Skip to content

Shifting Your Students from Over-Doing to Being Present

    You know that moment when you’re having a conversation with your student, and they’re so animated, and you’re having a great back and forth, and they’re totally acting like a human… and then they start singing and turn into a robot?!

    It’s really challenging to deal with this moment as a singing teacher. You want your student to bring their full self, energy, and presence into their singing, but you see them getting so consumed with instructions and “shoulds” and “need-to’s” that they lose sight of simply acting like a human.

    When a singer is dealing with the many technical aspects of producing sound (such as lifting the soft palate, modifying vowels, or bringing more airflow into the sound) it can be extremely difficult to stay present. There are so many “left brain” things that the singer is juggling, that it’s really hard to settle back into a “right brain” way of being.

    You’re likely familiar with this, but let’s break down the difference between left and right brain:

    • The left brain is linear, logical, and task-oriented. It’s the side of our brain that helps us do stuff.
    • The right brain is the creative and intuitive brain. It’s the side of our brain that helps us let go, allow, and just be. The right brain is also where our desire to express ourselves is generated in the first place.

    Now, there’s nothing evil about the left brain. In fact, there’s no way to be a functioning human if you’re only using your right brain (check out neuroscientist Jill Bolte Taylor’s account of her stroke on the left side of her brain and you’ll get what I mean.) We need both sides of our brain to function. However, to be fully authentic and present as a singer, we must balance the doing of the left brain with the being of the right.

    It can feel frustrating and elusive to help guide a student to the place where they’re not trying so hard with their left brain and letting things happen more with the right. But there are techniques, mindset shifts, and tools to help guide our students through the shift. In my BAST webinar, we’ll take a dive into how to help your students when they’re getting stuck in too much efforting, too much left-braining, and too much worrying.

    We’ll examine how to shift not only the stuck-ness, but the mindset creating the stuck-ness so that the singers you coach can feel like they’re authentically generating their sound with freedom and ease and (dare I say it?!) story-telling!

    Is this easy? Perhaps not. But as humans, we follow our impulses in our lives all day long. Yes it’s easy to lose sight of our natural abilities when we’re busy following the “map” of a song someone else has written. But we can navigate it with our full authenticity and presence.

    It’s time to help your students shift from over-doing mode into allowing their voice and presence to simply be more. You’ll find out how in my webinar video  – I can’t wait to dive in with you!



    Elissa Weinzimmer is a vocal health educator and presence coach. Learn more about her work at