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Read Barbara Ann Grant’s latest concert review ‘A Revelatory Feast of Opera’. Reviewed in the Nelson Mail 16 May 2016.

May 22nd, 2016

Listen to Barbara Ann Grant’s interview with Nelson radio Fresh FM. You can check out the new brand profile here

March 1st, 2014

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    Top 5 Tips to Improve Your Singing and Life! No. 2 – Embrace your mistakes!

    In the most watched TED talk to date, Sir Ken Robinson makes an eloquent case for a re-think of how we encourage creativity. He argues that we have demonised mistakes thereby stifling the messy, inherently failure strewn creative process. I challenge you to apply the same thinking to your singing practice. My analogy is that on the road to vocal excellence we must, ‘keep jumping the fences’ just as an equestrian must take a few inevitable tumbles on the way to mastery.

    Often in singing practice we baulk at the fence – as soon as we note that we’re not, ‘doing it right’ we stop singing. This limits us as singers and human beings because:

    • We stop as soon as it’s ‘wrong’ thereby reinforcing incorrect neuro-muscular patterns.
    • We mentally reinforce that we’re, ‘not doing it right’ – which is only a short hike from, ‘I can’t do it’.
    • We stigmatise our efforts to grow and change by arresting the transformation process and labeling it, ‘wrong’, ‘bad’ and ‘failure’.

    In essence, we say no to creative transformation because we’re too afraid to fail.

    I’ve seen this syndrome so many times in my teaching studio and to be honest found it the thing that really makes me dig deepest as a facilitator of positive transformation. It always seems to me that it’s the most talented students who continually stop themselves on the brink of creative break-through. In fact, there’s almost an equation there that goes,  ‘the fear of failure is directly proportional to the level of talent’.


    The cure, and my top tip No. 2 to improve your singing is embrace your mistakes! This means sing through your vocal exploration process. For example, if you’re working on increasing frontal resonance then don’t keep stopping because it’s wrong, keep going and asking:

    • why is it wrong?
    • what do I feel?
    • what am I doing?
    • how can I change this? and (most of all)

    All the while you should be exploring how you’re breathing, how your body is aligned, using your hands to explore where you feel your resonance, working with a mirror to monitor your facial expressions, position of the jaw, elevation of the cheeks. This is how the door to improvement opens, because we keep knocking on it! Before you know it, the self-monitoring will mean that you begin to sing differently, experience new sensations, find a new way through you would never have known was there if you hadn’t stuck with the journey. And remember, if you want to make this work it’s important to be asking yourself, ‘how can I do this better?’. In fact, it’s the key.  Just singing, without creative inquiry will get you equally nowhere as stopping every time it’s not right. The trick is to be an active participant in your own change process.

    Change your attitude to your mistakes and you’re no longer the victim of your failures, but the change agent of your own success. Stop seeing what you can’t do vocally as your limitation but instead your creative edge and I guarantee you’ll keep pushing back those limits every-day. As with singing, as with life, change your mind, embrace your mistakes and change your life!

    See more Top 5 Tips to Improve Your Singing! No. 1 – Get present!