Episode 38 – 3 Stages of Singing and Performing
In this episode I talk about the 3 stages of performing while learning a song or show.
This concept will really assist you with singing and performing – at any level.
The important thing is to know what stage you’re in at any time and BE THERE!
This makes it fun and rewarding rather than disappointing and no fun. (-:
It’s amazing how simply acknowledging what stage you’re in with a particular song or show can instantly affect your Inner Singer in a very positive way!
Listen to this episode and it will really make sense.
The Inner Singer Podcast
Episode 38 – Transcripts
3 Stages of Singing & Performing
Well, hey there, everyone. This is Mike Goodrich. And thank you for listening to The Inner Singer Podcast here, episode 38.
I could feel the whole idea of The Inner Singer expanding. And it’s beginning to include more in my mind which, to me, it’s great. It had to. And let me tell you what I mean by that.
I’m starting to get a lot of questions actually, and I’m answering one today. We’re certainly taking one into consideration today in this particular podcast. It has to do with actually performing.
The inner singer take on performing or the inner singer take on technique I think is really important. Those three things, when we think of them separately, we think of the inner singer, we think of the mindset, the psychology, what’s going on mentally, emotionally, our belief systems, our wiring, our programming and all of that. We sort of compartmentalize that I think in our minds as, “Okay, that is this. That’s the inner singer.”
Then we have vocal technique which is how we approach the song, the scales, the vowels, the breathing, everything that has to do with building the voice.
Then we have performing which is the performance of all of that, standing in front of somebody and actually singing a song.
But to me, the inner singer is taking on much more of an umbrella under which all three of these things relate to each other and integrate with each other and inform each other, so that the inner singer isn’t just the mindset, the psychology, the mental game of singing, the wiring, the programming. It actually includes the vocal technique. It includes the performing. We don’t approach the performing or the technique in a different way.
What I want to do now is bring more of this to the forefront so we know how to approach the technique, know how to approach the performing, and we bring what we have been calling the “inner singer” into all aspects of our singing, so that it informs every aspect, so that it includes every aspect.
And so every aspect, then the synergy of these three things—let’s call it the trifecta of singing—where we have the mental, the wiring, the programming, we have the technique, we have the performance, these three together begin to inform each other.
And then, the synergy of those three working together under the umbrella of the inner singer idea then becomes unbelievable.
I think we would all agree that one without the other two, not so great. We talked a little bit about that before. If you have the strong psychology, the strong mentality, you’re confident, you’re ready to go, your inner singer is really healthy and strong and confident, but you don’t have the voice to back it up—it’s like the joke I told in the last podcast—(or you don’t have the ability to perform), then it’s not obviously going to be as much fun.
And if you have a great technique, but you’re afraid to go onstage, that’s not going to be that much fun. And if you have a great time onstage and performing is no big deal, you can be very authentic and very connected, and yet you don’t have the technique to back it up, then that’s not as much fun.
So, the synergy of all these working together I think is what we really, really want. And for me, it’s coming together under the umbrella of the inner singer. In other words, the inner singer for me is what leads the way.
In other words, if I were going to say, “Well, do I lead with technique?”—I used to lead with technique. I was a technique guy. That’s all I was. That’s all I wanted to talk about. Seriously, I’m going to be really candid right now. I didn’t want anybody bringing their problems into lesson.
My wife was phenomenal at that. People would come to her as a singing teacher, and she would ultimately end up almost being like a life coach to them. I can think of a couple of people, two or three people, off the top of my head that two of them have now been on Broadway, and very, very successfully. And a couple of others were amateur singers, but what she did for them with their life is unbelievable. Unbelievable!
I’m just convinced that she had such, such a major role in their development as people that had they not had her—well, they probably would’ve found somebody—had they not had her or somebody like my wife to help them along the way, I don’t know that they would be have been able to be where they are and do what they’ve done. She always led with that.
And I remember fighting her on that—I mean, not fighting fighting. But I remember disagreeing on that, saying, “No, no, no…” She would say, “You need to bring more of that into the lesson.”
This is going back—oh, goodness. This is going back—we’ve been married, we’re going to celebrate our 17th anniversary here real soon. So that’s going back 15 years probably?
She would say, “You really need to bring some of that in.” I’d say, “No, no, no. I am technique guy. Don’t bring your problems to me. Don’t be all weird in a lesson. Don’t get all emotional. I don’t want that. I’m a technique guy. I’m going to help you with your voice. You go take care of your life.”
Seriously, that’s totally all I was. I was so afraid of going into those places with singers and performers that I would much rather have my wife do it or I would much rather have them go get that someplace else, and then come back when they’ve got that together. Seriously, I was so afraid of going in that direction with people.
My wife said, “You really have to include that,” and I was just so resistant to that until a few years later. And then I really opened to that because I was kind of forced to open to that because I could see the success that she was having with the people that she had coming in and the baggage that they were bringing in, and she was in a very enlightened way—very enlightened/awake way—talking them off the ledge and bringing them back into a place where they could be open and receptive to learning and expand into a new life that she really helped them find.
I totally believe that. And when I saw that happening and saw her doing that, “Okay, this is really scary to me to go to these places with people.”
And I was going there with myself for years and years, but I just didn’t want to be involved in doing that with anybody else or helping anybody else with that. I wanted them to get that on the outside. “Just bring your voice into me please.”
But when I finally started opening to them, my whole life and my whole business shifted.
So now, of course, fast forward, what, 15 years now, now my real belief is to lead with the inner singer. I used to lead with technique. But my real belief now is if we don’t lead with the inner singer, if we don’t get into a place where we are receptive, we are in a state where we can learn, a state conducive to learning, and if we don’t have—
And again, I think mindset, it’s so overused now. The word is so overused. I don’t even like to use it. But for lack of a better word, right now, as I’m recording, if we don’t have the right mindset, the right approach, the right feeling, then really, anything that we do with regards to voice is going to be less than it could be had we not had the proper—and again, for lack of a better word—mindset.
So, we’ll just call it mindset. Maybe I’ll think of something else. But for right now, I think that serves us in what we’re talking about.
So, in other words, just the example of somebody coming into a lesson that’s been caught in traffic, and they’ve been caught in traffic for the last 15 minutes, they carry it with them through an hour of lesson. They’re 10 minutes late because of traffic and they never let it go.
And so, that’s not conducive to learning. That’s a colossal waste of money, a colossal waste of time.
That’s just a little example of something that we can all understand—the whole traffic thing, we’re late for a lesson. We come in and we can’t let go of it. “I’m so ticked off at that person” or whatever, something is going on, somebody said something to us, whatever.
So, if we don’t have tools to be able to get ourselves into a place where we are loving and compassion and forgiving, number one, of ourselves, and then open and available to expand into our voice, then whatever we do is not going to be as effective or as much fun.
So, all I have to say is I lead with the inner singer now. And I know see the inner singer (as I’ve said just a few minutes ago) as the umbrella under which what we have called the inner singer which is the mindset, the wiring, the programming and all that, and then the technique, and then the performance. The singing trifecta is all under the umbrella of the inner singer.
So, a couple of podcasts ago, I was questionning what direction this was going, and then it really just started unfolding as I’m getting questions from you all and kind of feeling into it and things are coming out of my mouth when I’m doing a podcast. I’m beginning to see and get much, much more clearer on that (after 38 episodes which is kind of fun). It’s fun to watch it grow. It’s fun to watch it expand.
So, let’s get into today’s episode. I guess we’re already into it. But what I planned on talking about today is what I see and what I’ve been thinking about as the stages or the levels—well, we’ll call them stages right now—of a song or performing a song—either learning a song or performing a song. And it could be performing it for yourself or singing it by yourself. It could be standing up and singing it at karaoke. It could be performing it on Broadway. It could be whatever.
The way it’s been coming to me lately—and it really started making sense to me because I did this performance a few weeks ago at the Christmas party. I thought, “Wow! I’ve done a lot of performing in my life, but I just haven’t done anything for 10 years really. I teach a performance class. I have all these tricks and all these…”—well, not tricks. I probably shouldn’t say tricks—“…all these techniques…”—I guess some of them are. I mean, whenever you sneak in the back door behind somebody’s wiring or programming, I guess you could call it a trick, right? So yeah, why not?
So, I have all these things that I do, all these techniques, what-have-you, that I teach in performance to get somebody really connected and really present with themselves, with the material, with the lyric. I wouldn’t go into it all now, but I do.
But I’m thinking back and recalling, “What did I do for this particular performance a couple of weeks ago?” And the answer would be, “I didn’t do any of that.”
I didn’t do the classic “Who am I singing to?” I didn’t do any of the things that I teach because I realized that the only intention that I had was to get through it and have fun. So I just wanted to have fun and get through the songs. I thought, “That’s enough for now.”
Now, my ego, in my mind, of course, I want to bring down the house. I want people to say, “Oh, my gosh! Where have you been? Why haven’t you been singing? I can’t believe you keep that voice under wraps.” That’s what my ego wants obviously. None of that happened, by the way, of course. But that’s what I want. Of course, that’s what I want.
Or I want to stand up and sing like Andre Bocelli with the big high notes, hold them forever and a day, and have people worshipping me at my feet. And that’s okay. Who doesn’t want that? That’s a part of me that still exist, that will probably all exist. And I think that any person that really, really wants to sing or perform has an aspect of that or we wouldn’t want to do it. And that’s kind of fun.
I mean, I don’t think that’s a part of us that we need to try and get rid of or feel bad about. Of course, I always used to try and get rid of that part and feel bad about it and thought, “Oh, I really can’t perform as long as that part of me feels that.” And of course, that’s just complete nonsense obviously, right?
That’s not the bigger part of me. That’s just a little part of me, a little part of me who always wanted to be the best-looking guy in the room. You walk in the room and everybody stops and looks.
Probably, some of you have seen my picture. I’m not that guy. I’m okay, but I’m not that guy. Of course, I always wanted to be that guy, the guy with the best physique, the best voice, the best this, the best that.
So anyway, all that is to say is for this particular show, I just wanted to get through it. That’s it! End of story. And I thought, “Wow! Well, that’s pretty interesting.” So that is a stage right now for me in this particular setting of “I just want to get through this and have fun.”
So, that can be looked at phase one. If I’m learning a song or we’re learning a song or you’re learning a song, and you don’t really know the song, or you do know the song, but you’ve never sung it in public before, you could say that, “Okay, I am in that phase.”
And this is not a negative thing. I did not look at this from a negative place, “Oh, I just need to get through this,” not from that place at all. No! It was just like, “No, I just want to get through this. I want to feel through this. I want to feel into it. I want to be onstage. I love being onstage. And I’m not asking anything of myself except to get through the song.” And that’s it. End of story. No big demands.
I don’t have to bring the house down. I don’t have to wow anybody. I don’t have to do anything magic. I just want to get through it. That’s for me. I just need to get through this, just feel my way through this, and get to the other side.
And so, I realized that that isn’t just a phase for beginners. That’s a phrase (or can be a phase) for all of us no matter what level depending on the song and how well we know it or if we’ve ever sung it in public before.
You could have a seasoned singer, a seasoned Broadway person who is doing a performance with a song that they’ve never done in public. They learn it, and let’s say they have limited amounts of time to learn it. They don’t have the luxury of doing what they usually do. So they get to the performance and they still feel that they are in this first stage of singing the song, which is kind of “getting familiar with it.” They’re getting familiar with it.
Well, I guess getting familiar with it is the first stage. I didn’t write any of these down. So as I’m thinking now off the top of my head, let’s say learning it, getting familiar with it, learning the song is the first stage. And that’s what I was doing when I was learning these songs to sing at the party. I sang them for my sister-in-law, my wife, my little boy. And I was getting to know it. I was getting familiar with it. I was getting to know it.
And then, when I sang it in front of the people, I knew this song, now I was going through it, just allowing myself to get through it in this new situation.
So, with the Broadway person we were talking about, they’ve gotten familiar. They’ve gone through the first stage of getting familiar with it, getting to know the song, getting to know it. And now they’ve got to do it.
Now, let’s say they didn’t have the normal amount of time that they would ordinarily take to learn a song, but they have to perform it anyway because that’s their contract. They’re contracted to do this gig.
Well now, all of a sudden, they’re showing up, it doesn’t feel to them like a Broadway show that they have done two years running where they are in a stage that we’ll talk about in a minute. But they are now in the same stage, even though they are way more advanced than I have and have maybe a lot more experience than I have performing. They’re still in the same stage that I was in which is the “I’m going to do everything I can do and all that I know. And I’ll let all my experience and talent shine through. But I just want to get through this thing because I didn’t get a chance to put in the time that I usually put in.
So I’m not in, let’s say, the third stage which we’ll talk about just right now—I’ll bring it in right now—which is the resting in and expanding into stage.
“I’m not in that right now. I’m not in that with a show I’m doing a Broadway.” This is obviously not me talking. This is the Broadway person talking. But they could be thinking, “I’m into that with a show that I’ve been doing for six months on Broadway. I’m on the resting and expansion stage because I can rest in this role and expand more into it every night. I find something new every night because there’s a new me, there’s a new audience. There’s a new everything. It’s all new and fresh. And that’s how I can stand to do this show after show after show.” Again, that’s them talking.
But now with this other situation, they’re thinking, “But I’m not there yet. I just want to get through this thing. I know the lyrics. I know the melody. I’m kind of rehearsed. So I’m just going to allow as much of me to come through as I possibly can.” But my main thing is “Let’s just get through this, papi.”
So, it came to me that no matter what level somebody is, there are these stages of singing and performing. There’s the “getting to know you/getting familiar” with the piece, with the show. There is the “getting through it” stage.
Again, not negative. If you’re learning a show and you’re doing a show, and you get familiar with it, you go through the first stage, and now you’re going to have your first run-through, that’s a “getting through it” stage. Everybody knows what we’re trying to do here. We’re just trying to get through the show. We’re all just trying to get through the show. Let’s get this thing up and see what this feels like. It’s a normal stage, right?
But then as you know it, you know it, you know it, the show has been running for a while, now you’re in the kind of “resting in it and expanding into more it” stage.
And so throughout our careers and throughout our learning—whether we’re professionals or amateurs, it doesn’t matter—throughout our experience of learning and performing songs, we go back and forth no matter how much experience we have with all of these stages.
Every time we pick up a new song, we’re in the “getting familiar with it/getting to know it” stage. And then, let’s say you have to sing it somewhere. Well, you’re probably not in the resting and expansion stage yet. You’re kind of, “Let’s sing. Let’s put it in front of somebody. Let’s do this where the stakes are a little higher. Let’s get through this now in front of an audience.”
And then, it eventually becomes our go-to song for an audition or a performance. And it’s like, “Okay. We’re now in the resting and expansion stage. Now I can really rest in this. I know it like the back of my hand. It’s in my voice. It’s in my body. I own it and I can just rest and expand into more and more and more of it.”
I remember years ago, I went to see an opera singer that had sung with my mom years and years ago. He was a great tenor. But in France, in Europe, he actually sang as a baritone. So he’s just a great singer. This guy could do anything.
I went and saw him in a small place. He was performing. I went up and met him and said, “Yeah, you used to sing with my mom.” So we had a nice, little conversation. He said, “I’m singing the Largo tonight from the Barber of Seville.” I said, “Ah, cool, cool! I love that.” He goes, “Yeah, I never sang it before. I’ve never sung this in public before.” And he was a phenomenal singer. He was on the original Candide album. He sang at the Met. He sang in Europe, all over the place, the Scala. And here’s this guy—
And I’m not saying he was really, really nervous, but he was very aware of the fact that even with all his experience singing in Europe and singing at the Met and singing on Broadway, it was so interesting, he made a real point of saying to me, “Yeah, I’ve never performed this song before in front of anybody.” You can tell it was a big thing for him.
So, if I had a chance to talk to him back then and I knew what I know now which would have been impossible because that was—I don’t even know how long ago. But he was in the “getting through it” stage. And you could tell that when he was finished, there was a real excitement and enthusiasm and a little bit of a relief. It’s like, “Woo-hoo! I did it! Okay… I’ll do that a few more times,” he was probably thinking, “And then I can really rest in that adn trust it, trust that I can do that in front of people, not just in a rehearsal hall.”
So, no matter where we are in our career, I think if we’re consistent with allowing ourselves to really recognize “What stage am I in right now with this piece?” and if we honor this stage and we honor where we are and we don’t try to be where we’re not, we’re really much more apt to have a really, really fun time doing that, singing and performing.
I mean, if I had tried to be someplace I wasn’t at the Christmas party, even though there were two what people would call really, really easy songs, but if I tried to be somewhere where I wasn’t with my mentality, if what we call the “inner singer,” if my wiring and my programming, if I was giving in to that and I wasn’t realizing and being honest with myself of saying, “What do you really want from this evening? What do you really want to do?”—
It’s like, “I just really want to get through this song. I want to get through these songs. I want to have fun. I want to come out the other end because I really miss singing, I really miss performing. I just want to do these two songs.”
“I don’t care if anybody like sthem. I don’t care if anybody comes up and tells me how wonderful I am. I just want to get through these two songs. This is all for me. I don’t have any agenda other than that. I’m not going to do any of my performance stuff that I teach. No, I’m going to get up, I’m playing my guitar and I’m singing, and that is it!”
And it was fun! It was really, really fun. But if I tried to be in the resting and expansion stage when I barely knew the lyrics, it would have been disastrous and totally un-fun because I would’ve set such unrealistic expectations that I would never have lived up to them in my mind, in myself.
So, look at the failure and disappointment I would’ve set myself up for. But by realizing what stage I was in and saying, “I just want to get through this,” that was the gold medal. I got through it. I was happy as a clam. I was thrilled. I was thinking of all the great things, how much I miss performing, how much I miss singing, and how much fun that was. I was really, really excited about doing it.
Whereas if I had set the bar too high and tried to be in the rest and expansion stage, I just would’ve been disappointed. “Oh, I practiced that part and I forgot to do it,” which happened, “I forgot that lyric,” which happened, “I forgot that I was going to do that,” which happened, “That note was a little flat,” which happened, I really would’ve set myself up for a very unfortunate disappointment.
So, I hope that this serves you. I hope that this makes sense. I’m going to give this obviously much, much more thought. This is something that, actually, after this many years, just came to me. But it really makes sense to me. I hope it makes sense to you. I hope it helps in some way.
I noticed we are starting to get a little bit long in these podcasts. We’re down up to 26 minutes here. So I’m going to sign off and say goodbye for now. Thank you so much for listening. I couldn’t appreciate it any more than I do. I just love the fact that we are now heard in 67 countries and climbing.
If you’re finding these valuable, if you can rush on over to iTunes whenever you get a second and rate the podcast and give it a nice review, it’ll be awesome. That’s how people find it. It’s always find to go to iTunes and say, “Oh, I got another review. Oh, I got another rating.” That’s always fun. I can’t deny that.
Anyway, my best to you. I will talk to you all next week. Bye bye.