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How to practice singing

“People are rewarded in public for what they practice for years in private.”

Tony Robbins

Not sure how you can practice singing? What you should work on or how on earth you know you are getting better? I will outline my top ways I teach students daily to better their practice.

Firstly, I want to fess up. Focused, purposeful practice was never something I was very good at. What happened was, that because I never found a practice rhythm, when I got to University to study singing, I ended up having to discover how to practice all a new. It was hard, so I get it. Let’s go through this together, I had to learn it later in life too.

Set your vocal goals

I want you to set 2 long term goals and 2 short term goals that you can achieve in the next 3 – 4 months. Long term goals are welcome to need a year. For example, “I want to sing a scale without singing out of tune” could be a great short term goal, and “I would like to belt Defying Gravity” would be a great long term goal. These are going to be your anchors for your practice.

Choose songs to fit your goal

So, if you are looking to belt Defying Gravity, I want you to choose slightly lower belting songs. Catch my drift? Choose something that is a little lower in the range than your goal song, and we can start working from there.

Plan in your practice

This is where pretty much everyone goes wrong (including myself some weeks) you need to plan in your practice times, when you are going to be able to focus, be ready to learn and not burned out and have a tired voice from your day. Plan in 3 practice sessions and stick to them! Much like a work meeting, these are now non-negotiable practice times. Leaving it to chance and motivation will not help you to achieve your goals.

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Mobilise, technique, song work

I like to follow a super simple rule, mobilise your voice using a simple slide exercise or your Lax Vox tube, then you want to use your scales to practice a technique point you need to work on. Lastly, you then move onto the song you are wanting to work on.

So for example, if you need to work on your belt, then I want you to focus on getting those vocal folds thick in the lower part of the range. Then your exercises (scales, and arpeggios) need to be working on this point in your technique. Don’t “warm up” for 20 min, slogging away singing random scales. Focus on what you want to get better at.

Keep focused

Try to make the space free of distractions, focus on your singing. I like to put a timer on, and then I am in my bubble for the allotted 20 – 30 min of practice time. That way I can get into a flow state, but I don’t have to worry about missing a meeting or my next appointment.

30 min – 3 x a week minimum

If you are really serious about improving your singing, then you really need to be managing to get in at least 30 min, 3 x a week. I recommend to students who struggle to start with 10 min, and then work their way up (rather quickly) I want you to think about it like a vocal work out. You are going to spend the focused time working on your voice, and then you can move onto all of the other things you want to sing.


Your time singing in the car is not part of your 30 min. That is extra, that is bonus time, that is “Great I am singing in the car”. You want 30 min of singing PRACTICE. Focused practice. You can not focus on your singing in the car, sorry. That is where you can learn your lyrics off by heart, or get in the repetition you need to learn your songs, but that is not technical, focused practice.

Stay with the same song and exercises

This is where a lot of people go wrong, they move to the next song, the next exercise and just do random singing. Which is great! Which is fun! Important! It has a very valid place, we need to have fun. BUT….. if you stick with the same song you will go deeper into the music, deeper into the understanding of the song. It will sit differently with you.

I run 2 concerts a year with my singing students, they have to practice for 3 months for this concert. Firstly, I am met with “oh Zoe, it is so far away, do I need to start now?” and the week before the concert they end up saying “Wow! I feel so much more secure in my song, it really feels different in my voice.” We want the exercises, the songs the technique to go into the deep tissue and the muscle memory. So practice the same thing, record yourself, note the mistakes and go back and work on it again.

If you mess up, do it again

I hear far too often “when I sing it wrong, I just give up. It sounds so bad“. This is all well and good, but how are you supposed to improve? Try it again, try to do it better, try another approach. It might work again, what did you go wrong? What can you do differently?

We need the mistakes to learn from them. So learn from them and try better next time.

PS: I have a few spots opening up in my coaching timetable, join the waitlist to be the first to find out when they come available.

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