In any field or area in life without self belief you will never go further and with self belief comes SELF IMPROVEMENT.
As a professional in any field you have to always seek out ways to better yourself either physically, mentally, intellectually, emotionally or spiritually. There are different ways, methods and means by which anyone can improve or be the best they can in their chosen profession. It is a proven fact that while practice does not always make one perfect, it definitely helps you improve tremendously. Sometimes we don’t know it but the more you do something everyday, you get better at it without knowing you are actually doing so.
It is for this simple reason that athletes, footballers, sportsmen/women have training sessions daily. Lawyers read old cases and research so they can become better lawyers. Teachers’ research on topics and prepare course notes in advance.
It is tried and true that you are what you do everyday or else why would DAVID BECKHAM & CRISTIANO RONALDO take extra time after practice with their team mates to practice their specialized free kicks?
Or why would a driver take driving lessons and drive for months or years before being certified a good driver? Or why would a pilot be required to log in thousands of miles in flight hours before being certified fit to handle heavy aircraft? Or why would a band rehearse several times and score the songs before actual perfomances with an artiste?
As an ARTISTE there are several ways to improve and become a better singer, entertainer or performer. Some artistes are better singers than performers, while some have better stage presence and are not too strong as vocalists and some are all round entertainers while some are consummate performers. Whichever category you fall into as an artiste you can become better either by reading, watching, researching, asking questions and being mentored by your peers or older artistes. But the simplest and most effective way is practice, rehearsals and more practice.
Most Nigerian artistes take practice and rehearsals for granted, they forget that talent is just a spring board and that hardwork is what gets talent the recognition it deserves and enables it to earn income or become a profession. And to become a professional you have to be not just good at what you do, but dedicated enough to keep improving.
Some artistes take their voices for granted, and I have seen several artistes get on stage to perform after drinking alcoholic beverages or chain smoking cigarettes which clogs their vocal chords and in effect leaves them gasping for breathe while performing or makes their voice so hoarse you barely hear what they are saying even with the microphone on full blast.
Some don’t know that you can take voice lessons to know your vocal range, learn breathe control, improve your pitch or just maintain your voice. They don’t know that it takes constant care, practice and rehearsing to keep your voice in shape and pitch perfect always.
Some do not know that there are various foods or drinks you need to abstain from before a performance. Or that there are some fruits, beverages or remedies you can take to keep your voice in good shape before amd after a performance or concert.
There are vocal coaches and therapists whose specialties are training your voice to get the best out of it. Sometimes most Nigerian artistes stress their voices so much before a show that they actually lose their voice before the show or end up sounding off key or like croaking frogs during their performance. They talk so much on the red carpet or during press conferences or interviews or party hard, shout/scream in clubs and drink hard liquor before a concert that they end up performing below par.
As an artiste to be able to know what foods or beverages affect your voice negatively, how to control your breathe when singing, your vocal range, pitch or texture you need a vocal coach or therapist.
Another form of self improvement as an artiste is to take up playing an instrument, most Nigerian artistes do not know how to play even one instrument. As an artiste you can take up piano or guitar lessons, this will also help you sharpen your ear for tones and know the perfect key for your vocal range. You can also take up live performances by forming a band or attaching yourself to one so you can rehearse or practice with them. This will enhance your vocal flexibility and help you master your vocal range capabilities. It will also improve your ear for pitching, tones and melodies and will alert you when you start to go off key during a performance.
Some artistes assume that since it’s their song they do not need to rehearse or practice it often or before going on stage to perform and so they end up missing lines or even whole verses of their songs. It is not strange to forget a few lines of your own songs at times but this can be minimized or eliminated with constant practice and rehearsals too.
Not every artiste is a good dancer and not everyone has good stagecraft but every artiste can work on and improve their stage presence that it eliminates the need to be a good dancer or have good stagecraft because a great stage presence allows you to communicate with your audience and improves your connection with the crowd that each fan feels like you are personally serenading or performing for them.
There are many ways and various methods through which an artiste can improve himself or herself but with it all constant practice is the master key. All great singers, performers & entertainers always put in the work and practice many times before an actual performance or concert. Late MICHAEL JACKSON one of the greatest performers and entertainers of our era in footage released after His death was seen rehearsing and practicing his dance moves, singing and stage craft over and over again in preparation for His “This Is It Tour”.
“CHANGE IS ALWAYS CONSTANT BUT THE WILL TO CHANGE ISN’T.” But as long as there is a will there will be a way.
Nobody is perfect but we all aspire to perfection and to be the best at what we do we have to put in work and practice constantly till it comes freely and becomes second nature to us.
ARTISTE TIP OF THE DAY:
Nothing in life comes easy, so to be a good artiste or a professional you must be ready to put in the work, keep late nights if need be. Always keep striving to improve yourself, your voice, writing skills and your stage craft. Never relent never give up always keep pushing.
All written articles and pieces are original works of Toks Asher Young except the quoted excerpts
Photo Credit: Freepik.com