How Long Would It Take You to Be a Good Singer?
How long does it take for someone to be a good singer?
First of all, we need to define what “good” is.
I guess it’s better to rephrase it to "becoming the best singer you can be”.
It will depend on your previous experience, training and physical features (related to the voice).
Your best may be different from someone else’s best.
Therefore, comparing your current progress to your past performances/singing is more accurate.
How long does it take for you to become the best singer you can be?
You’ve probably heard about the 10,000 hours rule, coined by Malcolm Gladwell in his book, Outliers. If you want to master something, practice it for 10,000 hours.
However, Michael Miller from 6seconds.org has made a compelling argument to debunk this theory.
He said that according to research, how you good you get at something depends on:
- What age you start learning it
- How you practice it
From my experience of teaching students aged 5-79, the ones who improved the quickest were those who took my feedback onboard and apply the feedback wholeheartedly to their singing.
I’ve seen this happen for students of different ages.
The amount of time spent practicing is important but those who did deliberate practice made the most improvements.
The students who improved the quickest were the ones who targeted specific parts of their vocal technique when they were practicing.
In a way, how you practice matters more than how much you practice.
On the other hand, if you’re a beginner singer, then how much you practice matters more than how you practice.
Unless you have a vocal coach to guide you every day of the week, then you’ll be practicing on your own.
What matters more at this stage of your learning is to build muscle memory for vocal techniques.
Although you’ll be making many mistakes and doing things the wrong way, you need to have some sort of muscle memory for you to be corrected by your vocal coach.
That’s how you’ll get better.
Getting better at singing takes trial and error.
If you don’t practice because you’re afraid of doing it the wrong way, then your progress will be slow.
Genetics do play a part in how well you’ll be able to sing.
Your physical features (vocal folds, neck length, skull, body height etc) determines what voice type you are, amongst other things.
There are probably neurobiological factors that determine how well you can sing too.
However, if you have a healthy voice, and you can speak without your throat hurting or sounding too hoarse, then you can train your voice to the best of your abilities.
The voice is an instrument that you can learn to play.
Back to our question: “How long does it take to become the best singer you can be?”
If I’m to be honest, the answer is your whole life because learning to sing is a never-ending journey.
I know that answer is not going to satisfy you so I have another one for you.
If you understand and apply the open throat concept to your singing, you’ll start to see consistency in at least 2 aspects of your vocal technique in 6-8 weeks’ time.
This statistic is based on the hundreds of students I’ve taught over the past 10 years.
This is because the open throat concept lets you build a solid foundation for your singing.
It helps you to get more space in your throat and mouth so you can make more sound with less effort - like a guitar and not a ukulele (you can learn more about the open throat concept here).
What’s so amazing about this concept is that you can make it work for you - no matter how old you are or your genetic makeup.
If you put in the hard work and have realistic expectations, you’ll see and hear progress every week.
The singing journey is a marathon, not a sprint.
After teaching singing lessons for over 10 years, I’ve seen how a student’s mindset affect how well they progress in singing.
The ones who quit early were also the ones who were over-enthusiastic and had unrealistic expectations. They ended up feeling burnt out and frustrated. Eventually, they gave up entirely.
I can promise you that if you persevere in spite of anxiety, embarrassment and frustration, you will get there one day.
No matter how ‘good’ of a singer you become, you can become the best that you can be, and that will be more than enough to bring you joy and satisfaction for the rest of your life.
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