Here in Nashville, Music Row pretty much shuts down in the months of November/December. Many of us musicians go into creative hibernation and dive head-first into our part-time jobs. But here's what I don't want you to forget:
"Training is what you are doing while your opponent is sleeping in."
I was 15 years old the first time I ever tried to sing in head voice. It was during Sophomore High School Choir, and to make matters worse, it was an audition. Our choir director went down the row of tenors having us all sing this one line, and when my time to shine came, I sang what I thought was a beautiful head voice, but I got a nasty face from the director. Aaand on to the next one! I sat down, tried to play it cool, but I was confused as to why I hadn't impressed him.
I got the courage to ask the director and it turned out I needed to work on my pitch control. Fair enough. I was 15 with an undeveloped ear but more to the point, an underdeveloped head voice.
Many singers can give a flawless performance in the privacy of their own practice space, but as soon as they step on stage, certain parts of their range become strained and wobbly. Nervousness and other mental/emotional factors have a huge impact on the voice, which is why it's always important to maintain a healthy perspective on your performance before you take the stage.
A common mistake many singers make:
One time, I performed a song for a small group of people, and it was a very personal song, so I was nervous to sing it well. As I took the stage, the tears welled, and by the second verse I couldn't hold them back any longer. My voice wobbled and cracked, and I felt like the entire room suddenly had all the air sucked out of it. It was mortifying.
Music is emotion in one of its purest form. But there is an important balance between expressing the emotion of a song effectively, and having so much emotion that it becomes difficult to sing the song to its full potential.