I'll never forget my Music 101 class at Lock Haven University. At some point in the class, we were instructed to choose a song to offer as a solo for the entire class to critique. This would have occurred in the fall of 2002. I was a pastor and familiar with standing in front of people as a public speaker. However, entire armies of butterflys prepare to fly when one knows that critical feedback will occur after speaking or in this case singing. Somewhere in the back of my mind I could hear a crackly voice telling my butterflies to "FLY my little pretties!"
I thought long and hard and decided to sing "Happiness is." from the Peanuts cartoons. I found the music and began the process of memorization. The day of presentation arrived and we entered the room a bit quieter than normal. As each student stood before the class and sang their selection, the class offered firm fair advice. There were some really good vocalists that day!
I sang my song. It went okay. I think my entire digestive system decided to do backflips and cartwheels! Most of the class went easy on the older non-traditional student. Here is what Professor Miller had to say.
Randy, you have a smooth voice. You're clear in annuncitaing and everything you have vocally works...but it sounds like you are singing entirely from your throat. (NEWSFLASH: All the butterflies just crashed!) Prof. Miller continued, "You need to breath deeply and sing so that your voice begins down deep in your diaphram. He patiently explained how all this should work from a physical perspective. As I utilized Prof. Miller's instruction, I noticed my singing volume increased. Hmm, this 'breathing' thing really does work and not just for singing. It works for public speaking and any other activity that threatens to expose one's flaws. Practicing Prof. Miller's instruction landed me a spot on Cantore, LHU Select choir, and we went to London, Wales, and Scotland in 2003!
Have you had moments of fear in doing anything in front of a large crowd? If so, the best advice I can offer is to slow your breathing and breath deeply. The body isn't happy when we deprive it of oxygen. Shallow breathing starves our body of O2 and our system does weird things. We tend to quiver, get anxious, and maybe even experience dizziness and all brought on by not breathing properly.
"Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will
be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9b, NIV)
Carry the assurance that God is with you today and breath deeply in His abiding presence. Your witness will gain volume and clarity.