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muffinhead

How much practice is ideal?

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IMO its like anything else, the amount, and intensity of practice needs to be built up. A beginning weightlifter doesnt need to go to the gym and train hard 6 times per week. He simply doesnt need that amount of stimulation yet. Later, as his body adapts etc, he will be able to work more and harder etc to see continued improvement

If he starts off training hard 6 days per week....how will he be able to increase it later?? Dont paint yourself into a corner.

 

Singing training may not be the EXACT same thing but its still a physical activity. There is no need to start off with some Olympic level of training. Work your way into it.

That being said, IMO you obviously need to closely watch the more intense training. Thats what needs to be monitored. for example, going thru a nice warmup and some light mass scales and sirens 6 days per week would be one thing....but doing heavy belting and heavy compression and distortion etc 6 days per week is obviously something else.

If you are the type who is all over-eager and feels he must train 6-7 days per week, fine, but closely monitor what you do during that training. Maybe take 2 of those days per week and really push yourself, but then make the other days much milder. if you use common sense, then you can more confidently push yourself without any fears of overdoing it. Pick your spots, dont go all out every day, its simply not needed.

Personally I have made great progress in the last 3-4 months by training 4x per week. And even that has mostly been lighter mass sirens. I have hardly done ANY belting to speak of. I also havent even worked on doing much with strong support. I have been doing lots of lighter mass sirens and trying to extend my range etc and having fun working on melisma stuff etc. Doing melismatic runs up and down thru the bridge areas etc. Why? I am simply laying a foundation.  

All of the lighter mass training has given me a lot of agility in my singing. Bridging doesnt really mean that much to me right now unless we are talking a higher bridge. The light mass type training gives the ability to easily work thru the bridge IMO.

That being said, I HAVE still pushed myself when I felt like. When im feeling it i'll take a very difficult vowel and try to work it up as high as I can or whatever else I feel is beneficial. But I dont feel any compelling need to prove how tough I am lol. Im a grown up, I dont need to prove anything.

Now, in the last week or two I HAVE started some belting and also now working in more strongly supported sirens etc. Obviously I dont want to be one dimensional. I want to be able to hit the heavier and more compressed styles of Dio/Layne Staley etc. But I didnt START with them

 

So IMO, just use common sense. Rome wasnt built in a day. Obviously the 4 Pillars has training at various levels of intensity. There are plenty of coordination and tuning type workouts etc, foundation building routine, certain of the onsets etc that can be done more often.

But then you have the more vigorous stuff like Vinnie Belts, A&R onsets, overlay distortion etc....I personally wouldnt recommend going all out on those every day lol. Build into it. Always leave yourself somewhere to go tomorrow

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Just to add to Jon's great comments....

With the voice, once you begin to realize you cannot hasten progress and view it as a neverending growth and development you begin to relax and so does your voice. It's not about how long you practice, it's how correct you do.

He doesn't like to be rushed....LOL

 

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Studies show that shorter more precise practice sessions help more than long ones. So do 30min in the am 30 in the afternoon and then 30 in the eve. Then maybe sing some songs and work on the things you need work on...

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Quality over quantity. And even pro athletes like football players take rests during the game. A coach who decides to run one player non-stop from start to finish will probably find himself looking for another job. And so, we singers are dealing with tissue about the diameter of your thumb and slightly thicker than the thumbnail and muscles that are nowhere near the size, shape, and endurance of quads and hammies. So, like Daniel said, concentrated effort for shorter amounts of time, doing the right things, is most important. But let go of the idea of time. Instead, hold onto the idea of correct practice.

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19 hours ago, ronws said:

Quality over quantity. And even pro athletes like football players take rests during the game. A coach who decides to run one player non-stop from start to finish will probably find himself looking for another job. And so, we singers are dealing with tissue about the diameter of your thumb and slightly thicker than the thumbnail and muscles that are nowhere near the size, shape, and endurance of quads and hammies. So, like Daniel said, concentrated effort for shorter amounts of time, doing the right things, is most important. But let go of the idea of time. Instead, hold onto the idea of correct practice.

common sense

reminds me of being in the gym. Some newb is doing Mr Olympia's chest routine. Never mind it took Mr Olympia like 8 years to work up to that level of routine lol.

I offered to train this guy one time. I see him the next day with a piece of paper lol. Being the inquisitive type, i investigate. He has a chest routine that would actually be enough work for 3 people. I told him he was crazy and he says "im serious about my chest"...and I was like "what chest??"

So push yourself a little for whatever level you are at and gradually strengthen the training as you strengthen. Dont try Pavarottis routine unless you are at his level

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When it comes to learning, some aspects that are important to keep in mind in my opinion:

1 - You need to understand what you are trying to do.

2 - Retrieving the information is more important than the amount of repetitions.

3 - Keep it as close to the final application as possible.

4 - Keep the challenge levels adequate.

 

Number 1, 3 and 4 were often debated around here. Number 2, is not intuitive and in my opinion, overlooked.

It goes like this, lets say that you are learning one particular coordination, you are "belting". So you understand what you need to do, and you try to do it until you get it right. Eventually, you find it, and it works.

Intuitively you may figure "I will repeat this 300 times in a row now". But that's actually not good. You see, what you need really isnt just repeating, you need to allow yourself to let go of the immediate information and, without trying to use other references, simply try to do it again. It is very useful to "mix" other fundaments on training so that you shift your attention and allow yourself to forget what you just did.

Also, to make the retrieval of information more effective, its very good to NOT use any other "help" as you try to recall it. If you fail, THEN resort to references, your teacher, a video, or whatever to find it again, the simple attempt of trying to do it without aid will make you retain the information better.

This will require much more attention and mental effort than simple repetitions.

 

Challenge level is also important, if you are doing something too simple, or too complicated, you won't be doing much other than getting bored or frustrated.

 

That's why shorter training sessions are more effective. But you can make it even more effective if you go for the kill (keep letting your attention go, and practice going back to it). And, as long as it is about "learning" these notions apply, so it can help you on other things besides singing.

 

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I like what Felipe said. And about information retrieval, for me, the point at which I become competent is when the coordination I have been working on becomes a reflex or something no more difficult than moving a finger, for a comparison of movement and exertion. And yes, that is more important than the actual number of reps.

As I have said before, elsewhere, you could practice for 10,000 hours, the leading opinion amongst our other chimpanzees is that 10,000 hours is required to become an expert in things. This is not an actual physical law of the universe, just something a self-important simian came up with. Anyway, after 10,000 hours, you could have well-rehearsed crap. Yes, you can do something wrong for 10,000 hours. Considering I am totally disregarding most religions, you have only this one life. Better to learn the right things, now. You don't actually have forever, even though that is what you see perceptually. And you will "see" forever your entire life. You just don't have forever. 

Ron "the knuckle walker" ws

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Considering busy schedules; jobs, family, running the race of rats...

For beginners who must develop critical muscle memory, strength, coordination, motor skills... 

At least 1 to 2 hours per session, a minimum of three days a week. I will emphasize however that 30 min. 

A balanced practice sesh should include;

- warm ups 

- technique training ; onsets , sirens , other vocalize , slow vowel & resonance "sensation sets", TA / belt strengthening, narrowing / formant tuning, ... In front of a mirror ( embouchure ).

- singing and/or working on songs:  mapping lyrics; vowel modifications , onsets & interpretation, memorizing lyrics.

- Drilling down on difficult parts; bridges/formant shifts, articulating lyrics in touch parts, detail work, etc...

- Recording; video review and audio recordings... ( Very important! But too often over looked and ignored). Singers need to be able to make recordings and therefore become at least novice level home recording producers. The ability to record is a bridge from the practice room to public performances because of the necessity to make audition recordings, or videos to show what you got. Additionally, listening to yourself in recordings is very different then live practicing and therefore it offers an entirely new set of lessons to learn about your voice and your singing... And it's fun. Bands are hate to find, hard to keep together, a lot out of your control ... But no one can waste the time you invest I to recording, if you can do it yourself. Making home recordings offers multiple benefits to feedback on your technique training, song writing, self / unique style discovery that shows you who you are as an artist, prepares you for band auditions , give you an uninterrupted outlet to present your singing , learn how audio production works. 

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On August 12, 2016 at 1:44 PM, Danielformica said:

Studies show that shorter more precise practice sessions help more than long ones. So do 30min in the am 30 in the afternoon and then 30 in the eve. Then maybe sing some songs and work on the things you need work on...

Sorry Dan, didn't see this. Yes.

all great posts , great question.

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There is no way to express in a post , but I'll try... None of this means anything if your not practicing high quality techniques with high levels of understanding of that your doing.

Notice how we all went straight to that point. You have to be  training smart!!!! 

How?

- get a good program that shows you how and has workouts, not just a book!!! 

- presuming the above ... I highly recommend an understanding of the acoustic modes of singing;  vowel modification, formants, resonance , etc.

- physical modes; twang , belting

- onsets, and how they can be used to isolate muscle strengthening, trimble shoot problems and how they appear in lyrics... And the critical importance of being aware of that, and what to do with it.

- a good coach that can actually bridge their Passaggio , knows how to belt, does not teach fear of feeling muscle movement and co reactions in the voice ( stay away from "sing like you speak " people). Said coach should be able to sing well. 

- always practice with a keyboard near by. Real or app. 

- find a place where you won't be bothered , and can have some privacy, especially if you are a beginner.

- train with amplification if you can. It is not totally necessary , but to have the option is a great advantage. For many reasons, but most importantly, amplification keeps practicing fun. Pure and simple ... Burning out or quitting due to boredom is a big risk for beginners! Having a little bit of reverb, a mic in hand, a way to sing over tracks , etc... Keeps the interest high. 

 

 

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