5 Habits of Successful SingersMar 25, 2021
I've been teaching people to sing for a while now (think 6+ years) and in that time, I've worked with a lot of different people. They all improved their voice to some degree, but there are always some people who grow to achieve incredible things. These are the singers who learn to do things with their voice they never expected, perform the songs they never thought they'd actually be able to sing outside of the shower and nail their exams, performances, assessments and whatever else they might be doing.
I know what you might be thinking - 'obviously those people are talented'. But that's not actually it. At the end of the day, all the talent in the world doesn't match up to hard work and dedication.
So the question is: if it wasn't talent, then what did all of these people have in common? Well, the good news, is that I can absolutely answer that question. Even better news? These are things that every single one of us can be doing. Which means that every one of us can become an incredible singer, if we just practice these five things.
1. They Listen
Whenever I'm working with a student, I'm keeping one question in mind; how can I help this person get better at singing? If I'm listening to you sing, and I know something that might help you get better, of course I'm going to tell you what it is! The people who listen to this advice are the ones that get really far in the world of singing.
2. They Try Things
It's one thing to listen to advice, and another thing completely to put it into practice. One example is opening the mouth. Some people will find it strange, but try it anyway, and then discover how much better they sound when they open their mouth. Others won't try it because it feels weird, and they'll never know what might have happened if they tried it.
3. They Ask Questions
Just because they're listening to their coach and trying new things doesn't mean that they can't ask questions! There's a lot of terminology when it comes to singing and music theory, and a lot of the techniques are fairly complicated. So to put it simply, if you don't understand something, ask about it.
4. They Practice
To better explain practice, we need to talk about muscle memory. Essentially, if we do the same thing enough times, our brains kind of make short cuts to make those repetitive tasks easier. Eventually, we won't even be thinking about these tasks, they just happen - sometimes without us noticing.
That's the goal when it comes to vocal techniques. To start with, many vocal techniques require a lot of concentration. But if we practice them enough, they become muscle memory, and that means we don't have to think about the technique anymore. We can just sing a song, and the technique will happen - without us noticing - and that's how we get better at singing. (It's also how we can use so many different techniques at once - it's all in the muscle memory.)
Regular practice is what builds that muscle memory, so make sure you're doing your exercises regularly and the muscle memory will take care of the rest.
5. They're Persistent
This is maybe the most important thing - just keep trying! Fun fact: I spent an entire year working on my breathing. An entire year. I didn't do any other techniques in that year, just constant breathing. Of course I could have given up, but if I did that I wouldn't be writing this right now. Instead, I just kept on trying. The result? Breathing is now my favourite technique. (I also learned a lot in that year about how not to teach breathing, so I'm glad to say most of my students get the hang of it far quicker than I did.) It doesn't matter how long you take to learn something, you will get there eventually.
It really doesn't matter how talented you are, if you keep these five things in mind, you can absolutely become an incredible singer.
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