This is the second part in a 5 part blog series covering the ins and outs of being a professional singer. You can check out Part 1 Part 2 & Part 3 before reading this blog post. I’m not talking about becoming a famous singer, although that could always happen! Instead I’m going to be focusing on other avenues in your singing career rather than this being a ‘how to be a pop star” blog post.
Practice makes perfect – or so they say! As a singer, the last thing you want is to be underprepared for your first ever gig – or any gig for that matter! And that’s just the half of it. Being well rehearsed in your performance is one thing, but you also need to make sure you are practicing your vocals at home to build up stamina and skill which could later be used in your live performances.
Firstly, let’s start with the singing practice. You want to try and aim for vocal practice at least twice a week to begin with, then eventually 4 -5 times a week for at least an hour minimum and 3 hours maximum. You want to have a variety of exercises at hand to practice with including range, agility, breathing and pitching exercises. Make sure you warm up before your daily vocal practices because your practices are going to push you to the limit! If you’re unsure on how to go about planning your vocal practice then get together with a vocal coach who will advise you on the things you need to work on and help you devise a POA for your practice and warmup. Otherwise, you can get some vocal books with exercise CDs to help you get started. Funky ‘n Fun by Kim Chandler is a great way to start.
So, after your daily vocal practice you want to concentrate on show rehearsals. The big question on every singers mind is: “lyrics or no lyrics?” I’ve been a part of huge debates online about singers using their words for a show. The argument is that having a music stand in front of a singer will detach the audiences focus from the band because it is the singers soul purpose to connect and engage with the audience, and they couldn’t possibly do that whilst having their head stuffed in a folder? Of course from a singers point of view there are a tone of lyrics to learn and how could you possibly learn all of them especially if you are the only singer in the band? Other musicians just have to learn the same 4 chords for a song but a song structure will have at least 2 verses, one bridge and a chorus of lyrics to learn!
Personally, I think the argument for lyrics could work in the favour of someone who is a Dep singer for example. They would’ve just learnt a whole 2 sets worth of songs in a short space of time. However for singers who have been playing the same set over and over week in and week out, I think it’s about time they got rid of the music stand! Of course, if you are performing on a stage or part of a show then there would be no way a music stand is aloud. You never see original artists with their music stands (even when they didn’t write the song) so why should you?
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post, and please let me know what your vocal practice is looking like. If you need any tips of how to devise a vocal practice then get in touch and I’ll get back to you with some help! Next week is the final part of this blog series and is all about networking in the business.