Have you ever wondered whether you are getting the most out of your singing practice?
Do you ever feel like you have hit a lull in your ascent toward your goals?
In this post I am going to outline some proven strategies to keep you moving towards where you want to be as a singer.
The two elements of practice that I will outline in this blog post are:
1. Adopting a consistent & effective practice session structure
2. Journaling/reflecting on your practice
These things may seem like a no-brainer to you if you have been studying music for a long time. However, a refresh on the motivation behind these strategies will hopefully encourage you to recharge your practice routine & achieve your goals with greater ease.
Adopting a consistent & effective practice session structure
“Today I sang though my favourite songs for 30mins on my commute to work, such a great way to save time with my practice.”
“I didn’t have a lot of time today, so I skipped the warmups and sang through all three of my songs once.”
“I didn’t really think about setting time around my housemates today to practice, so I just hummed through my songs under my breath.”
Okay, if any of these ring true to you on the regular, it might be time to push out of that comfort zone & revamp your routine! Yes, all three of these scenarios WILL help you improve by helping you memorise your songs & exercising your voice. But, this type of practice won’t get you to your goals efficiently (or possibly at all...), especially if this is your main type of practice.
So, what does an effective practice session look like?
A practice session should be structured similarly to a singing lesson. A step-by-step example of how I like to practice:
1. 5-15 mins of vocal warmups and exercises
- 1-3 mins of Breathing exercises & making sure my body is loose and well balanced ready to sing.
- Gentle warmups to get my voice moving e.g. lip trills, sirens, gentle exercises
- Building up to more intense technique, agility & ear training exercises
If you're looking for some good basic vocal exercises, check out these on YouTube.
2. Think through what I am working on with the song/s I am going through today. E.g. ensuring I am singing the tough high note with the correct placement & support.
3. Sing the song through & then go back and revise the parts which I am wanting to improve on. These two can work together in a cycle until you feel you have achieved your goal for the session.
4. Reflect on your practice session, writing down what went well & what you struggled with. Then think about what you can work on next session.
This is what an effective singing practice session looks like. It really does make a big difference when you structure your practice time effectively. The session can be shortened or lengthened depending on how much time you have, but at least you know your time will be well spent in working towards your goals.
So, how many times a week should I practice?
If you have the time, I recommend practicing 5 times a week. However, some students don’t have enough time in their schedule for 5 good practices a week. In that case, I would say try to fit in a minimum of 2 practice sessions (and your lesson doesn’t count as one of these 😊). A good way to stay consistent is by scheduling the practice time in your calendar, like an appointment.
Why should I use a practice journal? And how do I do this effectively?
Practice journaling is an opportunity reflect on your practice in a healthy way. Many of us tend to get lost in overthinking & feeling down on ourselves if we feel we aren’t meeting our goals for a practice session. Additionally, if you find yourself just singing through songs and not making enough progress then journaling can also help you to push your boundaries with healthy reflection.
A practice journal entry should look something like this:
1. What I Practiced
2. What went well
3. What I struggled with
4. What I will work on next session
This kind of reflection helps you to stay on track with your goals & notice the areas that you are needing more work on your craft. Additionally, it helps you to reflect on the positive parts of your practice so that you are staying motivated to keep going.
If you enjoy using pen and paper to journal, I have published a practice journal! This journal includes daily practice reflection prompts & quarterly goal planners (featuring the S.M.A.R.T goal method) to help you reach your goals as a singer & musician.
If you are interested in purchasing one for your practice, you can do so via the link below:
If you have any additional questions regarding your singing practice or comments to add about this post, I’d love to hear from you. You can reach me at email@example.com.
All the best with your practice!
Vocal Coach & Director at Melody Suite