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Establishing a deep practice for singing in the era of the short attention span is crucial if you are serious about becoming a badass singer. A singer that not only sounds great, but that does so while preserving their instrument.
A lot of things in the singing training of a good vocalist are about building new habits. And in developing muscle memory!
There is a part of your brain that triggers your old habits. That means that when you are multitasking during your singing practice (singing while doing chores, driving, etc) you are going to be triggering your old singing habits that in most cases are the ones that are blocking your voice. Bad habits such as over tensing your abs to sing, locking your jaw, adopting a less-than-ideal posture, etc.
Always remember that singing is not something you “learn”. Is mainly something that you TRAIN.
That means that knowing how to sing in theory won’t actually help your singing until you have practiced your new habits enough to make them automatic. To replace your old habits with new ones!
We build new habits in the prefrontal cortex which is a part of the brain that requires slow processing. So, creating new habits in your training requires your full attention. Ironically, if you practice more slowly you’re going to progress faster!
So, if you want to learn singing properly and develop high skill in singing, you need to develop your practice.
Nowadays we have a big enemy that makes it hard to develop a deep practice for singing. I am talking about the short attention span!
According to statistics, our attention span has decreased from 12 seconds to about 8 seconds in only 15 years. Our attention span is now officially shorter than the attention span of a goldfish!
The reasons for this are various. But definitely, the overuse of technology such as phones has a big role in it.
To start with, eliminate distractions as much as possible! Nowadays we spend a lot of time on our phone. It seems like as soon as we hear a notification we have to run and grab our phone immediately! If your practice session lasts 20 minutes or 30 minutes I think the world can wait for that long. So, as much as possible put your phone in airplane mode and if possible in a different room. Or at least make sure it is in silent mode during your practice!
It has been proven that just by looking at a notification on your phone your stress levels increase and you are now more in alert mode. Which doesn’t facilitate the creation of new habits. For singing you need to feel safe.
Of course, your phone is not your only distraction, but I am sure it is a big one for many.
For more information about how to eliminate distraction I recommend the book Indistractable by Nir Eyal.
The other thing that will help you create a deep practice session for singing, is to make sure that you start small. If you are used to doing a lot of things at once, committing to a long time of deep practice won’t work. So make sure that you start as small as you need. There are some techniques that can help you in this process such as the Pomodoro technique. Maybe your session will start up by being 10 minutes long and you can increase it from there as your attention span increases and you get more used to doing deep practice singing sessions.
Also, focus on your current goals. Make sure that for every singing practice session you have a clear goal. Start your practice knowing what you are practicing for.
Learning from your mistakes will help you progress faster and better. If there is a part in your songs in which you are getting stuck, make sure you stop and spend time working through it. Let’s say that you are, for example, working on the melody of the bridge of your song. Don’t just use your whole practice session on singing the song along over and over again. If the bridge is the problem then slow down the song as much as you need and study the problematic parts. Break it down in as many parts as you need and go as slow as you need.
Finally I would like to talk about emotions when you are practicing the technicalities of your voice. When you are practicing vocal technique it is not the time to experience deep emotions as they can slow you down (Note that I am only talking about technique and not performance: when you are working on performance and interpretation, emotions are the main component). If you are practicing vocal technique, you need to manage your emotions in a way that they don’t interfere with your progress.
For example, it is not very useful to judge yourself strongly. If you are working on your technique and you are constantly thinking “OMG I am horrible at singing” or “I’m a terrible singer” or “I suck at singing”, and you put a lot of drama on it, you are not going to be in a state of mind that is useful for learning. And your learning process will be much slower. Remember that whatever you tell your brain, your mind believes!
In conclusion, establishing a deep practice session for singers will allow you to learn better and faster, and you will be much more likely to achieve your singing goals!
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