Part 2 of Lisa’s awesome blog on singing practice covers more important steps to…

practicing well and correctly. If you missed the first part of this blog…go check it out here.

Below are the second half of my suggestions for doing solid practicing that will really change your voice:

4)  Do you ever accidentally do something amazing when singing and the ‘bell of truth’  rings in your head?  Don’t let luck be your master! Follow what I call ‘the Rule of Five’.  If you get lucky when experimenting and something AWESOME comes out of your mouth, REPEAT the phrase 5 times in a row perfectly.  If you blow it, start over and aim for five perfect ones.  It’s a great method (if a bit obsessive-compulsive!) to make happy accidents into new behaviors. 

5) When working on high, challenging passages, take the phrase down an interval of fourth then gradually take the phrase up in semi-tones.  Take the passage ABOVE where you need to perform it.  That will help trick your brain into thinking that the once-too-high passage is not so high after all.

6) When practicing a new and difficult technique (like belting to high C….with vibrato!), take a break every so often.  Go and make yourself a sandwich, then come back and try again.  Also try your new techniques in as many different locations as possible so your muscle memory remains no matter what the visual input might be.

7) Figure out if you’re primarily a visual learner (reading sheet music, chord charts, or lyrics), a kinesthetic learner (singing by how it feels) or an auditory learner (hear it, sing it, know it). If you have a strong predilection for one type of learning, don’t be too hard on yourself if other styles of learning seem really difficult.  It’s just the way your brain is built.

8) Don’t practice until you get hoarse. Hoarse means swelling and that means it’s time to stop singing.  Pain should NEVER be experienced…nor tickling in the vocal folds. It is incorrect to think that pushing past the pain is ever a technique for strengthening the vocal folds.  There should be no pain, ever. 

9) The goal of practicing is to sing songs, not to do exercises perfectly.  There are too many people out there who can sing their pants off on exercises but cannot sing a song to save their lives.  Songs filled with feeling and magic are the goal.  Practicing is only the foundation, not the goal.  So include songs or difficult song fragments as part of your practice strategies.

10) Record yourself or consider having a professional ear (like a vocal coach with a lot of experience) monitor your progress every so often.  Just to make sure your practicing does make perfect!

Celebrity voice coach Lisa Popeil, MFA in Voice, is the creator of the Voiceworks® Method and the Total Singer DVD.