How long does it take to sing well?!
‘How long does it take to sing well’……. this is a common question I receive from new clients.
There is no generalizing answer to that question but here are a few factors which will influence the result.
#1: How often do you practice?
There is still a widespread opinion that singing is something that can’t be learned and practicing or not practicing does not make a difference, but this is very far from the truth.
Vocal exercises train the little muscles in your larynx, pharynx and mouth to coordinate properly. Practice makes this coordination accessible and it strengthens it. If you want to become a better singer, practice.
#2: In what shape is your voice?
There are certain lifestyles, foods, substances and habits known to harm the voice. Alcohol, cigarettes, late night food, lack of sleep, vocal abuse during the day (shouting or pushing your voice a lot) etc. contribute to making it harder for your voice and therefore your progress will be slower. Be gentle to your voice and take care of it!
#3: How musical are you?
Singing is not only about making the sounds we need for the song. It is about creating emotions in our listeners. It is not enough to sing the melody with the correct pitches, you also need to apply a good rhythm to make it groove, sing in tune, use proper phrasing, add style. Being musical can tremendously help you with that. I believe that everyone is musical, though it might come more natural to some people. I would recommend learning an additional instrument, like guitar, piano or drums or taking some harmony singing classes or joining a choir.
#4: Are you already starting with good habits?
Sometimes singers have had years of live-singing with bands and many habits have adapted in their voice. Some of them are great, others might be less beneficial. Making new habits in this case takes longer as the old ones have to be ‘overwritten’ first and then be replaced with new ones. Until the new habits are automatic and become accessible by ‘default’ it takes practice and time. That’s why sometimes unexperienced singers learn quicker because they don’t have many bad habits to change.
#5: What’s your end goal?
Ask yourself if your goal is realistic and also if it’s authentic and genuine.
Is it realistic?
If your just starting and your goal is to become a singer like Celine Dion or Luciano Pavarotti, you might be in for the long run. Those singers are not only very gifted but they have also trained for many years/decades to master their craft. Discuss your vocal goals with your vocal coach, they should be able to guide you towards what’s realistic and what is not.
Is it authentic?
Sometimes we have goals which come from our ego (like e.g. I want people to say I sound great). Try to come up with goals from your heart (e.g. I want to touch people with my music or encourage people to be strong during difficult times etc). That’s much more powerful than the goals set by our Egos.
#6: Are you focusing on the right things?
Instead of thinking ‘when am I done’, focus on the progress and enjoy the process.
You should see improvement constantly but keep in mind that anything in life comes with peeks, plateaus and valleys and these can happen for a short, extended or longer period of time (see Music & Long Term Relationships).
The relationship we have with our instrument, whether that’s the voice, any other instrument or any relationship in general, we will face peaks, valleys and plateaus. Rather than feeling discouraged or frustrated by valleys and plateaus, embrace the journey. Think back to what you already know and are able to master and focus on building on that.
#7: Be brave, stand out, be unique
Work on becoming the best singer you can but don’t forget to stay true to yourself. Be unique, be brave and embrace the sound of your voice, no matter what!
Do you have any questions in regards to singing? What do you wanted to know in regards to singing and the voice? Just ask us: firstname.lastname@example.org
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