How Often Should You Practice Voice?

One of the most frequent questions I get from my students, especially beginner vocalists, is :

“ how often should I practice?”

The big question to ask yourself is: how quickly do you want to progress? This will determine how often you should be spending on your own practicing.

Are you taking lessons with a specific goal in mind, such as becoming a dynamic musical theatre performer? Then count on practicing almost every day for about an hour . This includes your vocal exercises (warm ups) and polishing your repertoire.

Same goes if you’ve got aspirations of being an opera diva or divo. These genres have higher demands and require much more from you mentally and physically than somebody that does NOT want to go pro! 

But what if you’re like the majority of my students, and you’re taking lessons just for fun? Because singing feels good, and you find it enriching?Naturally, you still want to sound better…but you’re not looking to make a career of it (in fact, the idea of getting up in front of people to sing may horrify you! You're not alone!). 
In that case, I usually suggest at least 20 minutes about 3-4 times a week. You can still build up a voice this way, believe it or not! Hey, it's like they say about exercise: "don't NOT exercise if you can't get a long workout in-every bit counts!" 

Same for vocal training. Whatever you can do definitely, definitely counts! Even if that means a few lip trills or whatnot in the shower or car...really! 

Here are some pointers on how to practice voice, whether you are taking lessons to be professional OR avocational:

1) FOCUS. Take a moment to quiet your mind and get comfortable. Try and eliminate any distractions, if possible. Find a quiet, comfortable space where you won’t be distracted .This prepares you for any performance situation as well.

2) Warm-up- with FUN!: This is your “mini practice”. You’re figuring out what your favorite exercises are, so use them! Use your imagination. Sing a scale in a new way- use movement, change the rhythm, sing it in a certain style (opera! gospel! power ballad!), dance. You get the idea- don’t edit yourself! This puts you in a great frame of mind for working with your repertoire. 

3) Now, the rehearsal: your songs! Have more fun here by really getting creative . Invent a character that is singing this song. Be overly dramatic. Sing your song in “nonsense words”, When learning the musical aspects of your song, break it down into small areas (maybe learning the rhythm and pitches 8 measures at a time, for example). It’s important to pace yourself so you stay focused. 

4) PERFORM! There should be a “performance” in very practice session: no stopping, and you’re singing before an audience. This is excellent preparation for the real thing, should you choose to do some performing in the future! And if not? It's still good practice! 

One final tip for practicing voice: RECORD! This is the best way to measure how you’re improving. If you can, video record so you can see AND hear. 

Yes, it can be difficult to see/hear yourself sing at first.
As I tell my students, start small. Even if you listen for five minutes. You'll get used to it, and before you know it you'll LIKE what you hear and see! 

Remember, practice doesn’t make perfect but it DOES make progress! Be easy on yourself in this journey as a singer, and you’ll find your voice develops a lot easier. Being overly critical or too demanding in your expectations of yourself will make it a lot more difficult to reach your goals. It all starts in the mind- not the larynx! Your attitude is a HUGE part of this whole process.

If you need further encouragement, I am always here for you.

Book a private lesson today! 

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