I wish more singers would ask me.

What specific mistakes keep talented singers stuck and struggling?

Now that is a question ripe for an in-depth, tactical, actionable answer. Like most things worth learning, the answer can’t be summed up in a soundbite. But for now, we can start the conversation by discussing something talented singers can shift to move the needle in the direction of full potential.

READ: 2 Truths About Becoming a Better Singer

Stop manipulating your voice to sound like what you perceive the world wants. Instead, be brave and learn to sing with the unique sound you were given.

You do not need to sound like famous singer X or Y or do what someone else does to be successful. When you tie your success to something outside of yourself, you deny all that makes you uniquely you. And guess what? Your voice is a unique gift that nobody else has. Embrace it!

To do this, stop listening to the sound you make and start feeling the sound in your body instead. Get in touch with the physical feeling of the good technique and recreate that every single time you sing. You move towards singing with your organic, free, unique voice when you get out of your head and into your body when you sing.

I’ve been teaching and singing professionally for over 20 years and learned a lot of painful and expensive lessons along the way. I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that being a great singer does not happen by accident. Nor is it just about working “harder” or ‘“hustling more.” The key is training yourself to focus on the critical things that really move the needle rather than getting caught up in the tidal wave of ego-based compare and despair patterns.

Trust the instrument you were given. Strengthen it with healthy technique. Then you will find yourself in the sweet spot where great singing becomes possible.

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The views expressed in this article are solely that of the individual(s) providing them,
and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Backstage or its staff.

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Arden Kaywin
Arden Kaywin is voice teacher, vocal coach, and vocal producer in Los Angeles with over 10 years experience working with developing singers and nearly 20 years as a professional singer herself. She holds a master’s degree in music and vocal performance from the Manhattan School of Music in NYC, where she studied classical voice and opera.
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