Learn How to Sing Better

The 7 Best Ways To Prepare For Singing Lessons

Studying anything musical is a difficult, time-consuming course of action, and it can be trying in every sense of the word. No matter what you have decided you want to learn more about, there are many long hours ahead of you, and there is, sadly, no guarantee this will all work out in the end in your favor. The only thing you can do is stay motivated, remain determined, and do everything you can to become the best artist possible.

If you’re looking to go to college to be a Singer — something not enough young talents decide to do, unfortunately — there is a lot you should know before you even open your mouth. The road to a great musical program at a respected university begins with singing lessons, and the earlier you start your proper education, the better off you’ll be when it comes time to begin applying.

The list below is chock full of advice about what you need to do, not necessarily when singing or when in the middle of a singing lesson, but rather before you go to class, before you begin belting, and after your performance is done. Becoming a great vocalist who can perform for years (or even decades if you’re one of the lucky ones) involves a lot more than just a love of singing, as you need to take care of your body, your throat, and be ready at every moment. Like a top-of-the-line machine, maintenance is key, because, by the time something goes really wrong, there might not be a way to fix it.

Here are some of the best ways to prepare for singing lessons so you can get the most out of them and are ready for the next step in your musical education.

1. Don’t Drink Alcohol

You may think college, and being a musician, are both all about drinking and partying, and while there surely will be some of that when (and if) you get into your desired program, it really isn’t good for your vocals. Sadly, alcohol is one of the worst things for your cords…and it will make you miss more than a few classes as well.

Now, if you’re not already in college and you’re simply thinking about going this route, there is no way you’ve had alcohol before — because that would mean you’re under twenty-one, right? Well, just in case you have snuck a drink, keep in mind drinking the night before an important audition, showcase, lesson, or any performance is not ideal if you are required to show off some seriously impressive chops. If you’re going for Britney Spears-style talk-singing (no shade intended), it might not be the biggest issue, but otherwise, stay away from the booze when you know you’ll be standing in front of a microphone sometime very soon.

2. Drink Warm Liquids

While alcohol might not be good for you, warm liquids are — although unfortunately, the warmth of the beverage doesn’t negate the alcohol content. (So don’t think a hot toddy is going to be fine just because you’ve heated it up.) In the hours before you’re preparing for another lesson, or perhaps even something more important like a college admissions audition or a performance in front of other people, you should focus on drinking warmer things, as it helps loosen your vocal cords, and it will help your body get to a place where you can be at your absolute best. Tea is always a solid decision, while coffee isn’t preferred. (Again, sorry!)

Becoming a great vocalist who can perform for years (or even decades if you’re one of the lucky ones) involves a lot more than just a love of singing, as you need to take care of your body, your throat, and be ready at every moment.

3. Water!

I know this article seems to be dedicated solely to my telling you what to drink and what not to drink, but it’s not, I promise. These suggestions come from professionals who have been training Singers for a long time, so pay attention! To recap: avoid booze, choose tea over coffee, and…drink lots of water. That last item is a solid choice at any point in your life, but it’s especially important before singing, so keep a bottle on you, and get used to the taste of water…or the lack of taste, I suppose.

You’ll learn a lot about how your body works if you’re going to be studying vocal performance in school or after school at private lessons, and it is a lot more complicated than most incoming students believe when they get started. There are a lot of factors which can affect your singing and they’re all important and worth understanding, at least at a basic physiological level.

4. Warm Up Before Leaving The House

You’ll be doing a lot of practicing in school if you’re planning on studying any form of music, be it singing or playing an instrument. You’ll have homework and plenty of time in front of other students and your teachers to sing it loud and give it your all, but you will need to do so, even more, when you’re home alone.

Before you leave the house for any moment when you’ll be using your vocal cords, be it a major event or just another early morning class, you should warm up before you even head out. This can be considered going the extra mile, but this amount of effort is what separates those who make it and succeed and the ones who may have had the talent, but didn’t quite go all the way. You don’t need to put on a showstopping performance in your home for nobody, but when you arrive at the concert hall or the lecture hall, or wherever your lessons take place, (which will be the case more often than heading out to a well-attended showing), you should be ready to walk in that door and knock them all on their asses.

5. Dress Appropriately

Yes, believe it or not, what you wear does matter — and no, I’m not talking about dressing like a pop star or showing skin like the biggest names on the charts have taken to doing over the years. Sure, presentation makes a difference at some points in your life and your career, but when it comes to achieving the best vocal performance possible, there are actual, important reasons for thinking before you throw something on and head out the door.

If you live in a cold weather climate (where many of the best schools for musicians and the musically-inclined are located), you need to consider staying warm not just for comfort, but also because your muscles need to be relaxed and warmed up before you put them through the stress of a difficult performance. Grab a scarf, wear a jacket, and put a hat on before you leave your bedroom, even if it doesn’t seem freezing outside. You don’t need to be prepared for the Arctic, but it’s better to be slightly too warm as opposed to cold, because your throat muscles will know the difference.

Know the who, what, when, why and how of every piece of music. You might not always be required to be able to write an essay on every track you’ll belt, but it can’t hurt you to get inside the minds and hearts of those who initially brought this piece of music to life.

6. Be Prepared!

Preparation is key when it comes to doing anything right. It might be enough to simply show up to your lesson (or class) knowing the words and the melody, but if you want to one day be the best of the best, try to understand what you’re saying and doing on a level others might not. Research the Composer, the Songwriter, and the artist who originally made the tune you’re gearing up to showcase famous, all in an effort to understand the true meaning and power behind the piece of music you’ve been handed.

Know the who, what, when, why and how of every piece of music. You might not always be required to be able to write an essay on every track you’ll belt, but it can’t hurt you to get inside the minds and hearts of those who initially brought this piece of music to life.

7. Practice, Practice, Practice

You’ll be singing in class and you’ll be warming up right before you leave your home, apartment, or dorm room to head to any lesson or performance, but even that isn’t enough to make you the best you can be. If you really want to make singing a part of your life in any professional context, you’re going to be doing a lot more of it than you realize and most of it won’t even be in front of other people.

Musicians spend more time practicing and learning than doing anything else. This goes even for those who have already made it. Many young people who have been gifted with a pretty voice and some bit of stage presence make the mistake of believing they have what it takes to go all the way and become a great Singer already in the bag, but those who typically win out and end up becoming the most successful are the ones who put in the hours and work on becoming better at their craft every day.

What’s the best way to do that? Practice! Practice, practice, and then practice some more. As somebody looking to study vocal performance, you’ll learn how to practice effectively. You’ll learn what you should be doing to warm up and for how long. But, no matter what specific exercises or lengths you’re instructed on, it will likely be much more than you first imagined. Even the most famous names in the music industry rehearse and practice before every show or live performance, and when you consider how much some pop stars and vocal talents actually do perform, the amount of practice they must endure is incredible.

If this all sounds somewhat daunting, that’s because, to a certain extent, it is, and this is something you need to be prepared for as you begin to venture down this career path. Some people put in long nights at the office, while others go to school for a decade-plus before they can be hired. As a Singer, practicing nonstop is perhaps the most grueling thing you’ll do throughout your life (until you get around to touring, which can absolutely destroy some people), but if you truly love what you do, it will all be worth it in the end. This section wasn’t meant to scare you away from the craft, but rather to ensure you understand just how much you’ll need to practice to achieve your goals.

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