Is The Way You Practice An Obstacle To Your Singing Dreams? 

By  Judy Fine

Is the way you practice an obstacle to your singing dreams?

If you spend a lot of time practicing singing but you don't feel that you're getting to where you want to be, you might be practicing ineffectively. 

Check out the 6 common practice snafus that students run into, and make sure you're not falling into the same traps.

You deserve to reach your singing goals. Go get them!

  • Overexertion without Rest: Singers may sometimes practice excessively without allowing their vocal cords proper rest, leading to vocal strain or even injury. Pushing too hard without giving the voice time to recover can hinder progress and may result in long-term damage, preventing them from reaching their full potential or even pursuing a singing career.

    • Solution: Rest and recover whenever necessary, but more importantly, learn to stop pushing yourself before you fatigue your voice. It's okay, even necessary to push your limits, but do this in increments so that excessive recovery time becomes unnecessary.
  • Poor Technique Reinforcement: If a singer practices without guidance or correct instruction, they might inadvertently reinforce bad habits or techniques. Continuously practicing with flawed vocal technique can limit vocal range, tone quality, and overall performance ability. Without intervention to correct these habits, the singer may find it challenging to progress or achieve their desired level of skill.

    • Solution: Technique is king when you're learning to sing. You can't build new and better skills on a shoddy foundation. That's why I created the Singer-Athlete Workout Program. It uses the kinds of exercises, tools, and information I needed to go from average to great singing.
  • Ignoring Warm-Up and Exercise Routines: Skipping warm-up and exercise routines before practice sessions can be detrimental to a singer's vocal health and long-term progress. Proper warm-up exercises help prepare the vocal cords for the demands of singing by increasing blood flow, loosening muscles, and improving flexibility. Vocal exercises isolate (or should) specific vocal skills to build them in every part of a singer's range - so they can later be enjoyed while singing songs

  • Limited Repertoire Exploration: Singers who only practice within a narrow range of genres or styles may find themselves limited in their versatility and marketability. While specialization is important, neglecting to explore diverse musical genres can hinder opportunities for growth and adaptation to different audiences. It may also limit the singer's ability to collaborate with other musicians or participate in various performance opportunities, thereby constraining their potential career advancement.

    • Solution: Try a variety of styles and skills when you do your songwork. Don't be afraid to genre hop and learn from the greats who came before you. BUT don't fall into this next trap...
  • Copying the Singer Instead of Being the Singer: While emulation is an important element of developing new skills, it is crucial that singers discover their own personal style. Singers who prioritize emulation over exploring their personal artistry may develop bad habits as well as never discover all they can be and what makes them stand out as an artist. 

    • Solution: Singing along with another singer to learn a new song or attempt to emulate a specific singing skill is absolutely fine. But to develop your own style, you should quickly move to singing with karaoke/instrumental tracks. You an only "be the singer" when you're the only singer.
  • Singing Through Songs Instead of Working On Song Delivery: If your practice session consists of turning on a song, singing it through to the end, and then turning on the next song, you ARE singing but you ARE NOT practicing. Singing like this is fun, and you should definitely do it from time to time. But this is an ineffective way to improve your skills because you're not actually working on anything.

    • Solution: Skills improve through repetition and experimentation. That means, for example, if you sing the chorus of a song and your voice squawks, you need to go back and analyze why. Were you pushing from your throat instead of your core? Did you tense your tongue? Do you simple need to do more head voice exercises? Try the chorus again with extra focus on transforming the possible causes so that you can eliminate future squawks. That's practicing.

Judy Fine

Judy Fine has been a vocal and performance coach since 2007, specializing in artist development coaching for aspiring singers and confidence coaching for everyone.

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