By Leontine Hass

Singers suffer from debilitating anxiety, fear, impostor syndrome and a sense of just not being good enough to stay in the profession reasonably regularly and almost always when they have not been performing for a while, and when they have hit a fallow patch. Singers reveal their ‘dirty secret’ to me so frequently that it tends to elicit a smile and a sigh. Unbeknownst to them it is not a sigh at the gravity of their situation, but a sigh because I know all about it, I know what it will take to fix it, why it happened, and that I just need to make sure they stay with me long enough to come out the other end. So in this article I will aim to give you my opinion, based on some years of experience, as to how to tackle this:

1. Seek professional help

Do address this issue with professionals who do you good. The latter is vital. There are teachers, therapists and coaches who tune into you and your needs, your vulnerabilities, the sum of your experiences and put their finger on something. They somehow manage to facilitate an improvement in you. This can be physical, technique based or psychological. The important thing is that they make you better in some way. When you commit to them and to regular sessions, a little magic happens. Regularity is vital for the progress of both parties. Nothing can be achieved with flaky behaviour here. Commitment and going through the process is crucial. The other crucial point is to find the people who are right for you. This might take time. You may need to try a handful. However, it is worth the persistence required.

2. Prepare, practice, persevere

Regular practice and preparation are absolutely vital to get you back on track. Spending time on your art needs to be a little oasis in your daily life where you spend time on you and your creativity. Nothing should get in the way of it. Fights with partners, emotional upheavals, money jobs, depression, procrastination, not being able to practice without annoying your flatmates…all valid and yet not acceptable if you want to be a professional singer. Sort it out! Find a local church to practice in, enjoy annoying your flatmates, stop fighting battles and take an hour or two out at the absolute minimum to devote this time to your craft. If you do not, you will not make it. That is the reality. Today is all we have.

3. Create small and regular opportunities to perform in a safe space

Performing needs practice. If you have not performed for a long time, no matter how good you are, you will be nervous. More likely terrified. Performing takes practice. Singers sing to people. There is no point in being a singer and having only yourself as an audience. Make sure you have 2-3 party pieces ready. Songs you can sing at a party. Nothing difficult. Just a few simple songs which you connect to and enjoy which you can sing when people ask. Don’t always say no. Sing! Sing at your local church. You might be the best one in your church choir but who cares. Any performance opportunity is worth it. Sing in old peoples’ homes. Sing to your little sister or your child. Sing at family parties. Sing at open mic. nights. They are listed. Research. Organise small charity gigs and concerts. The more you do it, the less your nerves will trouble you. Do workshops, go to singers groups. In my experience 6 weeks is what it takes to break the neck of the worst of it. You will be amazed. But this will not happen without attending to it reasonably tenaciously. I have taught literally hundreds of singers, many very well known, shaking with fear when asked to sing publicly after having a break. Do something about it and get back. Be prepared to give some second rate performances if need be. But start performing.

Leontine Hass – CEO

Founding Principal | Vocal Coach
Leontine Hass is an internationally renowned Vocal Coach and Principal of the Associated Studios London Performing Arts Academy.

Leontine Hass is currently vocal coach for Motown at The Shaftesbury Theatre London. She has served as vocal coach to Matt Henry (Lola in Kinky Boots West End), Alice Stokoe (Sophie in Mamma Mia, West End), Gloria Onitiri (Lead in The Bodyguard & Hair, West End), Claire Sweeney (Tell Me on a Sunday) and many other leads and swings in the West End, national and international tours of productions such as Thriller-Live, Oliver!, Carousel, Parade, Tell Me on a Sunday, The Lion King, The Phantom of the Opera, Witches of Eastwick, Nine, The Wizard of Oz, Ragtime, Sweeney Todd, Cats, Sister Act, We Will Rock You, Footloose, Wicked, The Sound of Music, Ghost, Hairspray, Porgy and Bess, The Bodyguard, Jesus Christ Superstar, Jersey Boys, Barnum, Miss Saigon, Book of Mormon, Mamma Mia, In the Heights, The Color Purple, Memphis, Spamalot, Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, Aladdin, Chicago, The Pyjama Game, Kinky Boots and the upcoming production of Dreamgirls.

Leontine coaches members of The Swingle Singers, Collabro, The Magnets, The Sons of Pitches and classical singers with ENO, Welsh National Opera and ROH, as well as Pop/Rock/Jazz singers. Leontine was the Vocal Coach for shows including the London premiere of Bernarda Alba the Musical, and currently the a cappella hit, ‘Gobsmacked’.

Leontine teaches workshops and lectures internationally on singing, voice and performance. She rehabilitates voices after surgery, or as surgery prevention. She has taught at leading Music & Drama Schools including GSA Conservatoire, the Oxford School of Drama, Mountview, LSMT, YMT, The Brit School, La Salle (Singapore), the Queensland Conservatorium, Centre Stage and The VCA (Melbourne).

Leontine has acted as vocal consultant to various music management/production companies, including ITV and the BBC. Leontine is vocal coach for ‘The Voice’ for BBC TV. She was featured as a mentor/vocal coach on the Gareth Malone show, ‘The Naked Choir’, for BBC2 and will also be involved with Series 2. She is a regular columnist at voicecouncil.com and for The Stage newspaper. She is a contributor to ‘The Singer’s Complete Guide to Vocal Health’ (Oxford Uni. Press), and advisor/contributor to ‘The Ultimate Guide to Singing’ published by TC Helicon in 2014.

Having originally trained as a classical singer (BA, Melb. Uni, BMus. Kings College London, Dip. RAM), Leontine has performed as a singer and actress in concert, theatre and TV.

Leontine is the CEO/Founding Principal of the Associated Studios Performing Arts Academy London, which she founded in 2007, then based at The Royal Academy of Music. Associated Studios provides full-time and part-time training and professional development in Musical Theatre and Opera (www.associatedstudios.co.uk). The Board of Directors includes Rory Bremner (Chair), Patrick Lawrence QC and Dr Christopher Stewardson. Patrons include Sir Tim Rice, Jeremy Irons, Jeremy Herrin, Timothy West and Scott Alan.

Leontine is represented by Lesley Duff at Diamond Management.