The Vocal Virtue of Patience

So let’s say you’ve been taking voice lessons for a few months and you’re wondering “why am I not singing ___insert the name of your favorite song here___ yet.”  I’ve heard this before (and even felt it before) and in my opinion is that this  type of question really is a variation of “why am I not where I think I should be yet?”

Before students take lessons, they are often singing their favorite songs along with a recording. Sometimes this is even what prompts them to take lessons. What is crucial to remember is this: when you are singing something by yourself, you do not really know whether or not you are singing the notes properly or using correct technique because you are too focused on “how awesome it would be to be ____insert name of favorite singer___.” This can lead to prolonged improper singing which can lead to serious problems with your voice if you are not careful.

When you hire a singing teacher, our role is to help you:

  • Identify your best vocal range
  • Fix singing habits you have which are impeding your ability to sing
  • Establish new habits which promote healthy and efficient singing
  • Apply these habits to songs that fit your range and sound great in your voice
  • Create powerful performing skills so that you can “wow” an audience

These things can take time depending on how much you practice, how ingrained the habits which are impeding you are, how motivated you are with making those changes, and most importantly…how patient you are with yourself!

Learning and mastering the art of singing takes a lot of time and dedication. This is one of the reasons many vocal teachers only take students who are mature enough to handle the discipline of lessons.  While it is true that after two or three lessons you might notice a difference in your voice, there may be a period of time where you might progress a little slower, as different techniques take different lengths of time to learn for every student.

It is also true that some singers are born with natural talent, but even though they might be able to match pitch better than most, they may struggle with other singing strategies. Our society places so much value on “fast” and “quick” results that we can often get discouraged when we aren’t able to “transform” at the rate we “think” we should. It’s another form of perfectionism and I’ve seen it create more challenges than success. We also compare ourselves to other people far to often in my opinion which is a completely different blog post.

So if you are worried that you aren’t where you want to be with your singing yet (and I emphasize “yet”), remind yourself that development takes time and don’t be afraid to ask your teacher about your progression. A great way to ask this is “I’m interested in singing __insert name of song here___, what are some things I should be aware of before I start?” Your teacher will be honest with you about what you need to do to progress.

You can apply singing techniques to any style of singing, but you have to be so comfortable with those techniques that you don’t have to think about them before you can start to apply them to songs. And this takes time. So give yourself a little freedom to experience the process. Be patient and keep trying!

In Song,

Tim

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