This week, we’re going to talk about the BRAIN. Yes, that giant thing in the middle of your head that controls everything you do, say, and think, has a lot to do with functional singing.
Did you know the brain’s main job is to keep you alive? We feed the brain with oxygen and food, and then it builds up a stored amount of energy (calories) overtime. With everything we do- every move, every thought- we expend energy, or calories, to do so. The brain is constantly worrying about running out of calories, so in an effort to help us survive, it resists doing anything that takes considerable energy (calories), such as learning a new habit. That’s why it feels so hard to try something new! Not only is your physical body attempting to construct a new neural pathway to map out its function and movement, but your brain is also fighting itself- one side wanting to focus on observing and learning a new task and the other side complaining that precious calories are being wasted! The side that wants to learn then has to spend time convincing the nervous side of the brain that it will be okay and no one will die!
It takes 10,000 repetitions of something for it to become a habitual pattern, aka something the brain does not have to think so hard about.
The Stages of Motor Learning
1-1,000 reps: Cognitive (develop an understanding of the skill)
1,000-10,000 reps: Associative (demonstrate a more refined movement through practice)
10,000+ reps: Autonomous (motor skill becomes automatic)
So next time you’re in a voice lesson and you find yourself getting frustrated, remember that it’s going to take you at least 10,000 times to get it to be as natural as a reflex, so don’t panic if you fail a few times at first! Singing, or becoming an expert at anything really, takes time! Your body has already learned to be really good at some things, and it’s also learned to do other things in ways that perhaps aren’t the most efficient or functional. At Innovative, we’re here to help remind your brain that you won’t die if you attempt a new singing technique or placement. The calorie expenditure will be worth it, we promise!
Two things that will DEFINITELY help your brain at your next lesson are remembering to breathe (oxygen) and eating something at least 30 minutes before your lesson (and maybe bring a small snack for after). Learning is a metabolic activity, after all, and who doesn’t like snacks?!
Come get a brain workout with us at our BOOTCAMPS on 11/6 and 11/7!
Special thanks to Andrew Bryne and his course, The Vocal Athlete for the inspiration for this week's post!