Singing for Mothers-to-Be

Singing during pregnancy can give you and your baby beautiful nourishing moments together.

Give yourself and your baby some nourishing moments of singing. Here’s what you can do with your voice while you’re expecting.

Singing is a beautiful gift to give yourself and your baby during pregnancy. Obviously, lullabies are brilliant because your little baby (or babies) will get to know the songs while he or she is still in your belly. The songs will also ground you in the now and offer comfort.

Let’s take a closer look at how you can bring more singing into the 3 trimesters:

1st trimester
If you’re lucky, you don’t have any “morning” sickness. I had a dose of what I would rather call “all-day queasiness” with both of my boys, but not as bad as the daily vomiting that many women experience…!
I was singing during my 1st trimester because I was leading a vocal ensemble at the time, but I don’t particularly recall that I felt like singing much.

Here’s my advice: If you feel like singing or it gives you a nice distraction from feeling not too well, it’s a good idea to use your voice.
If, however, singing sends you straight out to the toilet for another date with Huuuughie, wait until you’re feeling a bit better.
And listen to beautiful music.

2nd trimester
Ah, the pleasant trimester. The sickness is hopefully gone (or on the way out) and you’re feeling more energetic. What a good time to sing! Although your baby is growing rapidly, you still have plenty of space to sing without feeling short of breath.
Dive into your favourite songs and enjoy singing! It feels so good, and the vibrations of your voice reach your baby too.
Focus on feeling good when you sing instead of sounding good. After all, you’re doing it for you!

The 2nd trimester could be a good time to sing with your partner too and let your little one get to know his/her voice.

3rd trimester
Your baby is getting big, and that means less space for your organs. I won’t say that it affects your ability to sing, but towards the end of your pregnancy you might want to take it easy with the singing (trust your body, it will let you know).
You’ll want to sing easy stuff (back to the lullabies) and anything that makes you feel good. Chanting can be nice too.
I did a couple of singing performances when I was 7 months pregnant, and it was doable, but it just felt like I had way less space and I felt a bit more out of breath. That was classical singing, though, and it does require more physical energy than most kinds of music.

I recommend that you break up the phrases of your song and keep it simple – in other words: Have a playful approach to your songs and let go of any ideas of what it’s supposed to sound like.

You don’t need to stand up to sing. Sitting comfortably on a chair or a pilates ball make great postures for singing. Or for the ultimate relaxation try lying down on your side while singing. It’s so soothing.

A last note:
Pregnant or not, you always need to listen to your body. Don’t do anything that feels uncomfortable.
My suggestions in this blog are for “normal”, uncomplicated pregnancies.
You have the full responsibility of your body.

Happy Singing!

© Nína O’Farrell 2021
Photo by Negative Space

The Magic of Singing

Singing can be magical. And the most wonderful thing is that you can experience the magic in your everyday life - right now.

Singing can be magical. And the most wonderful thing is that you can experience the magic in your everyday life – right now.

You can create little pockets of magic when you use your voice. Moments of light and joy that have a ripple effect into the rest of your day – and your life as a whole.

Creating magic doesn’t have to be a big deal. In fact, I’m a big fan of grounded instant magic that you just create in the moment that you decide it’s time for positive energy to flow through you. You can sing there and then (or if you’re in public and don’t feel like singing out loud, you can hum).

The magic has to do with raising your vibration, I think. Singing can bring you past emotional turmoil and lift your spirit. Wherever you are in life or whatever you’re going through, singing will lift you up. Sometimes just a little bit. We have a saying in Denmark: “Many small streams make a large river”; over time, singing can help create stability and empowerment.

I’m still amazed at how much magic singing brings into my everyday life (even though I had my first solo voice lesson 20 years ago)!

I sing a lot with my two young boys, and I highly recommend that you sing away if you have or know any kids. You’re giving them a gift for life, and it’s pretty fun for you too!

On our last holiday, I used singing to soothe my boys. Getting on board the ferry was an exciting (and noisy) event for them and entering a new environment in a foreign country called for some comfort.
I used singing to “bring them home”, and they were instantly calm.

I also use singing to stay connected to myself. As a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), I can sometimes get a bit too involved with what’s going on around me (and in the world in general!), so having an anchor like my voice is such a gift. I use my voice to transform emotions and to release what I have to say.

And we all have that gift.

I’d like to share a few ways you can use your voice to create some magic in your everyday life. See if you get inspired, and pick one to start with.

5 simple ways to let singing create magic in your life

  1. Begin the day with a song
    What better way to start a new day than with a song? It’s such a simple and profound way to connect to yourself and tap in to the life force.
    Just remember that it may take a little while for your voice to wake up, so be gentle. Chose songs that invites your voice to find itself.
    Or create a playlist and hum along some of your favourite songs.
  2. “Reset” your day
    Maybe your day started okay, but all of a sudden you’re feeling overwhelmed. It’s time for a break, and a song may help you reset your day, so you can enjoy the rest of it in a good spirit.
  3. Wave goodbye to anxiety
    Anxiety and other negative emotions can be washed away when you use your voice.
    Your voice connects you to your core, and negative emotions are most overwhelming when you’re not connected to your core. It’s hard for stress and singing to co-exist!
    Sing, and empowerment happens. Your life quality goes up.
  4. Sing with others
    It’s so much fun to sing with a good friend or a close family member. It brings you even closer and opens up for the beautiful flow of co-creation. Pick some songs that you both know well or chose a song each that the other can learn for you to sing together.
    Pure joy!
  5. Use singing to unwind
    Just like starting the day with a song can be magical, so can finishing it with music.
    A lot of us end up in front of a screen when the day is done, but I find that it gives my spirit so much to have a screen-free evening every once in a while.
    Whatever your mood is, find a song that supports that. It’ s a great way of letting go of your day – big and small challenges – and release everything that doesn’t belong to you.

Happy Singing!

© Nína O’Farrell 2021

Need more inspiration? My eBook You Can Sing gives you easy-to-understand theory about your voice and practical steps that will help you overcome the four most common limiting beliefs when it comes to singing.

When You Think You Can’t Sing…

If you’re holding on to outdated ideas about your voice, it’s time for a tidy up in your mind!

Your beliefs influence your actions. So if you’re holding on to outdated ideas about your voice, it’s time for a tidy up in your mind!

What people have told you about your voice can have great consequences. Ideas can become beliefs, and these beliefs can either lift you up or put you down.

We’ve all at some point in our lives come across negative remarks. As adults, we may find it easier to brush them of and come back to our own truth. But anything we’ve heard as children, seems to stick for a long time. I’ve come across crazy stories many times as a music teacher. I call them stories because they’re not real (even if we think they are) and crazy because they’re often quite far out and tell us more about the sender than the receiver.

I’ll give you an example from my own life. In my early twenties, I moved to Reykjavik to explore my Icelandic roots, and found a school dedicated to singing. I was so excited to have my first lesson! So I entered the room to meet my singing teacher and accompanist, also quite nervous about this whole new situation. Being an introvert, I need time to find my feet in new experiences. The teacher was being very strict with me and after the third singing lesson I actually came out of the room crying (not the only one, as it turned out!).

I had a talk with the principal of the school and ended up getting a dream teacher who I had great chemistry with and learned so much from.

My point is that there will always be people out there who express their point of view, but you always need to check in with yourself and ask “is this really true?”

Let’s get a bit more practical. What do you do if you have a wish to sing, but you really think you can’t sing? This is where the tidy up comes into the picture!
Here are a few simple steps that can help you sing more confidently:

  1. Discover what’s stopping you.
    What limiting beliefs are you holding on to? If your initial thought is “I don’t know”, then just ask the question: “What limiting beliefs about my voice am I holding on to?”
    You will get answers!
    Maybe you need to start writing down your thoughts, or maybe just become aware of them.
  2. Clear your memory.
    You don’t need to forget what has happened, but you need to forgive. Forgive yourself for accepting someone else’s limiting belief as your own, forgive another person for saying it.
    You can use the 4-phrase Hawaiian forgiveness mantra:
    1) I love you
    2) I’m sorry
    3) Please forgive me
    4) Thank you
    It’s so simple and all-round. It works!
  3. Create positive affirmations.
    Now that you know what’s stopping you, it’s time to get creative and make an antidote. If your limiting belief is “my voice sounds like a crow”, you need to create a positive affirmation saying “my voice is pleasant”.
    Keep repeating your positive affirmation anytime the limiting belief comes sneaking up on you!
    You can find more positive voice affirmations in my blog Affirmations for Singing.
  4. Sing.
    Part of the healing process is to actually use your voice. Take action. Sing.
    Sing in the car or in the shower, sing in the kitchen, sing in nature. Use your voice in a way that feels nourishing to you. Be kind to yourself, and allow yourself to use the amazing gift that your voice is. Your way.

When you think you can’t sing, think again.
Children who haven’t been judged, sing all the time.
So can you.

Happy Singing!

© Nína O’Farrell 2021
Photo by Artem Beliaikin

Need more inspiration? My eBook You Can Sing gives you easy-to-understand theory about your voice and practical steps that will help you overcome the four most common limiting beliefs when it comes to singing.

What’s Stopping You?

empty forest

You’ve found me because you’d like to sing. So let’s dive into how you can fulfill that wish.

In life – and with singing – we all have blind spots. Luggage, karma, call it what you like. Things that are stopping us from living our dream life.

I think that when you resolve a lesson in one area of your life, it has a ripple effect on the rest of your life.

I like to start with the voice, because it holds so much information – both on a daily basis e.g. how I’m feeling on a particular day, and the voice reveals any blocks that we have or things that need healing, acceptance or transformation.

When you begin to use your authentic voice, you’ll also begin to stand more and more strong in yourself, you’ll begin to honour your wishes, know what you want and what you don’t want and cultivate the ability to say yes and no.

So my wish for you is that you will sit down for a moment and relax a bit, and ask yourself what could be stopping you from singing. Is it an old memory? Is it limiting beliefs?

Start clearing your limiting beliefs – they are not realistic. Begin to use your voice in everyday life and see what a difference it makes for your overall level of well-being.

It’s not so much about the singing, actually. It’s about how you view yourself, how much courage you have to live a life that makes you happy regardless of what other people think, and it’s the spark or inspiration to go for your dreams.

Happy Singing!

© Nína O’Farrell 2021
Photo by Anthony

The Beauty of Singing

I’m on a big mission to help more people sing. Because singing is fun, it brings more joy into your life and because it’s deeply empowering.
But equally important, because it can raise your awareness and ultimately bring more joy and beauty to our planet as a whole.

We need to be connected. To our higher selves, to our emotions, our bodies. To nature.
That connection is what makes a positive change in our world.

Singing is beautiful. And it’s something we can all do at all times. We all have vocal qualities, so it’s just a matter of recognising those qualities and to start using them.

We can sing in our own ways, as introverts or extroverts or something in between. As young or old. If you take good care of your voice, you’ll carry a nourishing instrument for life.
And we can sing the same songs with new meanings as we grow and transform.
Singing a favourite song is like connecting to an old friend.

Singing is with you in your ups and downs. You can express deep sadness and profound joy with your voice.

So how can you experience the beauty of singing?

Simply put, here’s what you need:
1) A good singing method
2) Courage

What “a good singing method” is depends on your personality type. Make sure it’s healthy for your voice, that’s the main thing. Your voice is strong and delicate at the same time, and you’ll want to take good care of your vocal chords.

You don’t need a singing method to sing – you can sing now! – but you may come across challenges such as your voice breaking, not knowing if you’re out of tune or you simply don’t know where to start. In those cases, it’s a good idea to get some professional help.

The courage part of singing is probably what feels the most challenging to a lot of us. Because we feel vulnerable when we sing. But you know what? From that place of feeling courageous and vulnerable, beauty happens. Deep joy happens.

The core of your voice has a beautiful spark that will be present in everything you sing.
Be courageous. It’s time for you to sing.

Here are a few tips to help you sing (more)

  • Make your wishes
    Think of a few songs that you’d like to sing. Make sure you keep an open mind and don’t write them off if you think they are too difficult (that’s your teacher’s job to judge). Write your wishes down as your motivation or goal.
  • Set yourself up for success
    If you’re pretty new to singing, start singing a song that you think of as quite easy. It could be a simple children’s song or a favourite song. Something that’s within your reach, but you’ll still stretch your comfort zone a bit.
    Moving forward, you can keep stretching your comfort zone by choosing songs that are just a bit more challenging.
    Remember that comfort zones are unique. For some, getting out of their comfort zones will mean singing to an audience, for others it will mean to sing alone at home without the curtains closed. Begin where you are and expand from there.
  • Listen to vocally balanced singers
    You learn a lot from listening to good singers, because your vocal chords respond to what you hear. And your ears benefit too.
    I could write a whole book on the subject of vocally balanced singers, but a few things to listen out for are:
    – Singers that sound distinct (in a pleasant way), meaning that you can recognise their voices when you hear them.
    – Clear words that you can understand, yet the singer looks like he/she is speaking.
    – A clear connection between the singer’s speaking voice and singing voice (they are two sides of the same coin).
  • Use your voice in everyday life
    Washing dishes can be a lot more fun with a song, and you can start or finish the day with a song. It’s a great way to reconnect to yourself and to begin or close your day in a positive way.

Happy Singing!

© Nína O’Farrell 2021
Photo by Alina Lomilova

Feel free to leave questions / comments.

The Introvert Singer

Introverts make good singers.

Do you find it hard to sing as an introvert? In this blog, I’ll share how singing and being introvert go hand in hand – and give you ideas to start singing more in your own quiet way.

I used to think that singing was easier for extroverts. People who like to be seen and heard and who don’t have to think too much about what to say. If I could point at one thing that really promotes that belief, it would be the so-called talent shows. There’s a lot of main stream out there that happens to attract extrovert singers – with the odd introvert thrown in.

The fact is that working with your voice is an introvert process. Singing happens inside of your body, and it’s guided by your mind. It’s an internal process that can’t be forced or manipulated if you want to sing with an authentic voice.

So many qualities that introverts hold are a perfect match to singing. As an introvert, you thrive in your own company, you’re self aware, you have a strong ability to concentrate, you reflect and connect to your emotions. And you’re a good listener.
These qualities are all important when you sing.

There are so many ways to be colourful and to express yourself. It might not suit your personality type to burst into a duet with the person beside you in the queue in a shop. Less can do. Humming is a great way to stay centered when you’re out in the world, while honouring your personality.

So maybe it’s time for you to think outside the box and start singing. Start small and begin to stretch your comfort zone.

Simple and fun ways to bring more singing into your life:

  • As a birthday message to a loved one, sing a birthday song on their voice mail. It always brings joy to the receiver!
  • If you’re in a queue and feeling restless or overwhelmed, humming is a great way to relax and make the most of the waiting time.
  • When you’re driving, take the red light as an invitation to sing!
  • Is the idea of singing anywhere else than in a soundproof room all by yourself too embarrassing? Sing in nature. There are plenty of places out there where you can sing to yourself and the trees / bushes / water – and it feels so good.

It all starts with you. You can be that courageous person who brings more singing into everyday life. In your own way.
And guess what happens? Others will be inspired to sing more too!

Happy Singing!

© Nína O’Farrell 2021
Photo by Daria Shevtsova

Feel free to leave questions / comments.

Are you ready to sing?

Create a Nourishing Habit of Singing

Sing every day and create more joy in your life.

Bring more joy into your everyday life by making singing a habit. Here’s how.

I used to think that you need to have tons of self-discipline to learn to sing. So I pushed myself for years to learn, understand, practise, practise, practise…

Until, one day a teacher told me: “Nína, in a sense… practise less.”

What an eye-opener it was. When it comes to the voice – and so many other things in life – you can forget about forcing or pushing if you want nourishing results.
Just like you wouldn’t get anywhere by saying to your apple tree in the springtime: “Hello! Where are the apples?”

At the other end of the scale, there’s the mindset of “I’ll practise when I feel like it,” which could put your progress at a snail’s pace. There’s nothing wrong with that, but if you’d like to help your voice evolve at a steady pace, there might be a better way.

So if hardcore discipline or practising based on how you feel that day are not sustainable, what’s the way to go?

Create a habit of singing. The great thing about a habit is that you only need enough self-discipline to create it. Once created, it becomes part of your daily routine.
It takes 30-60 days to create a habit, so when I create a new habit, I usually start with 30 days and then see how I’m doing. Keep it simple.

Here’s how to kickstart your new habit of singing:

  1. Make a wish
    What would you like to be able to sing? Write down your wish and start taking steps towards fulfilling it.
  2. How much time would you like to dedicate to singing?
    Be realistic – is 15 minutes a day doable? Or 20 minutes 3 times a week?
    There’s no right or wrong here, just make a plan that suits for your life right now and stick with it.
  3. When are you going to sing?
    Get specific on what time of day you’ll practise singing. Pencil in the practice in your calendar. It’s your time for yourself. It’s important.

No time for practise? Here’s the quick route that will still give you lots of singing joy: Learn a few songs by heart, and sing them while you do your daily activities.
Sing while you drive, sing while you wash-up.
Put your phone in a drawer and sing.

Happy Singing!

© Nína O’Farrell 2021
Photo by Silviu Cozma

Feel free to leave questions / comments.

Affirmations for Singing

Positive affirmations for singing.

What you believe becomes your reality. In this blog, I’m inviting you to explore your beliefs about your voice – and giving you inspiration to create new nourishing thoughts that eventually lead to greater fulfillment in life.

We all receive a set of beliefs in childhood, and early programming is not questioned too often – we simply don’t know any better than to perceive these beliefs as the truth.

If you’ve been 100% positively supported about using your voice, great! However, if you’ve picked up remarks along the way that have caused you to think negatively about your singing abilities, now could be a good time for a tidy up!

My own story is that I’ve always been complimented for my musicality, singing in tune and having a large vocal range. My limiting belief was planted as I was more than once told by singing teachers that I would probably never have a big voice. It seemed to be a fact.

Fortunately, my passion for singing inspired me to search for meaningful ways to use my voice, and I was encouraged by my intuition to study singing in Iceland and Italy.
It was there – in a small Italian town on a hill – that singing teachers helped me discover that I’m a mezzosoprano, and not a high soprano. And that I indeed have a big voice.

I’m deeply grateful for my discovery, and equally excited when I’m helping singing students release what’s blocking their voices and start embodying their full potential.

Some of the limiting beliefs I’ve come across when I talk to people about singing are:
Singing doesn’t come naturally to me
I wish I could sing (others may have that gift, but I don’t)
I don’t sing with others, because I’m afraid to sing out of tune
I can’t sing

Have a look at your beliefs. Do you have a good relationship with your voice? What thoughts and feelings come up?
What were your surroundings telling you about your voice as you were growing up?
Can you think of more nourishing thoughts today that will encourage you to sing?

Whatever your story is, know that negative beliefs are rarely true. Anyone can learn how to sing, just like anyone can learn to dance or draw.

I hereby encourage you to give it a go. You want to sing, otherwise you wouldn’t have found me. Affirmations are all about clearing the the road blocks and replacing them with nourishing thoughts that create a fresh path – and a new reality. 

Clearing your old beliefs gives you space to take action – maybe you want to start taking singing lessons, maybe you will discover new songs that you really enjoy singing… Look out for the signs and go for it.

See if some of the affirmations below resonate with you or make your own (simply change your negative belief with a positive affirmation e.g. I can’t sing becomes I can sing).
Say the affirmation out loud every day, write it down in your diary or be bold and hang it on your wall, whisper it, think it, sing it… be creative!

I have a pleasant voice
I am free to sing what I like
I take good care of my voice
I communicate kindly and clearly
There are countless opportunities to sing in my everyday life
I sing with ease
I honour my voice
Singing is a natural way to express myself
I am grateful for my voice
I enjoy discovering new qualities in my voice
I sing because I love to sing
I bring joy around me when I sing
I’m healing when I sing
I sing with all of me
I feel safe singing with my natural voice
I love my voice

Happy Singing!

© Nína O’Farrell 2020
Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom

Feel free to leave questions / comments.

Learning to Accept Your Voice

Accept the sound of your voice.

In this blog, I’m exploring why so many of us find it awkward to hear a recording of our own voice. There are good reasons why it’s uncomfortable; it all has to do with sound vibrations and acceptance.

I used to dislike listening to a recording of my voice. I found it quite awkward, the feeling of wanting to just… hide a bit. Do you know that feeling?

If you do, you’re not the only one. Scientific studies have shown that a lot of people don’t like to hear a recording of their own voice because we hear our own voice differently to what it sounds like to other people.

When we listen to somebody else speaking, the sound waves make our ear drum and inner ear vibrate. These vibrations are converted into sounds in the brain.

But when we listen to our own voices, vibrations from deep in our own bodies, from our vocal chords and airways are present too. And all of that actually makes our own voices sound lower and more full to our own ears.
In other words, you are listening to the richest version of your voice!

That’s the physical side of things. But I think there’s more to it than that. I think it has everything to do with honouring our inner voice and appreciating the amazing channel of communication that the voice is.

It has to do with fully accepting ourselves.

And with that also comes getting over what we think other people think about us.
I got over it. Listening to many of my recorded singing lessons from my study time in Italy, the goal was to get wiser, not to judge how I sounded.

If you find it difficult to move towards an acceptance of “okay, I sound like that”, maybe your voice holds a lot more potential than you’re allowing it to unfold.

Inner and outer circumstances like your life situation, feelings and your view on yourself all affect the voice.

Some people feel anxious or stressed out. Some have a need to make themselves appear smaller than they really are. The result is a shaky, hard or small voice.

It’s time to think big! Not for anyone else’s sake. Just for you.
When you grow, the world grows.
Align your voice with yourself.
Get help if you need to, and know that everything is possible.

Happy Singing!

© Nína O’Farrell 2020
© Photo by Jan Valle

Feel free to leave questions / comments.

Discovering Your Sound

Your authentic voice is gold.

Sound is an incredibly exciting area when it comes to singing. Especially these days where so many people think about how they sound, instead of honouring their authentic voices.
In this blog, I share the simple truth behind the concept of sound.

When you sing or speak, your vocal chords vibrate, your body resonates and voila, there is sound. What kind of sound you make depends on your body type (how your body is built) and how you’re using your voice, e. g. how much you’ve trained your voice and equally important, how you’ve trained your voice. That’s the physical side of things.

The mindset is another matter, and a big problem occurs when we try to imitate other people or get stuck in how a certain genre needs to sound; the unique and authentic voice goes out the window.
I’ll give you an example: Lots of pop singers today seem to think that you need to sound in a certain way to make it. The same goes for classical singers; a lot of them adapt an “opera sound” that has very little to do with what is the point of opera.
The end result is that a lot of the singers out there sound the same.

This approach then feeds into choirs and – worst of all – children, who are too often trained to sound in a certain way, or who think they need to imitate imitating singers…

Let’s get to the good news: Sound is the last thing you need to worry about. You actually don’t need to worry about it at all, because it’s for people who listen to you to figure out wheather they enjoy your singing or not.

All you need to focus on is your expression. Go for expression, not sound, and you’ll stay more authentic and grounded.

Please take a moment to consider it. Sound is driven by our ego. Expression is what matters. Stay strong and stay with your voice. It’s beautiful, I know. How? Because I’ve never come across anything less than a lovely voice as a voice teacher. I work with the core of the voice, and it’s always beautiful.

When your voice is in balance, you can communicate easily in an authentic way. It will also sound good, but that’s just a bonus. And what is more, the way you sound will change.

It’s quite wonderful that the core of your voice will stay the same, but the sound will evolve and grow as you grow.

Happy Singing!

© Nína O’Farrell 2021
Photo by Jean Balzan

Feel free to leave questions / comments.

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