Life can get a little crazy sometimes – we get it. But if you really want to become a better singer, you’ll need to make the commitment to practice! Here are some tips for fitting in singing practice from online singing teacher Liz T.:
So you want make a good habit of a daily singing practice routine, but don’t exactly have the time for a private lesson everyday? (Nor should you be overusing your voice everyday!) You might be getting frustrated because you work all day, are tired at night, have family/home responsibilities, and the last thing you want to do is practice scales at night! It is very important that no matter how busy you are, you continue your singing practice as a daily routine. If you go several months without singing, because you get so caught up in other activities, your vocal stamina is going to suffer! Singing between 5-20 minutes a day is going to keep your voice healthy and active just like an athlete!
Below are some quick tips that will help you feel vocally refreshed and keep your voice active during the day. Plus, these exercises are simple to do, can be done from most anywhere, and only take a few minutes! Perfect for you!
1. Find a small, quiet place, where you can spend at least 5-20 minutes of your day by yourself. It doesn’t matter if this is in the morning or at night; it can be as you’re starting your day in the morning, in the bathroom or the shower, during your commute to work/school in the car, back at home at night cooking dinner in the kitchen, in your bedroom, or your backyard could be an option too! It is important that you find a space where you can warm up privately alone, even if you have to go into a closet to get away from roommates or younger siblings! The point is you want to feel comfortable warming up, and not be worried about people hearing you.
2. Start with simple warm ups. Humming is a great way to start warming up your voice, starting at a comfortable range in your voice. You do not need to overdo these vocal warm ups – keep it very light and simple. You are working your muscles just as an athlete stretches his or her muscles before a game. Humming (either before an audition, or when you wake up in the morning) to see what condition your voice is in (especially if you are sick or suffering from allergies) is a great way to keep your voice strong and healthy!
3. Work on a song or your audition piece. After you have spent about 5-10 minutes on a light and easy warm up, you can move on to a song you are working on for fun or for an audition. The key is not to sing full out at first; if you are pressed for time, do a quick “mark” or run-through at half volume of the song, and then sing the song or section full out once. Some people do this right before an audition, to make sure they can hit all the notes or phrases. Singing the song full out once or twice will do minimal damage and is considered a healthy approach to warming up. Belting your song full out ten times before an audition is not effective, as by the time your audition rolls around, your voice may be extremely tired and fatigued – and because you hit those notes ten minutes ago, you may not be able to hit them again, since they have been overused!
4. Do not sing in inappropriate public places. The life of an aspiring singer is often very busy and challenging, going on several auditions each day and working several different jobs. Again, I recommend finding a nice, quiet space to yourself to warm up. Oftentimes, I see people on the subway, walking down the street, waiting in line at lunch, or in school warming up at the top of their lungs (some do it to show off!). This is not healthy for your voice, and most often not comfortable for others. We all get that you are an aspiring singer, and your voice is important to you, but if you are battling the noise of subway trains moving by, or singing outside when it’s raining, or in a busy school cafeteria, your voice is going to become fatigued very soon, and you won’t really be able to hear yourself. The only exception I make is warming up in a car, if there really is no other time or place to do your daily routine. Just be careful not to get distracted! Also, many people wear headphones when they warm up to music; this is okay to a point, but I recommend putting one earbud in your ear and keeping the other out of your ear, so you can hear the music and yourself!
If you follow these simple steps, you should be able to have a more effective, quick vocal warm up as part of your daily routine in your busy schedule!
Liz T. teaches online singing, acting, and music lessons. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M in Vocal performance and currently performs/teaches all styles of music including Musical Theater, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, R&B, and Country. Learn more about Liz here!