Singers are athletes
When training for tours, a singer must have an intense regimen. The touring requirements in our industry have become more extreme than ever. Artists whose voices aren’t “tour ready” before they go on the road run a great risk for vocal injury.
No athlete would ever avoid intensive preparation for their events. Can you imagine a runner entering a marathon without months of prior conditioning? Of course not. Singers must train for their tours as intensively and methodically as other athletes train for their events.
Your voice may not survive a tour unless it is prepared
Going on the road without preparing the voice properly is asking for serious trouble. An untrained voice can’t function in a healthy manner when singing high intensity performances nightly, for months on end.
It can many months of intensive vocal training to fully prepare for a lengthy tour. The length of time needed depends on the starting condition of the voice.
I prefer an old world approach to preparing singers (of all genres) for long tours. The ancient Bel Canto materials are not just for opera singers. When singers train using these materials, they have a leg up on those who do not. You can’t beat the old training methods when it comes to vocal power, flexibility, stamina, range and facility.
Following, is my basic regimen for singers who are training for tours:
First, the artist and I gauge the actual amount of daily singing time and intensity that will be required of them on tour.
Second, we slowly begin to build up vocal stamina. We use ancient Bel Canto scales and etudes to build up this endurance. We increase the artist’s daily training time slowly, adding more scales and etudes. Eventually they will have built up their daily regimen so that they are singing the scales and etudes for a little longer than their actual performance set.
Singers who already vocalize on scales and etudes as part of their regular singing practice can build this stamina quite rapidly; but singers who aren’t used to this level of advanced vocalism, must start slowly and build their strength and endurance gradually, over a longer period of time.
During this part of the training period, I ask the artist to refrain from singing anything other than the scales and etudes.
Artists often take this time to learn, analyze, emotionalize and memorize (rather than vocalize) the music from their tour.
Third, after the artist has built the required vocal stamina, they begin to add the music from their tour into their daily practice. Bit by bit, I ask the artist to add more of the music from the upcoming tour as they gradually decrease the scales and etudes from their daily practice routine.
Fourth, Over time, the artist will be singing their entire performance set daily (plus a few scales and etudes). This is the time when pre tour rehearsals often begin. When it’s time to hit the road, their voice is fully prepared.
Fifth, while on the road, I encourage artists to sing at least a few scales and etudes every day.
I have found, over the years, that this method of training for tours works wonders for all genres of singers.