Why Your Singing Voice Isn't Improving
Ouch, the title even makes me cringe and I wrote it. I know it sounds harsh but it isn't meant to.
I desperately want you to reach those singing goals, so we kinda have to pull apart why you're not reaching them YET.
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POSSIBLE REASON #1: YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT YOU WANT
We constantly have the desire to sound good wrapped around everything we do musically. It needs to be good, great, perfect. But in reality, we’re usually not entirely sure what that means.
I always ask students what they want out of their voices. What they would change about them if they had a magic wand; and 80% of the time they say “I just want it to sound good.”
When I drill deeper and ask them what that means about their tone or the way it feels, they have no idea.
I get it, sound is a difficult thing to describe, but when you have no idea what you’re aiming for, you are always going to fail.
So try to start getting laser focused.
Do you want to sound stronger? Warmer? Richer? Breathier? Lighter? More delicate? Do you want to project with more ease? Do you want a consistent tone across your range?
Then at least you've got a game plan and can start to work towards it.
POSSIBLE REASON #2: YOU'RE NOT PRACTICING
Hi I'm Kim and I'm a recovering non-practicer. I was a horrible student who never went away and worked on my voice so I know that it can be tricky.
Life gets in the way. We convince ourselves that other things are a higher priority. We lose motivation.
If you're in this boat, you're probably already nodding and blushing. It's okay, just know that retraining bad habits and programming fabulous technique into your body takes time and repetition.
Schedule your practice sessions into your diary as non-negotiables. Set yourself goals. Motivate yourself in whatever way you need to (bribery often works for me).
Also, and this is super important - make sure you're allowing yourself to have fun. Robotic "serious" practice sessions are lame. Fun is the new black.
POSSIBLE REASON #3: YOU'RE PRACTICING BUT NOT IN THE RIGHT WAY
Firstly, congrats for being a practicer - I salute you! But the way that you practice will have a huge impact on how far you're getting with your vocal goals.
Do you tend to just warm up without really thinking and then run through your songs a few times? Hmm. Dude, you need a concrete technical focus!
You are trying to reprogram your body to sing more efficiently and effortlessly and if you don't concentrate 100% on changing your habits, they'll rule you forever.
So the first step is to figure out what element you need to tackle first. Be your own singing doctor.
The second step is to spend enough time working on that one thing. Usually we do one practice session on breathing and then move on to articulation.
We get distracted, we get bored and our bodies don't have enough repetition to replace the old habit with the new one.
If a full length workshop with a specific blueprint of how to practice to maximise your progress sounds good to you, check out Practice With Intention.
POSSIBLE REASON #4: YOUR VOICE HAS IMPROVED BUT YOU HAVEN'T NOTICED
Woah, hold up. What did I just say?
Yep. Maybe you shouldn't even have spent the last few minutes reading this article and you could have been productively watching funny cat videos on Youtube this whole time. Sorry.
When we're learning to sing, we usually keep challenging ourselves. Learning harder exercises, working on next level techniques and more difficult songs. This makes it tricky to tell where we're at because we're always moving the bar higher and higher.
So how can you tell? Go back in time and work on old pieces and exercises. I wrote a whole bog post about it called Why Singers Should Embrace Throwback Thursday. Check it out if you like.
I hope you enjoyed those truth bombs and that you're inspired rather than crouched in the foetal position beating yourself up about doing this or not doing that.
My intention is to motivate you my dear!