Voice lessons are great. They help singers learn more about their instrument and how to use it. When done right, they significantly reduce the time it takes for a singer to get where they want to go. But the lesson itself is not the most valuable part of the process.
Any good lesson will bring you new knowledge and new understanding. With new understanding comes the ability to turn wrong action into right action. But just because someone knows the right way to do something doesn’t mean that the next time they’ll do it that way. Actually, the opposite is almost inevitably true. Why? Habit.
Singing is a process. There are several things that work together to produce the sound you create. You’ve likely sang for years, meaning you have years of habit. Some of those habits are good, some get in the way of the sound you want. Replacing those habits takes more than just the knowledge of how to replace them. It takes continuous right action.
You see, we cannot stop a habit. We must replace it with a better habit. If it took you years to establish the old habit, you know it’s going to take some period of time to make the new action habit. So practice is key, but practice itself is not the solution.
We’ve all heard the old adage, “Practice makes perfect.” I’d argue this phrase is actually very false. A more accurate statement is, “Practice makes permanent.”
Perfect practice makes perfect. Non-guided practice solidifies present habits. Poor practice establishes poor results. Simply practicing isn’t enough. You have to focus on practicing the right action over and over. Once you’ve done this enough, new habit replaces old habit and you start getting the sound you want.
All this build up brings me to the purpose of this article. The way you get the most from your voice lessons is continuing to practice what we worked on during the week. Focusing entirely on those ideas and concepts. Not just singing, but singing in that way. When you do that, you’ll start to see big improvements in your voice.
First, you need to understand what you’re looking to accomplish during your practice. Then, focus on those one or two things while you practice. If you find yourself out, self correct. Accept that you may not be perfect at this new coordination, just keep moving in the right direction. Do this and even if it wasn’t perfect you’ll be further along for each lesson, helping you progress faster.