How Embracing Feedback Will Improve Your Singing Skills – A Guide for Singers and Choirs
Singing Critique Can Feel Personal At Times. Embrace it and Grow As A Singer.
Posted By Mary Williams – Choir Leader, Singer & Blog Writer
Whether you love to sing solo or as part of a choir, singing is an incredibly personal and intimate experience. Standing in the spotlight or blending harmoniously with other singers – you use your singing skills and voice to share deep emotions and stories through music and song.
Yet, no performance, rehearsal or singing competition can be perfect. Regardless of the applause or even if you are super lucky enough to get a standing ovation – there’s always room for growth. And that’s where feedback comes in.
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Don’t Take It Personally. Every Note You Sing Is an Opportunity
It’s natural to associate your voice with your identity, especially when you’ve invested hours in practice. Understandably, what feels like a crushing critique of yourself and your singing skills can sting.
I feel hurt and confused initially, occasionally when my work is reviewed in what I perceive to be a negative way. Am I good enough? Am I wasting my time? They don’t like me. The times I have felt like quitting are numerous.
However, shifting your mindset away from this damaging view is crucial, as I have discovered.
Imagine feedback as a spotlight; it illuminates what’s already there. Either bask in the light or adjust the lens to improve your artistry further. It’s about rising above the noise and building upon what you have to make you a better singer and choir.
Pro Tip: Treat your voice as a craft separate from your self-worth. Doing so makes feedback a constructive tool rather than an emotional trigger.
Seek Feedback, Not Just Applause
Applause can be a quick ego boost, but it rarely offers the detailed insights needed for further improvement.
After each performance or rehearsal, reach out to trusted colleagues, coaches, or even friends with a good music ear.
Solicit their thoughts and ask specific questions.
What did they think of your pitch control? How was your stage presence? By pinpointing aspects, you can obtain actionable feedback.
Listen to the good aspects as well as the parts they suggest that can be improved.
Pro Tip: Create a feedback journal. After every session, jot down the remarks you’ve gathered and your own observations. Over time, you’ll see patterns, helping you identify strengths and areas for improvement.
Your Singing Voice, Not Your Identity
The initial reaction to criticism is often defensive, especially when you’re passionate about your craft. It’s an almost visceral reaction to protect what you love, to shield it from naysayers.
I get it. Most of us passionate singers feel it.
But what if those critics could be your greatest teachers?
Pro Tip: Right after receiving feedback, give yourself permission to feel, and your feelings matter. Give yourself a day or two. Then, set those feelings aside and approach the critique analytically. Detach yourself from your art just enough to see it through the eyes of others. This dual perspective can offer invaluable insights.
Navigate Through the Feedback Maze
Not all feedback is created equal; you need to sort out the “meh” from the “wow”. Learning to filter and categorise the singing feedback you receive is crucial for effective implementation.
Constructive vs. Vague
Detailed, constructive feedback can pinpoint exact musical elements that require attention, while vague comments about your singing, like “It was okay,” offer little to work with.
Technical vs. Subjective
Feedback on your vocal technique should be prioritised. However, people may offer their personal perspectives, which may be subjective and biased based on their own experiences and expectations. I enjoy listening to these views, which can provide a fresh insight into what you are doing.
Specific vs. General
General praise about your singing can be affirming, but seek critiques offering specific details. These are your roadmaps to growth.
Pro Tip: During choir practices or solo rehearsals, record yourself. Playback can offer a second round of self-feedback, helping you identify issues you might not have noticed.
Organise Your Feedback
This is where you roll up your sleeves. Organise your feedback into a grid with axes labelled ‘Important’ and ‘Unimportant,’ ‘Agree’ and ‘Disagree.’
Place each piece of advice into one of these quadrants.
This visual guide makes it easy to determine which feedback elements deserve immediate attention and which can be set aside for later review.
The comments in the “important + Agree” Box. That’s where you start to make the changes.
Pro Tip: Share your organised feedback with your vocal coach, fellow singer or choir director. A second opinion on how to prioritise input can be beneficial.
Time to Fine-Tune Your Singing Performance
With your priorities in order, start fine-tuning your singing skills. This is where you see results.
Break it down into actionable tasks and tackle them systematically. If the feedback points towards pitch issues in the higher register, devote extra practice time to that range, for example.
If multiple people commented on your choir’s lack of emotional connection, perhaps it’s time for some group exercises focusing on emotional delivery and facial expressions.
Pro Tip: Post-fine-tuning, gather a smaller group for a feedback loop. Perform the revised sections and ask if your adjustments have effectively addressed the previous critiques.
Make It a Habit
Regular feedback loops should become as habitual as your vocal warm-ups. Make a calendar event for a monthly or bi-weekly ‘Feedback Session.’ Use this time to revisit your feedback journal about your singing skills and assess your progress.
Pro Tip: Use these regular sessions also to celebrate your improvements. Acknowledging progress can be incredibly motivating.
Turn Feedback into Your Vocal Superpower
You might not be able to control every voice that offers an opinion on your performance, but you can control how you respond. Remember, it’s only singing and a tiny part of who you are.
Make feedback your secret weapon, a treasure map that leads you towards growth, one note at a time.
Feedback & Practice Will Improve Your Singing
Your voice is a constantly evolving instrument. It’s resilient but needs proper care, training, feedback, and vocal coaching. Even when it feels uncomfortable at times. And oh my, it’s challenging to do and hear – but it’s worth it.
So the next time you feel discomfort at receiving feedback on your singing skills or choir, remember: this is your ticket to a better, more robust, more captivating vocal performance in the future.
Embrace it wholeheartedly.
Thank you for reading the singing blog post. I hope you find it useful.
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