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How To: 7 Tips to Practice Singing

Updated: May 12

So you've decided to learn how to sing or begun to take singing lessons, but you're not sure what to do between lessons, or for that matter, where to do it. Well, that's what we're here to talk about! Here are 7 tips that may help you get started.

 
A singer practicing singing

TIP 1: Find somewhere that you're comfortable

This can be almost anywhere, but the last thing you want is to feel like you need to hold back or can't go all out. That unnecessary tension can not only make you not want to practice, but it can also cause PHYSICAL TENSION. You just won't sing as well and the practice won't be as effective. If you're worried about bothering your neighbors in an apartment, try singing in the car. If your parents, siblings, spouse, or kids are critical or you feel like you're being judged, you can sing in the garage. It may even come down to making sure you're home alone when you practice, but the biggest takeaway is to feel comfortable so that practice is something you look forward to, not dread. Literally CAN NOT find a place to practice, leave a comment and I'll help!

 
a girl warming up her voice and learning how to sing

TIP 2: Warm-up

Warming up is important for your muscles. Just like a runner will run a few laps before a race, your body needs to warm up before singing. Practicing high or low notes? You'll hit them better after warming up. Trying to hit that riff a little faster? Should probably sing a few slow ones first to warm up.


Warming up is easy, I start every voice lesson with an incredibly easy warm-up that most people can sing without thought a few lessons in, but you can sing an easy song or sing any pattern of notes you want.

 

TIP 3: Work on your technique

Usually during lessons I'm working on some sort of technique with my students. These methods are exactly what you'd practice here. Been working on complete vocal fold closure? Do a few of those warm-ups again with a straw, on an /ng/ sound, or through a lip trill. Don't sing a song yet or use lyrics, as text can make these things harder to feel. Focus on the specific feeling, sound, or method you're trying to accomplish, and don't worry about the other stuff. Sometimes working on technique will sound a little funny, and that's okay. If you've got to sound bad for a few minutes to figure out how to use your body to sound good for the rest of your life I think that's a worthy trade-off. If you're one of my students and don't remember how to practice, send me a text or leave a comment!

 

TIP 4: Practice your technique using a song

"What song?" you might ask. Literally barely matters. Any song. If you're working on singing loud, maybe don't pick a quiet song, but if you really want to you can just go ahead and sing the quiet song loud. The artist won't sue you for singing their song incorrectly. Try to master the same technique you were working on but with text. Your whole mouth is now moving and you can try to incorporate technique. Will it be harder? Yes, but don't give up!

 
A singer in Milwaukee singing with emotion

TIP 5: Sing with emotion

Don't forget that what we're doing is art! Once you think you've got the technique down, really start to try to perform the song. At this point in your practice, you aren't thinking analytically or technically, but rather you're trying to incorporate technique into emotion or performance. Think about what you're singing and how the technique helps portray that. Maybe it doesn't help express the song you chose, well that is also good to learn as it puts you a step closer to understanding when and where to use the technique correctly. The goal is to sound good and to sing with emotion, power, and passion. The goal is not to sing "more correctly," since correct varies from person to person.

 

TIP 6: Practice with a mirror

For some people, they might stop after the previous tip. It depends on your goals and your style. For some, you need to practice with a mirror. Guess what, a performance isn't just listening. Almost every time you sing there will be people looking at you. If you're one of the few who sings exclusively online and with no video, this tip isn't for you. MAKE SURE YOU DON'T LOOK RIDICULOUS WHEN YOU SING. No one wants to see someone raising their eyebrows and sticking their lips out like a whale while singing their song.


Mirrors can be helpful for some techniques, if you're one of my students I'll have you look in a mirror when working on the soft palate, when working on mouth movement/tongue movement, and when checking for tension. It can be really helpful to see how your body works if you're more of a visual learner.

 
singers recording themselves singing in west allis

TIP 7: Record yourself

We sound different in our ears than we do to everyone else. Anyone who's heard their voice on camera knows this. Unfortunately, that sound is usually closer to what you really sound like. Lower frequencies are amplified in our ears and the room and air affect sound waves as well. If you want to sound good to others and not just yourself, you'll need to hear what they hear. Don't record an entire song though, just a few seconds, listen, and try again. It helps you understand how the technique affects your sound and helps you control exactly what your audience hears. In general, your goal should be to like the way you sound in recordings.

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I just always look ridiculous when I sing 😅... Love these tips!

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