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What Is The Biggest Singing Mistake?

Mar 10, 2008
I have judged many singing competitions and is also a regular patron of live music clubs and have observed singers making the same mistakes again and again. Some of those mistakes were so blatantly obvious and can be easily avoided or corrected such as singing out of tune.

Although singing out of tune is a certainly an awful singing mistake, it isn't the biggest singing mistake. Did I surprised you, if I did, brace yourself for more to come.

There are so many common and often repeated mistakes singers make and why they do not correct them is indeed puzzling.

Let us look at another common mistake which is simply not smiling at the audience. It is amazing that many singers, especially those in singing contests who take the stage and either frown or deadpan their way through an entire song.

By doing this, the performance and the bonding with the audience is painfully compromised. Furthermore, the voice quality is affected because the do not have the 'inner-smile' tonal quality which can be very pleasant to the ear.

Many times, I would watch a singer go on stage, grab the microphone, look up at the audience and flash a big fat smile. Then as the song begin, that smile would just disappear into thin air, even for a fast number.

As a member of the audience, I felt like I had been ripped off when they took back that bright warm smile. It is like the big smiling friendly salesman after selling you a product don't even bother to look at you thereafter. How does that feel?

Yet again, this is not biggest mistake because the worse is yet to come.

Then there is another mistake which is about as common as the no smiling mistake is the 'I'm nervous' expression imprinted on singers' faces.

How do I know that they are nervous? Well, it is simply that these singers have no eye contact with the audience. Many of them even belt out the entire song with their eyes closed. This is not only downright rude, it also tells the audience that the singer has no confidence in facing the audience and is awfully nervous.

It gets even whackier when you see the singers in churches looking at the ceiling as if they are singing to God so that they can avoid eye contact with the congregation.

Although I comprehend that when singing about God, you may look up as and when the lyric is appropriate to show some form of expression, however staring at the ceiling for the duration entire song is ridiculous.

Then there is another bunch of singers who understand the concept of eye contact, but they did it by darting their eyes in every other direction. This terrible body language made them look like a terrified caged animal.

Not establishing good eye contact with the audience is still not the biggest singing mistake though.

This next singer mistake can be absolutely hilarious. This type of singers will reach out for the microphone, lock their feet to the stage and do not move at all for the entire duration of the song as if they are riveted to the stage.

These singers are probably scared of tripping, slipping or to avoid people commenting that their moves sucks. However, singing this way makes the audience very uptight and tensed.

Hey, the audiences may not know if you missed a note but they can instinctively know if you are a bundle of nerves. They see a nervous singer and they instinctively feel nervous for that singer.

The motionless singer is a sure sign of being nervous. The audience does not require you to dance like Britney Spears, but they do know that when they see someone standing rigidly, that the person is definitely squirming uncomfortably inside.

Is being riveted on stage the biggest singing mistake? Nope!

The next singing mistake is really serious but very common. It really beats me why so many singers would often sing songs that included notes out of their vocal range.

Singing out of your vocal range will produce awful tones that make the audience cringe! These singers will get to that high note and just fizzle out into an airy falsetto or worse, force their way through by yelling, often causing them to sing flat and risking injuries to their vocal cords.

Is singing out of one's vocal range the biggest singing mistake? The answer is still a no.

So what is the biggest singer's mistake? The mother of all singing mistakes is ATTITUDE!

It is the thinking that the audience is there for your purposes! Self centeredness is the biggest mistake a singer can make. The audience will know whether you are focused on their enjoyment or for your own selfish egoistic ends.

If you think back through all those singing mistakes mentioned earlier, you can see that most of them actually stem from this one big mistake.

For example, not making eye contact comes from the desire to protect you. The singer is not opening up to the audience.

Think about when you meet someone who simply won't look you in the eye. You instinctively distrust that person isn't it?

So a good singer must think like the audience so that the singer can please the audience with his/her performance. Then, make a point to train yourself and force yourself to make eye contact while performing. When you have the confidence to make eye contact with the audience now and then, you will have the confidence to maintain a warm smile with your audience.

If you are too self-conscious, you won't be able to do this. Don't scare yourself with inner self talk like will the audience like my performance, but instead ask questions like will I love the audience.

Standing rigidly during your singing performance also comes from nervousness. Again, it is just self-consciousness.

The biggest mistake is the inner self talk in your head on the wrong questions such as "What is in it for me?" "Will I get my need for attention met?" "Will the audience meet my need for their approval?"

If you do not replace those selfish attitudes with a selfless aim to please and serve your audience, they will withhold what you want from them, such as their appreciation to your song delivery.

So the main lesson here is to think of your audience. If you can think of how to please them, they will reward you by pleasing you. Just by correcting your attitude, you will be able to avoid many terrible common singing mistakes.
About the Author
Chris Chew is the webmaster of a learning music website at How To Play Piano Fast and Do You Have Perfect Pitch?
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