I’ve had a new lesson plan of late with my students: forget everything I’ve told you. I’m imagining you reading this, having the same bewildered look upon your face as they do when I tell them this. But my point is, I spend a whole lot of time giving my students a whole lot of things to think about. The voice is a completely abstract instrument in that I can’t show you what I mean for you to do like I could on a piano, or a guitar. As much as I sometimes wish I could, I can’t open up my larynx and show you exactly what my vocal cords are doing, or how I’m getting them to do it. So, there’s a lot of metaphors, concepts, visualizations to help this student get into their head voice, or to get this student to understand the sensations of flipping between their head and chest, or where to place it to feel it where the stretch of the cord should be. But you know what? After awhile, you have to just go for it, see what comes out, and mine that for information. Try it a number of different ways, fully singing out, for fun, like you did before you came into this studio and had your head filled with a bunch of ideas. Because the only way to learn an instrument, to really understand how you can play it and work with it, is to do it.
I’ve been humbled lately by trying to learn the guitar- and man, it is a strangely tall order, for a perfectionist such as myself, to be bad at something. Christ! You’d think I’d just run over Lassie with the level of frustration I feel towards myself! But I realize that instead of trying to think and will my fingers to switch the chords perfectly, the only way I am ever going to do so is to actually do it, to not care if I mess up and just continue anyway. It’s all muscle memory in the end, and it’s okay that my fingers aren’t accustomed yet to this very new thing.
In that spirit, and in whatever stage of vocal learning you’re at, why don’t you try to let go of whatever you’re concentrating on so hard for the moment? Just do, and see what happens, and don’t get so caught up on whether or not it’s working. It is, because you are. And if you keep at it, little by little, one day you will turn around and realize you’ve come a really long way from where you started.