In my first blog post about this topic, I discussed the importance of LISTENING. As a budding artist it is important to hear different genres of music and maybe pick up on the type of style you like as a singer. In part 2, I will discuss the MOST IMPORTANT PART OF wanting to become a professional singer; that is patience, practice and performance. These 3 simple "p's" will get you where you want to go.
First, have PATIENCE with yourself, you are embarking on a great endeavour and it takes time. It takes time to find the right vocal coach, to get your voice where you want it to be, the acceptance of that and then patience when one of your performances doesn't go as planned (and it will happen...).
PRACTICE- as a famous Vocal coach I once went to said, "You are the Olympic athlete of the vocal world." Looking back and having so many years of training, I do agree. Most people do not realize how much breath and energy go into singing. I know of one woman who used to run long distances and has found that singing in her local choir has needed just as much energy.
To be an athlete you need train right, eat right, and rest right; same thing for singing.
Start with a good warm up (scales, arpeggios, breathing exercises, lip slurs, body movement to release tension, vowel shapes), ear training, sight-singing, warm ups to help build vocal muscles. Then, Start with a nice easy tune or Vocalise and then dive into Repertoire. Ask yourself about your tone, pitch, accenting, phrasing, emotion, dynamics, control, expression, etc. I would also say to learn both Classical and non-Classical approaches to singing. The foundation you get from Classical singing is wonderful, and dare I say, exponentially important to your voice building.
One more thing, DON'T OVER PRACTICE! You did read that correctly. I must admit I am guilty of this. In the early part of my career I used to practice four to six hours a day with minimal breaks in between. It wasn't until I had great flute and voice teachers who consistently said, a professional musician should only be practicing about 2 hours a day, and in 45 minute blocks. You are putting stress on your body, so you need to give it time to rest. I have attended conferences where people have discussed having major voice issues from practicing too much, as well as attending Flute Conferences where a well-know artist of Flute and Dance had practiced so much that he actually acquired an impairment of his body that affected the neurological messages from his brain to his fingers! This impairment had ended his 40 year career and it became his mission to let artists know not to practice for too many hours a day. It's about accurate and efficient practicing, not about the length of time you practice. Words I live by.
Hone your craft and skills, dedicate the time, it takes people years to a become good singer, but I would say a good 3 to 5 years of training is sufficient before you start performing in public and then a lifetime of perfecting it. That's not to discourage you, but more so to encourage and see the excitement of music and being a singer. There's always so much to learn!!
Lastly, PERFORM.....'cause that is what you want to do, right? Start small- in front of family and friends, at school, church groups, join a choir, open mic nights, senior homes, hospitals, children's hospitals, whatever you can think of, and then build your way up to sing at more public venues like your local bookstore or cafe. I would wait until you have a few performances under you belt before you post anything on Youtube. You want to be as professional as possible, so learn your craft first and then promote yourself.
So, you've implemented the 3 p's, but you want to take it to the next step, you want to be famous (Lights, Camera....) Awesome, but before you get there, people need to know you exist.....
Next post, the razzle and dazzle of being an artist.................PUBLICITY!!!
Happy Music Making!
Halton Hills, Ontario