World Choir Games Flanders 2021

How to sing – 10 habits of successful professional singers

  • [A version of this article first appeared as a post on my blog From the Front of the Choir]

    In my recent post How to sing – the definitive guide, I pointed out that lots of people Google “How to sing” instead of just getting on and doing it.


    Garðar Thor Cortes by David


    If you’re serious about singing and want to get on with it, here are 10 habits you can develop which come from successful professional singers.

    1. listen
    Listen to yourself, to others, to singers you love, to music you’re not familiar with. Develop your ear. See also Singing is all about listening.

    2. be patient
    Like any other skill, being able to sing doesn’t happen overnight. Some people think professional singers can learn a song by just hearing it once. Not so. It takes months of hard work and real listening to nail a song. See also How long does it take to learn a song?

    3. know your limits Don’t try to sing too high or too low or in a style that doesn’t suit your voice. Get to know your own limits and capabilities and play to your strengths. See also But I can’t sing that high!

    4. be yourself
    Stop trying to impersonate other singers. Be yourself and celebrate your own unique voice. It’s why you like and admire other singers in the first place! See also Never let the fake perfection of pop singers put you off singing and Learning to love the sound of your own voice.

    5. join a choir
    You’d be surprised how many well-known singers started off in a choir: Justin Timberlake, Billy Joel, Axel Rose, Whitney Houston, Lenny Kravitz, Sheryl Crow, Neil Diamond, Barbra Streisand, Britney Spears, Beyonce, Katy Perry, Avril Lavigne – the list goes on. If it worked for them, it can work for you. See also The pleasures of being a choir member

    6. keep learning
    ... and keep practising. You never ‘arrive’ at being the best singer you can. Even experienced professionals take classes and practice regularly.

    7. stay healthy
    A healthy body means a healthy voice. Get plenty of sleep, keep hydrated, eat a healthy diet. See also Looking after yourself in a busy concert season

    8. don’t strain If you find yourself straining or your voice hurts after singing, then something is wrong. Get help. Have some singing lessons. Learn a singing technique that suits you (there is no one technique that is right for everyone). See also Your singing voice: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

    9. prepare properly
    Never rush in and sing from a cold start, always prepare. Take time to warm up your voice and ears and body and breath and imagination before you launch into song. See also Preparing to sing: why bother?

    10. don’t give up
    If at first you don’t succeed ... these things take time. So many people give up at the first hurdle. It’s the ones who are in for the long haul who succeed.

    Good luck!




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    Chris Rowbury



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