How to Practice Songs

So you’ve done your vocalizing and now you're about ready to start practicing your new song. More often than not, singers think that their muscle memory magically kicks in for the song and while that sometimes happens, unfortunately we have to be much more intentional about this next step.  

First off, identify the most challenging parts of the song - take a look at where that sits in your range.  Most likely it’s going to be sitting in an area outside of your speaking range. 

Then give these steps a try:

Lyric replacement:  Take the lyrics out and practice it on a vowel consonant combination. (One that is working for you in your vocalizing.). Or a combo that is close to one of the words in the song.  For example: If the word you’re struggling with is “time”, try singing the entire phrase on “bye” or “my”.  (The “schwa” vowel is a good one as it’s literally in the centre of the IPA vowel chart). Pick a consonant that will help you regulate or resist some airflow:  “Mum”, “Buh” “Nun”.  You can always consult with your teacher on which vowels would be best for you!

Modulating keys: changing keys can be so effective. Hint:  it’s not always lowering that is better. In fact, raising the key can be a lot easier in the long run (and then go back to the original keyright after) because it’s above the problem area and it encourages you to have to blend registers, vs trying to shout it all in chest voice. 

Vowel modification:  Once you start singing it with the lyrics again, is there a particular word that is on a super challenging note?   Tweak how that vowel is pronounced. Maybe you need to narrow that vowel down a bit so that it provides more stability in your larynx.  Are you overly widening the vowel and causing strain?  Are you overly narrowing the vowel and imposing your larynx down too far?

Slower tempo:   Your brain may need more time to catch up to what you’re doing vocally.  Sometimes slowing down the tempo gives your brain more time to activate the right muscle memory. 

Lower dynamic:  Using too much air pressure can cause unevenness, so try going lower.  If you are a breathy singer, try going a little louder. Medium volume is always best.  

And last but not least: Be super duper patient with your self.  This isn’t easy!  If you need help with this, let me know

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