A note before you begin - this is written from my perspective and research as a voice and piano teacher. While it primarily addresses singing practice, these same principals are applicable across all instruments and levels.
“Practicing helps you internalise and perfect techniques. You can use practice session to learn new tunes, strengthen your voice, extend your breath support, clarify diction, and fine-tune all aspects of your singing.” (Peckham, 2010)
Often when students first start learning to sing, they and their parents want to know how long they should practice for and how many times per week.
Singing should be treated like a sport or athletic pursuit – generally speaking the more you practice, the better you will get in a shorter space of time. However, there are lots of things we should consider regarding getting the most out of our practice time, such as fatigue, memory, focus, and goals for each practice session.
I’m sure most students know why they should practice – to get better! However, where most students (as well as many professionals I know!) struggle is how they should practice.
Personally, I believe practice should follow these five guidelines:
1. Practice HABITUALLY
2. Practice DELIBERATELY
3. Practice MINDFULLY
4. Practice IN SECTIONS
5. Practice IN A WAY THAT IS FUN
People tend to attribute success in things like sport, music and art to either talent and/or motivation. We assume that elite level athletes and performing artists must either be innately gifted or have inhuman levels of self control and discipline. While talent and self-discipline are small pieces of success, the greatest thing we can do to improve at our craft is to make our practice routine exactly that – a routine or habit.