There are two situations that are constantly plaguing singers when it comes to practising. One is they spend hours practising a certain technique or song all week, only to come to class to find that they have the same problem they’ve just tried to fix. The second situation is that they genuinely don’t have 30 to 60 minutes every day to go to “vocal gym,” and so don’t end up practising at all.
What these situations lead to is demotivation and frustration, quite possibly the worst feelings for us singers. In class, when I go over these dilemmas with my students, it almost always comes down to the singer not knowing how to practice in the most efficient and effective way.
Here is one way to practice smartly:
IMPROVEMENT THROUGH A SONG
Choose a repertoire piece that you’d like to work on, or are currently struggling with.
Tackle the biggest issue that you are currently experiencing with that piece, for example: “I keep on cracking during those phrases in the chorus.”
From there, look at what technique is required in order to fix that problem. So, if you are continually cracking on those phrases, for that week, you are going to work on strengthening your TA (Thyroarytenoid) or chest voice muscle. (Keep in mind there could be a few reasons why you are struggling. Choose one for the week so that you are not too overwhelmed).
Ask your vocal coach for 3 strengthening exercises that are in the range of that phrase.
Instead of doing 30 minutes of just singing, spend 5 minutes warming up and 10 minutes doing those 3 exercises. 10 minutes gives you the flexibility to work through them slowly and precisely. If you do 10 minutes of strength training every day, you will absolutely feel and hear improvement the following week in your class.
Remember that by doing this strength training, you are not only nailing your song but rather building strength and stamina for your voice in general. My favourite mantra in my studio is “it’s a muscle, not a miracle”. The voice needs time to develop. You won’t get a six-pack by doing a general workout at the gym, you need exercises that specifically target your core. Similarly, you aren’t going to be able to sing ‘The Wizard and I’ from Wicked full out without having an awesome chest register.
15 minutes of focussed and sound practise a day is better than 30 minutes of singing with poor technique. So, break it down, break it in, and watch your voice flourish.
If you would like to book a session with me, you can click HERE Our mission is to create technical and artistic vocal superiority through sound and safe vocal coaching.
All sessions are in alignment with vocal techniques currently used on Broadway and the West End.