1. Warm Ups
2. Text Study
(In my studio, we also practice prepared sight singing to help my young students learn how to truly read the music on their own. After years of study, this may be dropped, but it is essential to learning to teach oneself the notes and rhythms of repertoire).
Warm ups should be thoughtful and productive
Start with a few basic stretches and relaxation exercises. Then practice the warm ups given to you in your last lesson. They were selected by your teacher to work on technical things. If one is tough, it is the one that needs to be worked on the most. Switch them up a little bit so each session is a little different.
“The aim of vocal exercises is to warm up the voice and free the sound of tension so that the rest of your practice is productive.” MichelleLatour, Classical Singer September 2013.
Study the text of your repertoire SEPARATE from the music
Speak the poem of your song so that you understand what it is saying. Work on pronunciation if it is in a different language. Research the poem, time period of the composition. Speak it in the rhythm of the repertoire. This makes it easier to put together with the music. We often skip this step, but it is so important!
Work on the Music
Star t with something familiar so that you know your technique is strong. (Sing a song that you have been working on first). Isolate a particular aspect of the song to work on that day. Maybe you know it well enough to “act it out”.
After you have song something familiar, move on to newer repertoire. Break it down one part at a time. Work on the rhythm first. Then add the pitches on a nonsense syllable. Finally move on to sing the words and melody together.
If you approach practice as an experiment, you explore how and why you sing it the best way! How do you further plan out your practice sessions? Look next week for specific tips to fine tune it!