6 Tricks to make your singing practice more effective
Posted by Pratibha Sarathy on 24 Sep 2016
Every student of music is sufficiently aware of the importance of practice. But implementing an effective and regular practice regime is easier said than done! Here are a few practical tips that could help you bring in a sturdy practice regime.
1. Practice at the same time everyday: It often happens that you really intended to practice, but failed to do it because something came up. A fixed practice slot creates a routine and increases the chances of you practicing regularly. Choose a time when you are least likely to be disturbed by any other activities and fix it as your daily practice slot. Take that time slot seriously and try to schedule your other activities surrounding it.
2. Always start with warm up exercises: No matter how good a singer you are, when you wake up after a long night's sleep, your vocal cords are sluggish after many hours of rest. So, suddenly stretching them through intense singing can damage your voice. Always start slowly with warm up exercises and then gradually intensify your practice session.
3. Know when to stop: It is a myth that long hours of practice make a great singer. Each person's voice has a stamina limit beyond which it gets exhausted. Pushing your voice beyond that limit can damage your cords. If you are a beginner, start with 20-30 minutes a day and gradually increase it as you progress further. If possible, split your practice regime into 2 sessions at different times of the day so that you are able to achieve the same level of practice without stressing your voice.
4. Practice vocal exercises for lasting impact: Students often find it more interesting to sing songs during their practice sessions. While that's the end objective, songs alone cannot help develop your voice. Only regular practice of vocal exercises can lead to more vocal strength, stamina and flexibility. Once that is achieved, your song practice will become much easier and better. Not only that. When you practice a song, the final product is limited to that one song. But when you do a vocal exercise regularly, you master an entire attribute of your singing which will help you render several songs with ease.
5. Be efficient: It is not only important how much you practice everyday but how well you practice. Practice sessions should be focused and efficient. Merely singing the same line/exercise 10 times would not make it better. It is important that you listen to yourself and monitor the correctness of your practice. If you introspect on what you are doing wrong and put in all your concentration to avoid that, you may get it right within 3 attempts rather than 10. Smart practice for a short duration is more effective than slogging it out for several hours without enough focus or correction.
6. Nothing like morning practice: Warming up your voice in the morning is very different from warming it up during any other time of the day. When you warm up soon after waking up, your voice is fresh and undisturbed. When you gradually warm up your voice from the relaxed state, it gets exercised and opens up in a healthy, safe manner. It will be better prepared to handle the strain caused by the various vocal activities during the day like talking, singing or yelling! If you directly start using your voice to talk without warming up in the morning, there is a chance of your vocal cords getting strained, which will also affect the quality of your practice later in the day.