It’s not overly uncommon for students or any growing vocalist to ask me how much they should practice.
But to me, how much you practice isn’t near as important as what you’re doing while you practice.
Don’t get me wrong, practicing on a regular basis is a very important part of developing as a singer.
If you want to get better, you’ve got to practice. But not all practice is created equal.
So I figured I’d write this article to give you some pointers on how much to practice, what to focus on, and how to practice more efficiently.
So let’s get to it!
The Process – How to Practice Singing?
Below, I’m include what I believe to be one of the most effective practice structures a singer can use.
First, start off by balancing your voice with a warm up.
Then, break the song down into smaller chunks. Practicing in small chunks helps you stay focused and execute these sections more accurately.
After you’ve done that, put the sections of song together piece by piece. Make sure you’re continuing to execute what you were practicing in smaller chunks.
Continue this until you are singing the whole song perfectly.
Now, let me go into a little bit more detail about that.
The Vocal Warm Up
When practicing, always start with a warm up.
The purpose of a warm up is to build the proper coordination and balance for singing. It’s like stretching for an athlete.
Warm up properly and you’ll be poised and ready for singing.
Skip the warm up and you’ll likely feel more clunky and experience less vocal freedom.
I’d suggest taking at least 10-15 minutes to warm up (I regularly go as long as 30 mins).
Practice the Song in Smaller Chunks
The most effective way to practice anything is breaking it down into smaller pieces.
When you start practicing your song, you want to break it down into smaller sections.
You may choose to break the song up into sections and practice a verse, chorus, or bridge at a time.
Or, if you’re working on something harder, you may even want to break it down further, practicing only a couple of lines at a time.
The benefit of working in these smaller sections is it allows you focus on perfecting every element.
Elements like the inflection you use, the stylistic elements you add, the tone, the phrasing, the texture. The list is endless.
Once you perfect your first smaller section, move onto the next one, then the next. This is how you practice to perfect a song.
As a side note, I believe waaaaay too many singers make the mistake of repeatedly singing through the whole song over and over while practicing.
This is bad because once you’re a few lines in, you go on auto pilot and rarely change anything.
You can’t build a house in a day… first you need to lay the concrete, then put up the framework, then wire the electrical, then add the walls, the roof, windows, etc.
It can’t all be done at once. You can only focus on one thing at a time.
Said different, you can’t focus on all of the various different elements you want to add vocally in a song while singing the whole song over and over.
So don’t be afraid to take the time to break things down and really perfect the song piece by piece.
Once you do this, you’re ready to start putting it all together.
Putting It All Together
With all the smaller chunks of the song practiced and perfected, it’s time to put them back together.
Start with the first verse and add few lines at a time.
Doing this allows you to focus on the new lines, making sure they are solid.
But also, singing through it from the top of that verse helps you engrain the front part of that verse, ensuring it stay strong.
Once the whole verse is coming together well, it’s time to move onto the chorus. then the next verse and so on.
Then, all you have to do is all together and your song should be sounding pretty epic.
This method of practicing a song has been extremely effective for me as a teacher, and for my students.
Give it a try and see if it’s as effective for you as it has been for me.
Vocal Coach Ken Taylor
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P.S.S. – I’ve included an older video where I talk about the ideas I mentioned in this article. If you can get past the poor video quality, you may find it helpful.