“Guy, please tell my child to practice!”
Taking a voice lesson each week is essential to training your voice. It is through these weekly lessons that you are guided by your teacher to coordinate, strengthen and balance the various muscle groups in the singing mechanism. Without proper guidance, it can be difficult at best to develop your voice to its full potential.
One lesson per week, is not enough to train a voice. What is most important is that a student take the recording of each week’s lesson, and work with it daily. It takes a minimum of 5 days per week of practice, in addition to your weekly voice lesson, to develop a professional quality singing voice. What the student must practice most are the vocal exercises prescribed to them by their teacher, not simply the songs they like to sing.
Many times, parents will ask me, “Can you please get my son or daughter to practice?” While I definitely always encourage my students to practice every day, It is ultimately up to the parents to require daily practice as a condition of their child taking lessons.
When I was young, my parents made me practice the piano an hour each day. There were no ifs, ands or buts about it. No other privileges were allowed until after I had finished chores, homework and practice.
Even though I loved playing music, as a child and a teenager there were many days when I just didn’t feel like practicing. But at that age, my concept of cause and effect was not yet fully developed. I didn’t understand that skipping days would mean failure as a musician for me later in life. I’m very glad that my parents understood this, and took it upon themselves to make sure that I practiced every day, no matter what. Yes, some days there were arguments about it, but, as my parents, they always won out over my protestations.
Had my parents left me to my own devices, I would never have gained any skill whatsoever on the piano. I am grateful to my parents for their diligence in making sure that I never lost my way. If it hadn’t been for my parents’ strictness with my daily practice, I would never have had any real musical skill as an adult, and my life would be quite different.
Of course I always stress to all my students the importance of daily practice; but for my students who are children and teens, I encourage the parents to take the lead and not place the burden of making decisions fully on the shoulders of these young students, who don’t yet understand the repercussions of their day-to-day choices. Your children may whine and complain now, but they will thank you for the rest of their lives that you were essential in their building of a world-class voice for themselves.