A day, a week, a month, a year, or even a lifetime, “How long does it take to learn how to sing”?
That’s tricky question to answer, it can depend on a lot of factors; experience, musical background, and even if your goal is to sing in the shower or on London’s West End stages.
Some of you may have heard of the 10,000 hour rule, where they say it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in anything.
With 2 hours of practising every day, it would take you 5,000 days (13.69 years) to achieve expert status. That’s a very long time!
Now, before you shrug and think “Why bother?”, it is truly possible to have success in a shorter time frame, because you don’t need to be an expert to be a successful singer!
So, lets talk about how long it takes to learn how to sing and what we can do to make the process a little quicker.
Everyone will be starting at different experience levels and that will depend on your background and what you’ve already done, but the general rule is; the younger you start, the better!
Get a teacher
If you knew how to do it you, then you wouldn’t need a teacher, would you? So, find a good teacher who will work with you towards your goals, someone that understands what you want to achieve and can give you the technique and know-how to make it happen.
This makes a huge difference in how you progress. If you mindlessly repeat the exercises again and again, are you growing or just sustaining?
If you aren’t paying attention to what you are practising, then how do you know if you are getting better, staying the same, or getting worse?
Focus on your practise: what is working well? What isn’t working? Make sure you stop and correct it if something is wrong, and you’ll start to reap the rewards of deliberate practice.
Set yourself goals
Knowing what you want to work and on and what you want to achieve will make a big difference in how long it takes to learn to sing. If you don’t know what you want, then how do you know if you are improving?
Think about your voice and what you want from it. Do you want more range? More power? Clearer tone? Easier high notes? Easier soft notes?
Write your goals down on paper, and hold yourself to them.
The best way to do this is to have an overall goal, and then break it down into smaller goals. Then we can target the issues that stop you from achieving what you want.
Let’s work through an example:
Let’s say you want easier high notes, because you are experiencing flipping and squeezing as you sing into your upper range.
So your big goal is free and easy high notes.
With the help of your teacher, you identify that the reason you don’t have free and easy high notes is because you are too heavy in the bottom part of your voice, so your vocal cords come apart (the flipping) and your larynx rises as you ascend in pitch (the possible squeezing).
So a subgoal could be to learn how to transition better from the chest voice into the first bridge, eliminating one issue. The next goal could be to maintain connection from the bottom to the top (eliminating the flip which can be a sudden change in sound).
Then, you might find the last goal you set of getting rid of the squeezing has taken care of itself, through fixing the other two problems.
So, you see having one big goal can be really daunting, but one big goal with smaller subgoals makes it easier for you take little chunks out of that big goal!
Monitor your progress
If you want a bigger range, are you paying attention to how high you are vocalising? If you want a clearer tone, are you recording your practice and listening back to check?
Keep a record of your practice and how it went. A practice journal is a great idea – it’s so important to track your progress, otherwise how will you know if you are getting better?
Your teacher will love that you’ve got a journal, and as you practise and record in your journal, make sure you write down your questions too so you can ask them at your next lesson!
Hold yourself accountable
Having someone to kick you up the butt when you don’t practice can be really helpful. Hopefully you are motivated and want to succeed with this, but we all have off days where its hard to get going.
So, tell someone what you are trying to do and get them bug you when you haven’t practised. It may make you practise just to shut them up!
Being held accountable really makes a difference when you are trying to improve your singing, even if it just means having someone to talk to as you progress and develop your voice.
So as we’ve seen, it can take a while to master singing, or to become an expert at it, but with some of the helpful tips above we can make lots of changes really quickly in our voices.
So, when someone asks you “How long does it take to learn how to sing?” you can impress them with your new found knowledge in this article!
What are your tips for mastering singing quickly? Leave us a comment here or on our Facebook or Google + page! Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter if you want more great articles like this one delivered to your inbox.