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Singing girl
One of the big questions I am frequently asked is how my vocal students can make the most improvement. Because I can’t sum up the answer in a sentence or two, I decided to write a piece on the three qualities I find most important for a voice student’s significant improvement. The vocal students I’ve had over the years who have improved, not only the fastest, but also the most, have all had at least one, but more likely, two or all of the qualities I mention. Here they are.

3. A great work ethic

Girl with guiter studies sheet music

When it comes to improvement, diligence and patience go a long way.

This one sounds like a no-brainer, but it means different things to different people. Many students are extremely motivated in spurts—deciding that they will work on vocal exercises for two weeks, 8 hours a day, or that they will get that impossible Whitney Houston song down by doing nothing but singing it for a month. Much more successful are the patient students who, over the course of months or years rather than days or weeks, combine practicing vocal exercises and working on a song or two every day, even if they only have time to put in 10 to 15 minutes a day. Learning to sing well is much more comparable to an endurance race than to a sprint.

It’s not that putting hours of work into a song right before an audition or performance is a waste of time. If you have a strong foundation to build on, taking a week or two to devote long hours to a song can be just what you need to make you competitive. But a few weeks of very hard work is not going to make up for years of consistent work, any more than swimming 20 hours a day for a few weeks will prepare you to be an Olympic swimmer. Like any exercise, consistent vocal exercises will slowly strengthen your voice, increase your range, and build positive muscle memory over a period of time. next page

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