Twenty minutes on, twenty minutes off

This is the method I’m undertaking to learn the last of my lyrics in the fastest way I can. All week, I’ve been listening to the songs, going over lyrics, the works, but at rehearsal yesterday the second I got in front of the mic on a few songs I was confident with, I completely blanked.

I knew them, but they just wasn’t coming out. My brain got to the stage where I’d been going over it so much you start having brain blocks (not uncommon before a show/performance). The downside is it makes you more nervous than you already are.

Tomorrow, me and J (my singing partner) have got an open mic performance at a local bar where we’re performing three songs. The day after, we’re at the venue of our professional gig for another open mic. Wednesday and Thursday, we’re rehearsing like crazy during the evening after J finishes work (he works full-time in an office), then Saturday, it’s on. The big night.

Our original plan for tomorrow’s open mic was to sing two songs we sang there before (we performed there last autumn/fall on an open mic) with a new song we’ve learned. Earlier on, J sent me a message, asking if we could replace one of the old songs with another newer one we’ve learned. I said ok.

It’s a lovely song called “Where Cowboys Ride” by Sarah Darling. But unfortunately, that was one of the songs I blanked out on yesterday even though I knew the words.

So drastic times call for drastic measures!

A method I learned from my sister. Learn lines for twenty minutes, then take twenty off to let them sink in, and start again for another twenty minutes, and so on and forth. It helped me learn a full hour and a half script in three days when I had a show last year and it was full steam ahead.

So fingers crossed, it will stand well by me this time around!


All my love,

Violet xx

15 thoughts on “Twenty minutes on, twenty minutes off

  1. Back when I used to perform I was always nervous at the first song. My solution was to keep my eyes closed until I felt okay. Let my body do its thing on auto-pilot. This was occasionally a challenge since I was both the lead guitarist and vocalist, but it worked okay.

    At one point we added a new song to our set that required me to hit C6 twice, which was a half-step higher than I had ever been able to do and I only had 10 days to prepare. I was so worried about it that it became an obsession. I had to start warming up 2 hours before the set. It was such a distraction that I completely nailed everything else without nerves, although I never did perform the new song perfectly as each time we played it I missed one of the two C6’s by a half -step, but that was the best I ever felt during the rest of the set.

    I’m not sure if you are a “mover” when you perform, but sometimes adding a few body motions at key points can help with giving something to think about other than the lyrics. This can help free your brain up and let it do its thing as it becomes part of the “performance” and not just about the words. The worst thing for me is feeling trapped in my head.

    Just some tips that might help ๐Ÿ™‚

    Good luck.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Brilliant advice ๐Ÿ™‚ I do close my eyes during songs if I get super nervous and just can’t look at the audience until I settle in. I’ll probably be doing that tomorrow to be honest! Moving really does help (I’m a “sway-er” admittedly xD Whether I’m standing up or sitting down, I can’t not move along to the music!).
    I feel your pain on the notes! I’m trying to strengthen up my diaphragm again and warm up as much as possible so I get some higher notes in another song (I’m in a mezzo-soprano range but I’m a little rusty on the higher notes) but J reassures me it sounds ok so I’ll take his word for it haha!

    Thanks for your kind words and support, fur! ๐Ÿ™‚ x

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you. I hope it could help in some way. Something I forgot to spell out about the high note was that because so I was focused upon a total of 2 seconds in one song, nothing fazed me and I wasn’t nervous about anything else like usual. I’m guessing you picked that up, but I realize the story was sort of worthless if I wasn’t clear enough. I’m naturally a baritone but somehow I can pull off an “air trick” that allows me to push into the first alto range. I will note that even though I can hit notes and have good pitch, I have a bad singing voice ๐Ÿ˜€

      If you are still feeling nerves after your open mic you might want to think about adding a few defined motions into those songs. Like turning your head sideways and back or grabbing the mic stand and rocking it once right before a chorus. Those may be enough of a distraction to eliminate the anxiety from pesky little things like remembering the words.

      If you are a swayer I definitely recommend tossing some Axl dances in there every so foten ๐Ÿ™‚ (I hope you are old enough to get that reference)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Axl Rose…? (Please tell me I’m right so I don’t feel completely behind the times at 23 lol xD) No worries, I did pick that up ๐Ÿ™‚
        Baritone w/ first alto range? Check you out! ๐Ÿ˜€ Considering you were lead vocalist it couldn’t have been that bad, surely! ๐Ÿ™‚
        Funnily enough, using movement is one of the ways I’ve tried to remember words if I’m really struggling. I don’t know why, as well as distraction it’s almost a bit like word picture association that helps me remember (bit out there but it works lol!)

        Thanks again! ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, Axl Rose is correct. His shoulder shimmy dances were pretty epic. I know if I was in the audience I would go nuts.

        My voice was weird. I have a gap where I canโ€™t project at all. It has to be baritone or alto. Tenor is dead.

        My musical tastes come from an era where effort and energy trumped ability. I wouldnโ€™t sing out of tune but no one ever thought I was a good singer. Not so bad that people leave doesnโ€™t equal good ๐Ÿ™‚

        You arenโ€™t alone in using movement in that way. I would do the same thing.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Hooray!! ๐Ÿ˜€ I have seen very few things of Axl but the epic shoulder shimmies I’m yet to experience xD
        I struggle to project on certain notes as well. Some days I can, some days I can’t. It depends on what mood my voice is in that day lol XD
        I’ll be sure to do some rocking out to our livelier songs and swaying demurely to the more mellow ones! xD


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