1. Learn a Solid, Dependable Vocal Technique
Technique for a singer, no matter the genre, is the most important part of maintaining a long, healthy career of any sort. It’s the same situation for a dancer or even a runner. A dependable vocal technique is one of the keys you learn from your teacher. Without technique, or using a faulty technique, a singer can develop an injury that might be difficult from which to recover. Abusing or overusing the voice can lead to a wealth of injuries such as vocal hemorrhaging, bruising, nodules, or muscular disorders to name only a few. Even if you come to singing later in life, you can learn a dependable technique suitable for your vocal needs!! No matter what you learn in lessons though, technique is of utmost importance!
2. Go to Lessons REGULARLY
This point is easy to understand, but if you miss a lesson for any reason, do your absolute best to MAKE… IT… UP! Not having a lesson affects YOU the singer especially in the early stages of technical development! If you are practicing regularly, attending lessons regularly, and taking care of your voice you’ll notice the changes and so will your audiences!
3. Learn How to Practice… Then DO IT
Frustration, or plain ol’ laziness, usually prevents quality PRACTICE from happening. Every day you need to be spending time warming up, singing your repertoire (songs), and working on the interpretation (acting/selling) of your pieces. If you don’t know how to practice, ASK YOUR TEACHER. Take notes in your lessons or even record your lessons on your smartphone/iPad! There are countless apps that you can download to record lessons or just use a voice memo function. If you’re sick, you can still practice by memorizing your piece or speaking it like a monologue. Even by speaking through it, you can practice your interpretation/acting in front of the mirror! Try to avoid not practicing more than a couple of days per week. Prolonged periods without practice don’t benefit your development.
4. Learn How to Play The Piano so you can help yourself
You don’t need to play like Horowitz to be a successful singer. However, you do need to be able to read the treble and bass clef along with basic rhythmic structures to sing pretty much any genre of music. Even your favorite singers and bands know how to play the piano to some degree! If you’re going to be a songwriter, you’ll need to be able to dictate tunes onto the treble/bass clef for bands, singers, and producers to read! Knowing how to play the piano won’t hurt your abilities as a performer.
4a. If you’re not going to learn how to play the piano, learn how to play the guitar so you can help yourself.
Similarly to piano skills, you don’t have to be an amazing guitar player and shred the instrument, but you do need to be able to tune, strum, read a chord chart, and communicate your vision and intent for the song(s) if you’re playing for yourself. How could this skill hurt you?
5. Learn How to Sight-Sing (so you can help yourself)
Why wouldn’t you want to learn how to read music? This is often the most difficult skill to learn for some singers, but it is learnable! Whether you learn how to sight-sing through solfege (Do, Re, Mi, etc.) or numbers, learn to do it! People that can pick a piece of music up and sight-sing it without needing to touch a keyboard typically get hired back more frequently than those who can’t! Likewise, if your lesson is spent singing and not learning your notes, imagine the progress you’ll make!
6. Learn to Be Open-Minded… so you can help yourself (and others)
When you’re a performer, you will be asked about your own interpretation of many songs. That being said, you will also have to collaborate with others frequently! There is no escaping it, so you have to learn to embrace it from the start. If you are difficult, hot tempered, and closed to others’ interpretations, don’t anticipate being asked to return someplace. The more open-minded, cheerful, and easy-going you are the more likely you are to be invited to perform again. If it means you need to meditate frequently, grip stress balls, or exercise do your best to keep your frustrations out of sight.
7. Take Care Of Yourself
You are your instrument as a singer, which means you need to protect yourself from illness and injury. There are many home remedies that you can try when sick, but whatever you do, PLEASE BE CAREFUL that you don’t try something that can hurt yourself. Use your common sense, and if it is skewed by cold medicine, ask someone with good judgment. Know for yourself the differences between allergies, the cold virus, and the flu. Nothing replaces a visit to your doctor- not the internet, your cousin, or a witch doctor can replace partnering with your general physician.
The path to successful singing is dependent upon you- whether you want to be a pop superstar or a better singer at church you need to equip yourself with the skills to help yourself and the performers around you. Madison Music Foundry has three qualified voice instructors to help you reach your goals! Stop in today to have a meet & greet lesson with one of them!