What if I Feel Insecure When I Sing?

Mary Helen Rossi
April 6, 2022
Female music teacher playing acoustic guitar with her young teenage girl student also playing acoustic guitar during holiday recitals

What if I Feel Insecure When I Sing?

When people call us about taking singing lessons, they often ask "what if I feel insecure when I sing?" So, here's the thing: almost everyone who wants to become a better singer feels insecure when they sing. Really! Linda Ronstadt (1946) is a great example of the value of pushing through insecurity. Linda is one of the most versatile and successful American vocalists of all time. Her four-decade career produced sales of more than 50 million albums and earned her ten Grammy Awards, the National Medal of Arts, and membership in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.A Mexican American, she was primarily a ballad singer. She also excelled at singing country, rock’n’roll, big band, jazz, opera, Broadway standards, and Mexican tunes. Once you’ve heard her sing, you’re not likely to forget her.So, why are we talking about her here? For two reasons:

  1. We’re pretty sure you’ll be able to find some tunes you relate to in her vast repertoire, tunes that could be great inspirations for you, and
  2. She was able to accomplish the height of stardom despite harboring massive self-doubt that some even termed paranoia.

Before we go on, please take just a minute to listen to “When Will I Be Loved” Hearing her sing will give this post far more meaning for you – and you’ll definitely get our point!

Stardom and Self-Doubt

It’s hard to believe that someone with such a voice could experience serious insecurity, but she did. A New Yorker interview quotes Ronstadt's former manager as saying that Linda "would see people whispering at her concerts and imagine they were saying 'She's the worst singer I ever heard.'"Linda admitted that "she just didn't feel like she could sing well enough". She would overcome her fears, she said, by saying, “just breathe and sing.” If you watch carefully you can see this in her demeanor in some of her videos.

Just Breathe and Sing

Most of us are victims of doubting minds at one time or another and for some, it’s a lifetime battle. How do you develop the will to just breathe and sing? How can you keep on keeping on, even though your mind is telling you you’re not capable?You develop your will by doing.You develop your will to do by doing, and each time you push past your mind and “Just Do It” (as Nike says), you get stronger. You build your muscle – you actually build your ability to succeed.This just might be one of life’s biggest lessons, and it’s been summed in a thousand different ways over the centuries:

  • The most skillful boat captain has survived countless storms and tempests. (Epictetus)
  • Life is at its best when everything has fallen out of place and you decide that you're going to fight to get them right. (Thisuri Wanniarachchi)
  • When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. (Dale Carnegie)

That brings us to a quote by modern-day author Richie Norton, about building your muscle – the perseverance to continue:

The good life is not built on a foundation of ease... it's the hard times that give us a rock-solid foundation.

The Danger in Not Doing

Along with the fact that perseverance develops your muscle, there is another solid reason why you should. It’s summed up in these two quotes:

  • Many of life's failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up. (Thomas A. Edison)
  • Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all. (Dale Carnegie)

Failure is a terrible option, wouldn’t you agree? Unfortunately, if it’s practiced enough it can become as strong a habit as success. So it's your choice -- which would you like to develop? Of course, we thought so.

Why Vocal Lessons Develop Your Will

Of course, music lessons aren’t the only way to develop your will. In reality, working hard to develop yourself in anything will help you develop your will. But music has an important advantage: making music is really fun to do.Think about it. What if you were told you should exercise to keep your body healthy, but you weren’t inspired by the gym or running the track? Would you do it consistently, day in and day out, forever?Probably not. But what if you loved to play soccer and you kept losing out to faster, more agile players, others who were clearly more fit than you? If it was obvious to you that you needed to get into better shape to compete … would you do it?Of course. They seem to be two different things, but they’re not. Exercise is exercise … it all depends on your motivation.

Linda's Motivation

From Linda: “I was about four. I remember thinking, 'I'm a singer, that's what I do.' It was like I had become validated somehow, my existence affirmed."Linda knew, in her four-year-old innocence, that she had to sing, and she was fortunate to have a very musical family, so music was an intrinsic part of her life. Her insecurity could never stop her – she was too determined. She had the motivation of making music.

Making Music Motivates Past the Insecurity

Just like Linda Ronstadt, many musicians truly have no choice. Their passion and talent lie in making music and there’s no staying away from it. Here’s another video of Linda singing “The Tracks of My Tears”, a super popular song in the 80s.And finally, one tune from an entire album she recorded in Spanish, expressing the blues via her Mexican heritage: Por Un Amor.So now consider, this multi-talented woman really thought she couldn’t sing yet produced some of the most popular music of her time.  Amazing! Consider how different her life would have been if she'd let her mind stop her from singing.If you’d like to get some more 70s pop, here’s Linda Ronstadt Greatest Hits Full Album.

Singing Lessons to Build Your Muscle!

If you’ve been thinking about taking vocal lessons but are feeling a little inadequate or insecure, let us assure you: most singers feel inadequate, at one time or another. But our talented vocal coaches know how to bring out the you in your singing, and there’s nothing like success to motivate.Developing perseverance is just one of the benefits of learning music. Contact us to learn more about singing lessons. We'll help you build your muscle at the Studio -- no matter what age you are!

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Mary Helen Rossi
April 6, 2022