When I played live music as a singer-songwriter, I did it without a band. It was me and my acoustic guitar, which meant every mistake or off key vocal was exposed for the audience to see and hear.
The biggest problem I had to overcome was anxiety. My fear of looking stupid in front of people pushed me to overexert my vocal chords, and by the fifth song I was hoarse. Typically, my gigs were short.
The answer lay in breathing. When I was anxious my vocal chords tightened, my breathing apparatus faltered, and I unconsciously reversed a vital rhythm. I learned that rather than focus on playing the song (which I’d rehearsed and knew blindfolded), I needed to focus on my breath.
When was the last time you thought about breathing properly? Being mindful of your breath is an indispensable, and underdeveloped, human ability. The reason is breathing comes so naturally, we’re mindless to it.
To access our potential, we have to think like good singers. Here’s a quick exercise: - Wherever you are right now, tune into your breathing. If you’re sucking in your tummy and sticking out your chest on the in-breath, you’re doing it wrong. By reversing this order you’ll start working with your diaphragms natural movement. Next, picture a loop moving up your back, round the skull, down the front, and behind the pubic bone. Now, send your in-breath up this loop and your out-breath down.
This is mindful breathing, and your success depends on it.