Advice for a lousy (and stage-frightened) singer?

Tom McDonald
04/30/10 01:55:19AM
Just had our annual Coffehouse at the Hills of Kentucky Dulcimers. A great concert full of memorable performances.

I had worked hard on singing "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda."Between my standard and baritone dulcimers, I've got nine or ten out ofthe 12 keys covered. You'd think I could sing in one of them. But thereI was, croaking away in our dining room at maybe 0230 last night (we'renight owls at my house), searching again for that elusive Key That ICan Sing In.

Asked my wife what she thought; she said I wasn't ready for prime time.Maybe someday, but not now. She was right, and I played something elsetonight. Badly. My own fault, I ran myself out of rehearsal timetrying to do something else. Plus, I'm a confident public speaker, but alousy stage performer. Bob Dylan songs I play perfectly at home turninto a mess of tangled strings and misplaced frets with an audience,or even with a camera running. We're talking about stuff I canliterally play with my eyes closed. (I'm using "literal" in the literalsense here, not as hyperbole). I'm frustrated, and ready to give up onsolo performance except for harmonica.

My wife couldn't come to the concert, so she gave me two words of adviceas I left the house: "Don't sing." I think she was worried that Iwould change my mind when I got there. Even my cat gave me The Look.

So, any advice on how us non-singers can find our voice? I can stay onkey, at least in some keys, but sound like I'm being strangled.