You love to sing… and you know how important it is to sing every day… but is all that practice really helping? Here, Brooklyn, NY voice teacher Liz T. shares how to make the most of your singing practice routine…
If you’re not sure how to balance your singing practice routine at home, you’re not alone! Many vocal students get overwhelmed trying to figure out how long to spend warming up, working on vocal technique, and running through songs. While your voice teacher should be your first resource for determining your specific practice routine, I’ve outlined some tips below to get you thinking.
Let’s look at a one-hour voice practice, typically for a high school or college student who is serious about pursuing music, broken into three 20-minute sessions.
20 minutes: Warm-ups
It’s very important that you start your practice singing session off right away with warming up your voice. Just as an athlete warms up his or her muscles and joints before a game or practice, singers need to warm up their vocal cords, tone, and range before a performance or practice. There are many different warm-ups a singer can do, including ones that work on:
- Breath Support
- Low Range/High Range
- Head voice/Chest voice
20 minutes: Song study
Use this time to work on that song you are trying to make performance-ready. This time should be spent on:
- Learning the melody and rhythm
- Memorizing lyrics, and working on good diction and pronunciation
- Mastering the vocal style and genre of the song, and making sure you are using the appropriate vocal tone
- Making the song your own by incorporating your own musical interpretation and acting technique
20 minutes: Vocal technique
Just as ballet dancers focus on their body technique, by perfecting footsteps, singers must work on their vocal technique by practicing different musical techniques. There are several ways to help you improve your singing, which will require studying and an open mind! These techniques include:
- Improvisation (learning how to scat and sing a blues scale)
- Ear training
- Sight reading
Many singers do not take the time to learn these techniques, but the sooner you learn them, the easier they will become. If you can improvise and use solfege in your sight reading, and are proficient in ear training and harmony, you will be at the top of your game!
Are you more of a visual learner? Check out this handy infographic to learn how to break up your singing practice routine for maximum efficiency:
Finally, I would suggest taping or recording your voice with an iPhone, computer, or tape recorder, to hear how your voice is progressing each week, month, year, and so on as you’re learning to sing. I hope you take these tips into consideration during your next vocal practice — and if you would like more help on balancing and managing your time, book a vocal lesson with me online today through TakeLessons!
Liz T. teaches singing, acting, and music lessons in Brooklyn, NY, as well as online. 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!
Photo by Patrick Hopf