Out of Time? No Room or Privacy? Here's How You Can Make Singing Practice a Part of Your Everyday Life

One of the things that I often hear from students is: they find it difficult to fit singing practice into everyday life.

They would always have the best intentions to practice but for one reason or another, it doesn’t happen.

Usually, the reason is one or more of the following:
1. Time
2. Space
3. Privacy

In my own singing practice sessions, I run into these issues from time to time. So, I’ve come up with a few solutions that you can try.

Let’s have a look at how to address those issues that get in the way of your singing practice sessions.

 

Lack of Time to Practice

This is an excuse I hear all the time - which is fair enough. Many of my students are amateur singers with day jobs/school commitments and/or children.

Finding the time to practice can be difficult.

That is why I suggest that you MAKE the time to practice.

Set aside a certain day/time for singing practice.

It doesn’t even have to be everyday. 2-3 days a week is a good goal to aim for.

For example:
Practice before dinner for 10 minutes every Monday, Wednesday and Friday
Practice in the car on the way to work
Practice during recess in the music room of your school
Practice while getting ready for work/school
Practice while doing housework/homework

What to do when you’re practicing?
Breathing exercises
Vocal warm-up tracks
Vocal exercise tracks
Memorizing song lyrics
Humming the melody of songs you’re learning
Lip/tongue trills

You can split your practice sessions into 2-3 sessions in a day.

For example:
Warm up your voice in the morning. Sing songs in the evening
Learn melody in the morning. Learn lyrics at night

A lot of my students have trouble doing the lip/tongue trills.

I’d ask them to practice doing lip/tongue trills for 5 times every time they pass a mirror. It’s a good reminder for practicing skills that need a lot of repetitions to get right.

Start small. Then adjust as you go.

It is better to practice for 10 minutes 3 days a week than to practice 1 hour once a week.

Consistency is key. Progress is made gradually over a long period of time.

 

Lack of Space and/or Privacy

This issue is trickier to get around. A lot of people live in apartments or with housemates. This makes it hard to practice without disturbing others or feeling self conscious.

A good alternative would be to practice in the car. You don’t even need to be driving. You can sit in your car or your parents’ car, turn on the car stereo and play your exercise tracks.

Your posture will be slightly compromised but it’s better than no practice at all.

I always tell my students: “Before you start driving, get your vocal exercise tracks up and press play.”

I used to live in a city apartment and my neighbour would bang on the wall whenever I practiced. My solution? Singing in the bathroom or laundry room. It was isolated enough that I could belt high notes without disturbing my neighbours.

Find out when your housemates/family members are not going to be home. Schedule your practice sessions during those times.

See if there are rehearsal studios near where you live. Most studios let solo drummers hire a room at cheaper rates. Ask if you could hire the room for singing practice at a cheaper rate too.

If you have a garage or granny flat, you can turn it into a practice room. Soundproof the room and you can have the space and privacy for your singing practice sessions.

The beautiful thing about singing is that you don’t need much space to practice. Set aside a corner in the house for singing practice. That way, you can focus on what you’re doing when practicing.

 

Audiation

Audiation is a term coined by Edwin Gordon (music educator).

I want you to hear your favourite song in your mind. How does the song start? How does the chorus go?

Did you hear it? Then, you’ve audiated!

Audiation is basically visualization for sounds.

This is an extremely important skill for music making. It utilizes your memory and imagination to retain and retrieve musical information.

How will this help you incorporate singing practice into your everyday life?

Audiating your songs can help you learn them without singing them! That means you can practice singing even when you’re:

  • Sitting in a bus
  • Going through a boring lecture
  • Eating lunch in the school canteen
  • Stuck in an apartment with 3 other housemates
  • Not feeling healthy vocally

 

Conclusion

Having the discipline to practice whenever and wherever you can will develop you into a confident singer. The little chunks of practice that you do will add up over the years.  

Practicing singing in the ear shot of others will de-sensitize you against the fear of being judged. If you can overcome the fear of being judged while not sounding your best during practice, then you’ll be that much more confident when you perform a well-rehearsed song in public.

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