As a vocal coach, the first 2 questions I ask my students as they arrive in my lesson is how are you” and then “so what have you been working on this week?”
I would say that most students will mention working on trills or breath or scales and song work and then other students say “i didnt have anytime to practice” My response is usually, “So, in a 7 day period, there was not one spare moment to commit to vocal practice? Not even 10 minutes in the shower?”
It can be frustrating to hear that students havent commited to practice but sometimes students really don’t know how to make time to practice vocal training in amongst school, work, life responsibilites. But this can be easily fixed with a few small changes to the daily schedule and changing how we view practice.
Practicing your scales 5 to 6 days a week will help build your voice and then maintain it in top performance condition. Just like a soccer player warms up their body and muscles before any game, a singer needs to warm up their voice in order to perform or practice with ease and without suffering vocal fatigue.
Scales aid you in discovering your voice and are critical to maintaining and building your instrument. They help bring sufficient blood flow to the vocal chords and get them all think and fuzzy, ready for singing songs.
Scales warm up your vocal chords in ways just singing a song with lyrics cannot.
Note that the scales themselves are not the important thing. It’s what you do on the scales that matters most and will give you the best results. If you do your scales half-heartedly for 30 minutes you will end up with a halfhearted result no matter how long you spend on the scales.
The key to successful practice sessions is to just start small. Begin with 10 minute sessions 4 to 5 days a week that involves humming, bubble trill and a sound such as Nah or Mum on a 5 tone scale. If you have extra time to spare, practice breath exercises where youre engaging the diaphragm and working on a sustained ess sound. As you find youre achieving the 10 minute practice goal each time, aim for practicing a longer amount of time the following week and begin to include more scales, taking the practice time to 15 minutes and then 20 minutes and so on. Choose a time of the day that is inbetween other major activities. Sometimes the most opportune times to have a quick but energised vocal practice session is while dinner is being prepared at night time or before you leave to go to work or school in the morning. Many adult students even find time to practice scales in the car ride to work.
There is a saying “doing stuff leads to doing other stuff” meaning that once you are in a routine of doing your vocal practice, it will lead to more and more positive practice sessions. Plus, imagine how great it feels to accomplish a practice session, and hear and feel the benefits of training your voice.
Give it a go and notice how practice makes permanent.