Episode 40 – The Singing Trifecta
Updated: Sep 13
In this episode I play with the idea of the Singing Trifecta.
That is the Inner Game, Authentic Performance and Singing Technique.
Guess which one I put first.
Can you guess which one I put last?
You may be surprised. (-:
All 3 of these are very important, however, one is the cement that holds the others together.
One without the other 2 is not enough. When you have all 3, you have “magic”.
The synergy of the 3 is compelling for an audience and a great joy for the singer.
You deserve all 3!
Listen and enjoy!
The Inner Singer Podcast
Episode 40 – Transcripts
The Singing Trifecta
Well, hi there, everybody. Welcome to The Inner Singer Podcast. Mike Goodrich here. Thanks so much for tuning in.
You know, I’m working on a new website for The Inner Singer. Of course, I don’t know when you’re listening to this. But if you’re listening to it anywhere near when I record it—which is January 2016—I am working on a new website.
And in working on the website and trying to explain the inner singer, I’ve been really thinking a lot lately about a certain concept that I’m including in the website that I wanted to talk to you about today. And as we move forward with The Inner Singer—40 episodes, I can’t believe it, that’s almost a year—I’m learning more and more and more about what the inner singer actually is, what it encompasses, what it means to me and how I believe it can serve you and other people that come in contact with it.
And it is not, at this point—I’m learning more and more—just about inside in terms of mindset, beliefs, conditioning, wiring and programming. It’s not just about that. It is about that absolutely—and I’m going to get more into that in a second—but it does incorporate and encompass and integrate and include technique and performance obviously because really can’t be a singer if you don’t sing, and you can’t be a singer if you don’t perform.
And performing sometimes is singing at karaoke, singing at a wedding, singing with friends, singing at an open mic, singing just for yourself. The stakes never have to be high as far as a performance goes. We’ve talked about that. We’ll also talk about it a little bit more. But let’s get into a little bit of what I’m working on and what I’ve been pondering and thinking about quite a bit lately. And that is what I am beginning to call the singing trifecta.
And what that is is the three. It’s the inner game (the inner work, the inner singer), but that is including the technique and including the performance, the three things.
And I lump them all into the inner singer because I really believe that—well, I, I clearly certainly lead with the inner singer. If I look at all those three, it’s been my experience that the inner singer—and I’m going out on a limb here—the inner game, the inner singer, all that we worked on and discussed in this podcast, the wiring, the programming, the belief systems, all of that—is the most important.
And this is after about 25 to 30 years of experience teaching, also performing and doing all that I have done, teaching technique, teaching performance and teaching the inner game, the inner singer.
So, that’s been what I have observed in my experience. And many of those, if not most of those—I think I’d have to say most of those that I’ve worked with over the years, whether they’re a professional or amateur, famous, celebrity or completely unheard of, it doesn’t matter, it affects everybody.
Let’s talk just for a second about that and the difference between the three, how they all integrate and why I’m saying that I really believe that the inner singer, the inner game is what we need to lead with, is the most important because without that, we are really going to not be reaching the potential that we could reach, having the joy of singing and performing that we could have. It’s just going to be a little more empty.
So, let me give you an example. Let’s think of some of our singers, our favorite singers, people that we maybe think are wonderful and have it all and what-have-you. Now, when I talk about these singers, I am not necessarily talking about great vocal technique. Although when I talk about some of the singers—some of them, I mentioned if I happened to mention more than one. I don’t know who I’m going to mention at this point, except for one—some of them may have phenomenal technique, some of them may not have what we call storybook phenomenal technique. But that’s not what I’m concerned with.
And in open forum, a public forum like a podcast or when I speak, I generally don’t feel comfortable saying anything negative about somebody that’s out in the public eye. Number one, I think if they’re out in the public eye and they have a career, basically, I say, “Good for you for doing that!” I mean, they’re out there and they’re doing it. So, I don’t feel comfortable in a public setting criticizing anybody’s technique.
Now, in a private setting, in a private lesson, in a personal email of somebody that says, “Hey, this person, so-and-so, on this particular passage, is that what you’d call technically correct?” then I’m not unhappy to go into it—but not in a public setting.
So, everybody that I mention, just know, I may be mentioning people that even in my mind do not have the best technique in the world from a technical standpoint, but they deserve to be mentioned because of what they’ve accomplished in other areas.
And that’s one of the reasons that I say the inner singer, the inner game of all this, to me, is more important. It’s the most important, and we should lead with that.
So anyway, let’s just take for example one gal that—although we like her music or not—we probably can all acknowledge heck of a singer. And that’s Beyonce. So, let’s just take Beyonce for a second.
Look at all that she’s been able to do—amazing voice, terrific performer, dancer. But look at where she has landed in life with this performing. She sung for the president at the inauguration. She sung the Academy Awards when she was in Dream Girls and she’s saying Listen. I bet you haven’t seen that. That was an unbelievable performance. That’s really worth going on YouTube and finding whenever that was, whenever she sang Listen at the Academy Awards and she just tore it up.
So, we can all admit and basically acknowledge that she has sung on this planet places and situations where the stakes are about as high as they get. Singing at the Academy Awards, singing at the Presidential Inauguration, and singing for stadiums full of sold-out audiences, the stakes don’t get a whole lot higher than that. And yet, she just keeps going.
She keeps singing great. She succeeds. She doesn’t have any big problems with her voice. She just keeps knocking it out of the park. And it doesn’t seem like a huge, big deal.
Now, I don’t know her. I don’t know her personal life. I don’t know anything about her other than—let’s just talk about her singing and performing and the fact that on some level, she has to have a good amount of confidence and joy in singing. And her inner game must be, at this point, pretty solid.
Now, nobody is perfect. Nobody goes through life without problems or things that bug them or their little Achilles’ heels that get to them. We all have that. But I think we have to admit, when you’re singing and performing at that level continuously and maintaining longevity, she probably has some inner game that’s supporting her.
Now, let’s just say in a parallel universe for the fun of it, you have a Beyonce who has the same talent, the same ability to sing, the same voice, the same look, the same performance ability, the same everything, but let’s just say that that particular Beyonce had maybe a different upbringing that instilled in her a different programming, a different wiring, a different belief system.
She’s not very confident. She doesn’t have a very good self-image. Let’s say in this parallel universe, she’s a little bit nervous. She feels a little less than. She feels slightly non-deserving. Being where she is makes her nervous. She doesn’t feel like she deserves it.
Now, let’s put her in those settings and see how she does. Do you think she would do as well? Do you think she would have as much fun, as much joy, as much success? Do you think she would be able to maintain that level? Do you think that she would maintain the longevity?
Or do you think she would drive herself absolutely crazy and all these things that she seems to do so easily would just make her so nervous and drive her crazy that would take all the fun out of it and she’d get out of the business?
Well, of course, there’s no way to know. And I don’t know if it would drive her out of the business. Although I have seen unbelievable talents sabotaged by their inner game, sabotaged by their inner singer, a non-supportive inner singer, so they have short-lived careers when they are world-class and they should’ve been on top forever.
So, let’s get back to Beyonce in her parallel universe. So, we take away her current inner singer, and we give her a non-supportive inner singer. Obviously, you know where I’m going with this. So, the importance, I believe, of having this inner singer aligned, having the inner game going well for you, so that it’s aligned with everything and integrated with your technique and integrated with your performance ability, it is the most important thing.
Let’s move away from Beyonce. Anybody like that, whether you like them or not, if they’re operating at that level, they have to have a relatively supportive inner singer. If you talk somebody like Celine Dion, if you talk about somebody like Andre Bocelli or some of the great opera singers or some of the amazing Broadway singers, to be able to maintain longevity, maintain their voice, maintain their performance ability, almost most importantly, maintain their joy, their fun and their spontaneity in life with what they do, a supportive inner singer is really a must.
So, that is why, in the singing trifecta, I lead with the inner singer.
What do I go second with? Well, that was a very thoughtful discussion I had with myself. I sat with it for quite a while. And as a vocal technique teacher, it feels very strange to say this because I’ve told you on the podcast, anybody who knows me know this. I was a technique guys for years. I still am, by the way. Technique is fun. It’s part of what I do, a major part of what I do. It was the only thing that I did for years and years.
So, I understand its importance. I can do it with people. It’s easy for me. But I’m afraid right now in this particular discussion, it has to go last on our list. I’m actually putting performance second, authentic performance. That’s what I call it, authentic performance.
Even though we have very successful shows out there like The Voice, you and I definitely know it’s not just about the voice. If you get somebody on The Voice who has a voice and wows everybody—everybody turns around and wows them with their ability—if when they turn around, they don’t feel an energy, they don’t feel a presence, if somebody, as my dad used to say, is “Dickie the Stick” onstage—
As I sidestep a little sidebar back in the days of the opera singers—you can’t do this anymore. But back in the days, the old opera singers, none of them could act a lick. They were amazing singers. That’s when it was about the voice, guys. That’s when it was about the voice. That’s the era that you had to live in. That’s when it was about the voice. They used to just walk down at the foot of the stage and sing the aria to the audience and then go back to their incredibly bad acting.
You cannot do that anymore. That does not work. Now, you have to have all three.
Now, back then, they had two—phenomenal technique and a very supportive inner singer because they were confident as all get out. They walk down to the foot of the stage like a dog with a bone and sing the heck out of an aria, and then go back to their ridiculous acting. It won’t work anymore. You need all three.
But that’s why I say that, right now, the performance is second to the inner singer, the inner game. If you watch a show, for example, like we talked about, like The Voice, if they turn around and they don’t feel something—
And I don’t mean being “performed at” because that’s nonsense. I used to judge some—oh, I could really anger some people here. I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings, but I will say this anyway.
I used to judge some pageants when I first started my career about 25 years ago. When you do that, these little kids who are dear and wonderful, but unfortunately, get very bad training from some adults who should know better, what the kids do, they don’t feel anything, they just perform at you.
We all know that’s just not what it’s about. Presentationa performing, performing at somebody, telegraphing every word, if you say something to this guy, you point to this guy—I mean, come on, really? That’s not performance.
Performance is a deep integrated feeling and expression of what’s going on with you in relationship to the song. It’s a way for you to express deeply and more deeply who you are and what’s going on through the lyrics of the song.
So, if somebody on The Voice has an amazing voice and is not able to do that, they’re not going to win. They’re not going to go forward. And if they happen to win out of some sense of whatever, they’re not going to have a career or much of one—or certainly not the career that they could have. So, point well made.
Anyway, you guys can always disagree with me. You can email me and you can say, “Well, I think you’re wrong about that.” That’s totally cool. We can have a discussion.
All of these should be a discussion. It shouldn’t be a one-sided thing with me just talking at you. I don’t want to be talking at you. You can certainly join in the discussion and let me know what you think. I’ll even say it on the podcast. If a bunch of people call me and email and say, “I think you’re wrong about that,” I’m happy to say it. It doesn’t make a difference t me. It’s totally cool.
Now, let’s move on to what I say is third—at least this is what I say. This is me. It’s my show, it’s my website, I get to say what I want.
So, what I say is third—which is very odd for me, even harder to say it—is technique. Here’s why.
Now, this is not a criticism of anybody by any means because I love this guy. This guy was unbelievable, a huge influence in my life when I was a little kid and growing up. I still love their music. My little boy loves their music. I teach him guitar and I teach him the songs of The Beatles. So let’s talk about John Lennon for a second.
His recording of maybe Twist & Shout, I know he recorded that when he was under the weather, and a lot of his great, great, great stuff.
Now, I think without putting down the legacy of John Lennon, we can probably easily say without it being a bad thing to say that from a technical standpoint—and that’s why I’m saying this. I said I don’t badmouth anybody’s technique, but I’m not badmouthing Lennon. I love Lennon. He’s amazing and he sang great.
But from a strictly technical standpoint, you wouldn’t say Lennon has the technique of Bocelli, Andre Bocelli. You wouldn’t say that Lennon has the technique—gosh, I can’t even think of anybody right now—of any of the great male pop singers that can sing real high and real easy. He doesn’t have that kind of a technique. It’s a different type of a voice. It’s a different kind of a style that we love. I would love to be able to do that stuff. That’s great. That’s not me. That’s not who I am.
But when we’re talking vocal technique, in terms of teaching raw vocal technique—leaving out everything, this is technique, this is building your instrument, building your range, building in the purity, refining everything, the vibrato, just going the whole way with it—Lennon is not the poster boy for vocal technique.
But look at the career, look at the people that love him, look at the people that for years of coming to my studio saying, “I just want to be able to do what Lennon did,” I mean, really, to be able to get up there in front of those thousands of people, write those amazing songs, and do what he did for his performance—which isn’t dancing around or jumping around the stage, but for what he was—technique was really the last thing on his list.
So, my point in all of these with the singing trifecta is to include all three in the inner singer, but leading with the inner singer, so that when I do work with anybody on the inner singer and then we step into the performance, it is through the lens of the inner singer. It’s through the integration of the inner singer.
When I work technique with somebody, it’s through the lens of the inner singer. It’s through the integration of the inner singer.
And when all of these are together—let’s say the inner game, let’s say the inner singer is supportive in an individual, their technique is solid, their performance ability is right there, they know how to connect with themselves and they know how to connect with the lyric, they’re very specific, and they can be transparent and authentic, and they can be vulnerable, and they can be private and public—when you have the inner singer, when you have the performance ability and the technique aligned, those synergetically infuse themselves, integrate in and out in this amazing dance that is hugely compelling.
Somebody has that, they’re unstoppable. When you have that, you are unstoppable. And that’s why I say technique is the last on the list.
The other thing, by the way, having sat on both sides of an audition table—having auditioned for shows and having being the one or one of the some on an audition committee that were auditioning singers for shows and what-have-you—very often, you’ll have somebody walk in and you can feel they’ve got the confidence, they’ve got the presence, they’ve got the performance ability. But they don’t quite have some of the note they need for the role.
I can’t tell you how often in almost any setting, almost any setting, where the audition people will have a little meeting, and they’ll say, “Well, he/she has the confidence. They act like a star”—and I don’t mean in a bad way—“They really feel it. Their performance is unbelievable. I want to work with them. They don’t have the notes. We need to get them a vocal coach, so they can get the notes.”
This is really, really important for you guys to know. They always put technique last. Well, I shouldn’t make a blanket statement like always. But it’s been my experience that a whole lot of times, they put technique last and they say, “They’ve got this, and they’ve got that. They’ve got the inner game”—they don’t say the inner game, but that’s what they’re thinking—“They’ve got the inner game, and they’ve got the performance ability. We could teach them the voice. We could teach them how to get the notes.”
But I have never in my career in 30 years ever heard anybody say, “Well, they’ve got the voice, we can teach them how to act” or, “Wow! They’ve got the voice and they’re a performer, but we can get him to be more confident onstage.” No, those are things that you have to walk in with generally.
Now, I’m not saying that all the time, that would always happen. But I’m saying it’s been my experience that they’ll teach you the voice, they’ll help you get the high notes, but they’re not going to teach you how to act, and they’re not going to teach you how to feel, they’re not going to teach you how to be confident and teach you how to have a supportive inner game.
At that level, they don’t have that kind of time. They honestly know, sometimes, the notes are an easier get. You can get the notes easier than you can get that other stuff.
And I know that too. That’s why I lead with the inner singer.
So, anyway, the singing trifecta is an idea you should play around within your mind. And let’s get all three of these. That, to me, is the triple threat. It’s not the singing, dancing and acting. It’s the inner game, it’s the inner singer, it’s the ability to perform, and it is the singing technique. That’s the triple threat. That’s the singing trifecta.
Anyway, I know I’ve gone a little long—a lot long actually. I was afraid this might be a short podcast. You know me, it’s hard for me to do a short podcast.
Anyway, thank you so much for listening, you guys. I look forward to seeing you next week. Have a fabulous week. If you enjoyed the show, give me a shoutout, email. I’ve never said shoutout in my life. Do you know that? I can’t believe that actually came out of my mouth.
But anyway, send me an email. Let me know you’re enjoying it. Send any questions, any topics you’d like covered. Please hustle on over to iTunes and give us a great rating if you would and maybe a nice review if you’re enjoying it. If you’re not enjoying it, please don’t.
Anyway, I’ll see you all next week. Bye bye.