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Becoming a Great Singer

Becoming a great singer an aspiration of just about every vocalist, yet so few realize being a "great" singer isn't something you're born with but something one achieves through equally great practice, training, and discipline. A couple lessons on their own won't dramatically transform you into the singer you want to be. Being a great singer is a lifestyle and accumulation of many years of work.

Singers more than other instrumentalists have a harder time with this idea of the discipline and commitment learning to sing brings with it, as singers don't think of themselves as instrumentalists, only singers, as if it is different. It is true that singers are different; we do not have an external instrument to hold in our hands. Instead our voice and body working together is our instrument and just like any other, one must learn to play it over time. An aspiring singer must come at it with the same focus, dedication, and patience as one would having decided to learn, for instance, the violin. I also like using analogies of ballet and dance with voice as in dance too your body is your instrument and you have to learn to play it in a new way. Before making good new habits you have to retrain your daily motions and activities. This in addition to the personal nature of the voice is the most substantial obstacle for the aspiring vocalist.

So many times singers come in after years of not having lessons or regular practice and announce they are preparing for an audition just a few weeks or even months away, with the mindset that singing it is like a marathon and a couple months of intensive training gets you to the finish line and then it's over. This could not be further from the truth. Your entire life should be leading up to that audition; there should be years of work behind it and after it. There are lots of singers out there, especially if you are a soprano. It is one of the most competitive fields in the entire world. If you want to get cast, you have to bring it. Work hard to earn the right to compete one day and not with an audition and end-date already in mind. Start auditioning only when you are ready. When it comes to learning to sing, you can't pull an all-nighter and cram it all down. It takes time. If you are serious about becoming a truly great vocalist it is up to you to make the decision to commit to training regularly for the long-term. Your commitment must include the following:

1) Weekly, 60 mins lessons with a very knowledgeable classical teacher you work well with and see positive results from over short and long periods of time. Record these lessons. Once at a high pre-professional to professional level, you will want to also include coaching sessions between lessons.

2) Daily practice, 60 mins per session, which replicates your recent lessons. There is no point taking lessons if you are not going to practice. Practice is just as important as the lesson. Save yourself the money and skip lessons altogether if you cannot practice regularly with intent. Think of your practice time as study time. Aimlessly singing whatever you feel like can be fun but will not be productive. Practice with the recording of a recent lesson and work on the items that the teacher went over. If you haven't figured them out yet, try and try and try again until you do. When you do, practice and practice and practice it over and over to make it a new motor memory. You want new technique to become automatic so you can layer more and more on. This is the accumulation process.

3) Having a positive, can-do attitude. Take chances and don't be afraid to try new things. So many times I'll give my students a new technique and instead of giving it a try, they say they can't do it, say it's impossible, or are simply too scared to try. It is understandable to be scared as the voice is a very personal instrument. But don't get in your own way of progress! Give it your best shot and try and try again until you get it. You might not get it the first time or even 100th time and until you do it might not work out perfectly. Here is a secret... your teacher didn't get it the first time either. We had to experiment too and expect that it often takes doing it all the wrong ways first before finding the right way. The more mistakes you make the closer you are to getting to the "right mistake" that we call technique!

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Oct 03, 2021

Nice bblog post

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