Some people go to karate classes. I didn’t go to a class in karate. I did study one-on-one with a friend. A lot. We were five days a week for hours a day, stretching, doing blocks and kicks hundreds, if not thousands, of times.
We went to a karate school and showed them what we knew and they said we would be wasting our money at their school. The reason was that they taught basic things with kicks, blocks, forms, and sparring. What does this have to do with singing?
I have a book I read called Zen Guitar and you might think, what does Zen have to do with guitar? Only a lot.
The teaching technique of my karate teacher had a few basic principles which apply to learning anything. One is “repetition”.
Tony Robbins said that “Repetition is the mother of skill.” I can relate to that. Provided you are doing the right thing, the right way, at the right time, and for the right number of times, repetition CAN be the mother of skill.
Practice the wrong thing at the wrong time or for much time and you will diminish your skill. I saw this with a trumpet player, who never moved past sounding like an amateur. He put in a lot of hours and sounded as if he had put in no time.
BACK TO KARATE… Repetition definitely can work under the right circumstances. SLOW is the way to go. Try slow motion dancing, karate, or other physical activity and you just may learn more about balance than you thought was there to learn.
In music, if there is difficulty, try slowing it down until there are no mistakes. Gradually increase speed without sacrificing quality. AURALIZE. What the heck is that? I just coined the word. It is the musical ear’s equivalent to the mental eye’s concept of “VISUALIZE”.
In karate, I would visualize myself doing a block, kick, or a form and then do it. The thing is, I also mentally felt the motion and “saw” myself from within, and then did the movement.
You want the picture to match the action. You want the mental music to match the physical action of singing. You can actually practice like this. Auralize, then exercise, do it out loud.
Do it in your head (sing) and then actually sing. Make it perfect in your mind then try to get the sounds and style become a perfect duplication of the mental concept.
I learned more about arranging one on one than in a class. I learned more in private piano than in piano class. Classes are not bad, but they are never as efficient or as fast as learning one on one.