Is your goal in life to land a recording contract? Is your goal to sing on Broadway? Is your goal to sing locally
and be paid for your performances? Is your goal to sing in Carnegie Hall?
There is an old joke that goes something
"How do you get to Carnegie Hall?"
The answer: "Practice!"
jokes, it still has some truth in it. A great teacher of brass instruments, Dr. Donald S. Reinhardt of Philadelphia, PA,
once told me that 20% of my improvement was based on what he taught me. The other 80% was dependent on my using it. "Using
it" means: diligent disciplined practice with a great positive attitude, understanding it very well, and doing EXACTLY
and PRECISELY what I was taught.
The lips and the mouthpiece of a brass player are in many ways analagous to the
vocal apparatus of a singer, even though there are very distinct anatomical differences. Practicing regularly, consistently,
diligently, and correctly can all help prepare a person for success.
Practicing the wrong thing, the ineffective
thing, or even the right thing done the wrong way (or in the wrong sequence) can all help contribute to failure or at best,
a mediocre result that is simply not good enough to be considered at a professional level. This might sound harsh but it
is a harsh reality and there is no replacing knowledge or competency. The instant perfect singer is only a fantasy.
The more a singer knows about the voice and music and the accuracy and legitimacy of that information, the more there will
be strong contributing factors to a singer's success and longevity. The world is full of people who haven't taken the time
to study music, vocal technique, anatomy, acoustics and other subjects germane to singing. The phrases they use expose their
ignorance: "sing from your diaphragm", "place your tone", and a myriad of other fallacious silly insanities
which are nothing more than a waste of time, money and attention. It's not just WHO you know. It's also WHAT you know and
what you can DO!
Music is a vital part of singing and musicianship is one of the "yardsticks". You can
measure a singer's current level of professionalism, or the lack thereof, by their depth and breadth of knowledge and skill
of music. Additionally, technique which allows the singer to artistically execute stylistically correct singing is a make-break
factor in a singer's career, both short-term and long-term.
"If you're not growing, you are dying", when
it comes to the arts.