Picture this: You’re attending lessons each and every week. The songs are getting easier to sing and you probably have half a dozen songs under your belt that you can bust out at any moment. But whenever you start a new song it feels as if you’re back at square one. What’s going on here?
As with any skill, learning to sing takes practice but it also involves our ability to learn and that can be considered an entirely separate skill. Now you may be asking yourself how do I learn to learn? We’ll answer that by breaking down some of the ways we learn best with these 3 simple tips.
Tip #1 - Short but Sweet
You might think that practicing for longer periods of time helps you retain what you learned better but not quite. Yes, putting the hours in is important to your progress but in order to maximize our learning we need to break practice up into segments. The next time you practice try this simple routine instead: work in 20-25 minute intervals on a focused task and then follow it up with a 2 minute break. Then dive back in on that same focused task with another 20-25 minute interval followed by another 2 minute break. Repeat this process for an hour or so and then stop. At first you want to build up the routine itself and make it a habit. Repeating this process a few times a week will prove to expedite your progress rather than practicing for several hours only one or two days a week.
Tip #2 - Less is More
With regular vocal lessons we often receive a handful of new things to work on before the next lesson. While your instincts tell you to try and remember them all at once during practice sessions try focusing on only one or two at a time. By creating smaller goals for yourself during practice you will develop your skills quicker due to the increased focus on them. This not only helps you focus better on the task at hand but it also helps you retain what you’re practicing better as well.
Tip #3 - Building Discipline
Persistence is the greatest key of all. If you can work past the frustration and obstacles you will continue to move forward and make progress, no matter how incremental. We all have those days when we don’t feel like doing something. Whether it’s from a lack of energy or stress, giving in to those days when we’re feeling down will slow our progress down. Even if you only practice for 30 minutes you will continue to build up the habit of practicing and that’s a great thing. So push yourself to work through these challenges even when you’re not up for it because in the long run the discipline you build up will keep you moving in the right direction.
So next time you have a long list of things you want to accomplish, whether it’s in your pursuit of singing professionally or just in your daily life, set yourself up for success by breaking the tasks down into smaller groups and prioritizing which ones to tackle first. This will help clear up the common problem of “Where should I start first?” and have you moving forward in the right direction.