Using musical creativity to avoid burnout

I stumbled across an amazing podcast this morning.  Check out  ‘Unlocking Us’ by Brené Brown on Spotify or Apple


The episode was an interview with Emily & Amelia Nagoski and was promoting their book ‘Burnout – The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cyle’. 

Gosh.. isn’t that something we all need right now? 

It’s stating the obvious that we’ve ALL had a really tough year. But somehow we’ve all rallied and in many ways we have stuck together, we’ve compromised, we’ve improvised, we’ve refused to let COVID-19 take away the things we love and in amongst the grit and determination…. we are all exhausted

The podcast talks about the ‘Stress Cycle’ and how every stressful event has to run it’s course from start to finish. Unless we allow ourselves to complete the cycle, the emotion can become ‘trapped’ in our bodies and result in physical and emotional burnout. 

I won’t go into a huge amount of detail (you can listen to the podcast and read the book), but basically the podcast discusses the most efficient ways to ‘finish your feelings and complete the stress cycle’. These include…

  • Physical Activity
  • Breathing
  • Positive Social Interaction – Team work and interacting with others, that make you feel safe
  • Laughter – real laughter… not the fake, socially posed type that lubricates conversations.
  • Hugging a familiar person – for 20 seconds… until relaxed.
  • Crying
  • Creativity – Take whatever is inside you and use it outside you to paint, knit, sing, dance, draw or play a musical instrument.

When I sat back and looked at this list… I thought…

WOW! You can literally get ALL of these things by attending a singing lesson.

Okay.. yes, I’m fully aware that hugging at this point in time is not allowed. But everything else can be instigated by singing both in person and online. 

We are all fully aware that singing is physical activity and relies heavily on controlled breathing techniques. Even if we meet online, students are able to socially interact and positively achieve with each other and their teacher. There can be plenty of laughter in lessons.  We do all kinds of silly little exercises and keep the mood light hearted as we share what’s been happening during the week. A particular song can make us cry as we relate to feelings and emotions from our past and that’s perfectly okay because it helps you to connect with the lyrics. And the creativity part… kind of goes without saying.

My students have often heard me say, that one of the reasons I love teaching singing is because it’s equal amounts Science and Artistry.  The science consists of anatomy, psychology and physics all bundled into the intricacies of vocal pedagogy and technique. However, a technically brilliant singer, who performs with out creativity, connection and emotion is definitely boring and certainly won’t leave an audience member feeling something inside.

The best performers are those who have the creative ability to reach inside the audience members souls and make them feel, remember and hope. And often their performance wasn’t technically perfect… 

Singing isn’t for everyone. But it may just be for you… I find it really sad that lots of people resist that burning desire to work with a teacher. Maybe they feel stupid, maybe they think they’re not good enough or maybe they don’t see the value in pursuing a lifelong passion.

Well, as you can see… there is plenty of value in singing on a regular basis both physically and emotionally and given that all of us are most likely at risk of emotional burnout, singing your heart out might just be the medicine you need to complete one or many of the daily stress cycles that life serves to you.

So what are you waiting for? Press play and belt out your favourite tunes!

Until next time,

Clare xxx

Written by..

Clare Assetta

BSc, Dip Ed, Level 3 Voice Coach

Owner and Director of Freedom Music Studios