"Everybody wanna be a bodybuilder, but ain't nobody wanna lift these heavy ass weights!"
Well Ol' Yeargain has come up with a saying for singers...
"Everybody wanna be a singer, but ain't nobody wanna practice this hard ass music!"
If you want to use your voice professionally, you need to sing and you need to sing a lot. You need to sing literally thousands of hours with all sorts of variables attached. You need to practice. Different styles, languages, tempos, dynamics, notes from the bottom of your register to the extreme tops. Don't let anything be a barrier. Have an immense palate of colors and brushes to paint your canvas. In short, fuckin' practice.
Repetition and varying the ways I repeat the music has allowed me to not only learn music efficiently, but quickly. If I'm performing a piece of music (especially by memory) I've more than likely sung through it dozens of times before ever performing it in front of some one.
It's all About the Work
The principles of building an impressive physique and singing at a professional level aren't terribly different. Basically, you got to put in the work.
The path to mastery starts the same for everyone. You start by sucking. Then work to suck less each and every day. You collect as many tools as you possibly can, and continue to work - this time at an accelerated rate. You discover which tools fit the job you need it for best. Suddenly, you no longer suck. Then one day people will take notice of your product and then call it "talent."
Talent is a fabrication.
There are definitely certain natural qualities that are genetically bestowed upon people to allow them to excel above others, but in the mix of it all, these gifts matter little without an intense work ethic. Technique and consistency is something that's acquired.
The phrase "it takes 10 years to become an overnight sensation" pops into mind. The people who we will worship for their "talents" are out there right now slaving away at their crafts. Making moves, seizing opportunities. They are WORKING.
Don't be Afraid of Hard Work
In the fitness industry people like to point to "over training" when people aren't seeing the results they want. I've written about this topic before, but I've also pointed out frequently that you can't know how far you can go unless you've put yourself out there. Everybody knows that Ol' Yeargain used to train 6-7 days a week, two a days. And I did so for months and made tremendous progress. The main issue with overtraining is that people can't hang. They injure themselves or burn out and quit. If you know how to taper off the workload and phase in and out of these cycles of working to the bone, then you're going to THRIVE.
I've been told by people before "You don't learn how to sing high notes by singing high notes." That may work for some of you, but If I hadn't sung a song, aria, or scene with a big exposed high note in it a shit ton, I'd be crapping my pants. I believe in the principle of practicing. I learned how to sing high notes not normally sung by most baritones by trial and error and lot's of repetition.
You know why I can randomly insert high notes into whatever I'm singing? Rage on high A naturals, Bflats, B naturals, C naturals? Because I've sung hundreds of them over the past few years. Maybe even thousands. They don't scare me. That's not talent, that's an acquired skill. Now I can sing them in public, no problem. Time under tension.
Have I sung myself hoarse? Yes, multiple times. Multiple times in one day in fact. I've sung full operatic roles twice in one day and finished off barely being able to whisper. I've figured out a way to sing through head colds, sinus infections, allergies, lack of sleep. Is it pleasant? Hell no. It sucks so bad. But life, and especially the life of a performer will never be ideal. Live theatre is just that. Living, breathing, and aching. Sing for your supper, team. Work Hard, earn your place in the stars.
Until Next Time,
Lift Big, Sing Big, and Look Great Doing It.
The Opera Bro