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  • Writer's pictureSue

Singing My Heart Out

(Audio recording of this blog post:

Have you ever wanted to do something but hesitated because you were afraid to look like a real idiot? That was me with singing. Sure, I sang in the school choir, but I mean really singing – like in front of people and with a microphone in my hand. Well, for the longest time I was the one who would go to bars and watch other people sing while I sat in the back, wishing I had the nerve to get up there, too…

…until a few years ago. That’s when I decided to work on my singing voice.

I need a vocal coach!

So, I put out a request on social media, asking for recommendations for a voice coach. I wanted help improving my vocal range and to get greater control over my voice. And, thankfully a friend of mine has a friend who is an amazing vocal coach. So, she put me in touch with her and one thing led to another and here I am over a year later, loving getting up on stage and singing. I’ve been taking vocal lessons from Johanna Boberg with JB Vocal Studios and can’t imagine taking vocal lessons from anyone else.

I remember my first lesson with Johanna. I get to her place and after introductions, we sit down at the keyboard. And then it started – we began going through vocal exercises. Funny lip things, ah ah ah ah ah things, oh oh oh oh oh things, ee ee ee ee things, and on and on. And, I’m wondering to myself how in the world this is going to help me. Like really?

We did this again for a few more sessions. (By the way, they are one-on-one sessions, which in my opinion is 100% better for me than going to a class with a bunch of other students.) Then, she asked me about songs I’d like to sing because she has recitals for her students with her band doing backup. Wow, how cool is that!?! Not only can I sing at a recital, but I get to sing with members of her band, The Soul Psychadelique. That’s like hitting the jackpot!

Love the support from everyone

Then it hits me. Holy crap! I would be singing with a band for the recital. Yikes! I mean, they’re really good! Do they really want to back up my singing? Yes they do! Actually, the band members who have worked with us have all been so incredibly supportive. From learning our songs, to rehearsing at the recording studio or the venue where we’ll be singing, to the actual recital itself. Everyone involved is beyond amazing! I can totally tell that they do it because they want to be there.

So, back to the singing and the oooh oooh oooh oooh and aah aah aah, etc. How is this helping me? Johanna slides tidbits of information into the lesson like talking about the soft palette and the chest voice and falsetto, and all kinds of things that I didn’t know about before but that have become incredibly helpful for me in my quest to improve my voice.

Going outside of my comfort zone

So, over the years, I have participated in several recitals, singing anything from How Great Thou Art to Lady Gaga Bad Romance, to Four Non Blondes What’s Up. Quite the variety, huh! I like to do songs that challenge me and take me a bit out of my comfort zone. And, yep, the songs I’ve done have succeeded in that. Johanna actually encourages her students to go outside of our comfort zone. It helps us to grow vocally.

Fast forward to now and I truly do believe that these weird vocal exercises, along with coaching from Johanna (thus the role of vocal coach), have helped me with my range and control. And, the singing in the recitals has helped my self-confidence. I’ve even been okay enough with myself to sing through an oopsie or two. I am far from the best. But, it’s really not a competition between students. (Some of the students are holy smokes incredible!) I just do my thing and as long as I am feeling good about myself, that’s really what matters.

Of course, with COVID, we haven’t been able to do recitals. And that’s a bit of a bummer. We all would love to get back to them. But this is more than the recitals. It’s about the good feelings that I get. I really enjoy my vocal lessons, and Johanna and her family have become friends. So, yeah, lessons are virtual right now. But we have made it work. Bonus is that my cat, Tana, gets to participate now as well. He sometimes will hop up on my desk to make an appearance and visit with Johanna’s daughter before going back to his cat nap or whatever it is that my singing has disrupted.

Push yourself and put a smile in your heart

So why am I telling you all of this? Because I encourage you to go outside of your comfort zone. Is there something that you’ve always wanted to do? Something that might push you in a way that you haven’t been pushed before? I’m sure there is! Maybe it’s not singing. Maybe it’s writing a book, or maybe it’s taking a class to learn a skill you’ve always wanted to learn. Do something that will put a smile in your heart – much like singing and taking vocal lessons have put a smile in my heart.

Featured Image: Image by Bernd Everding from Pixabay

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