Personality Type in Singing


Personality type plays a large role in the success of any singer, both while going through the necessary years of extensive study and training and when on-stage performing.  As a consequence, it is very important that singers understand their personality type, their strengths, their failings, and be willing to make the necessary changes and adaptations to ensure that they have the requisite combination of drive and calmness for singing.

Most singers know that it requires a great deal of tenacity, as well as a tremendous amount of drive to become a performing singer.  The amount of time, effort, money and self-sacrifice needed to study for decades is not for the fainthearted or someone with only a casual interest.  The singer has to be single-minded in many respects, making singing his/her highest priority.

At the same time, it is of critical importance that singers approach singing with calmness and mindful, easy focus.  The vocal mechanism is extremely small and subtle. A sledgehammer approach will result in unnecessary pushing and very poor quality singing.  Singers need to learn to be calm and in control of their bodies, even in stressful audition and performance circumstances.  This is a challenging goal, but can be improved drastically with consistent practice and finding modalities that encourage calm, mindful attention.

The different personality types can help identify and label strengths and weaknesses for singers, so they can analyze their own behaviors better and make any appropriate adjustments.  Type A personalities are those that are driven, ambitious, organized and hard-working. These are the classic workaholics who overcommit and end up working far too many hours to live up to their obligations.  Type A personalities love being in control and have difficulty relaxing – they even have difficulty taking breaks to socialize, take a much needed nap, etc.   Type B personalities, on the other hand, are much more relaxed, patient and calm, tending to be much less competitive than Type A personalities.  They enjoy being social and get along well with others in groups. Type B personalities take longer to get stressed and overwhelmed and can often remain calm even in difficult circumstances.

Most people don’t fall utterly and completely into either Type A or Type B category, but are a combination of characteristics, falling more into one or the other category.   There are many more characteristics of both personality types and it is worthwhile doing a little research about them to figure out which characteristics apply to you.  Speaking with family and friends can help you have a fresh perspective on your own patterns.

Type A personalities definitely have drive, determination and tenacity and Type B personalities have the calmness and ability to remain relaxed in stressful situations.  All of these qualities are absolutely necessary for the successful singer.  That means that singers with Type A personalities need to learn how to relax and calm themselves, whereas Type B personalities need to work on upping their drive, ambition and organization.

I have had both Type A and Type B personalities in my studio. Each group has its challenges. Type A singers are definitely highly-strung, excitable and prone to pushing and doing too much excess work when singing.  These singers are so used to pushing hard towards every goal that it is sometimes difficult for them to even understand how important it is to learn to calm their minds and bodies at will. That is a shame, because some talented singers are never able to accept that a large part of what is required for singing is somewhat alien to their personality type.  They continue pushing and never realize the true depth of their talent.  Type B personalities are much more laid back, chatty, and relaxed, but often don’t understand the amount of energy required in body connection for support/breath resistance and for an exciting on-stage persona.  It can be very difficult to teach these singers how to energize when they aren’t used to energizing at all and have a very laid-back approach to life.  Therefore, some of these singers never experience a fully-supported sound or realize their full talent.

The ideal singer will be willing to work to possess all of these essential qualities simultaneously.  That means stepping outside of your comfort zone, taking risks, not being afraid of making mistakes.  It means truly trying to make substantial changes in what is essentially your own innate personality.  This is far from an easy task, but it is doable.  It is possible to address your weaknesses and turn them into assets.  Once you have more self-knowledge, you can begin to map out a plan to enhance your strengths and work on your weaknesses.It is possible for Type A personalities to learn to relax and be open, just as it is possible for Type B personalities to learn to be more ambitious and focused on their goals.  All it takes is awareness and the willingness to make an effort.


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