I hate when I hear someone telling another person that "practice makes perfect". It's often told to me or someone around me that is struggling to learn a difficult part of a song, so in most cases, it is generally decent advice to give, but that doesn't mean the advice is accurate. The act of practicing something will never make you perfect at it for 3 main reasons that I want to share with you. Don't worry, I'm not trying to stop you from practicing, and it's an amazing thing to do. Just know that it isn't that simple.
In the world of singing, there are many ways that we can sound great but actually, be doing more harm than good to our bodies. We naturally get a lot of bodily movements right when we feel the music, but we also can get a ton of things wrong by nature including bad posture, bad breathing, and movements that cause muscle tension.
If I'm practicing a song without the guidance of a professional, I may be sounding great but practicing the wrong way and not even notice it. Even worse, let's say I'm dedicated and super consistent about practicing this song wrong. I do it wrong for days. Weeks. Months! This practice had great intentions, but it did not make my performance perfect at all.
I personally learned to sing with the help of my family and church friends. A lot of us have amazing vocals, but we didn't get official voice lessons until we were in middle or high school. The one thing I practiced over and over that was just plain wrong was my breath support. I was all shoulders and sucking in my stomach to take a breath, instead of breathing deeply and expanding the air in my lower body to take a breath.
And I still have to remind myself over 15 years later how to breathe right and unlearn my old bad habits.
Instead of thinking that practicing something, in particular, will make you perfect, let's take a step back and make things more general so that you won't get caught up in a bad practicing loop as I did.
Practicing is a great thing that you should never stop doing as an artist or creator. Even though I'm speaking to my musician buddies, these tips can be applied to many different careers, but I want to put you in the headspace of a business owner.
Business owners are always looking for ways to better themselves and their products or services. In a large company, a team of researchers and developers (R&D) get the exciting job of testing out new ideas, learning, and implementing those into business practices.
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I like to think of practicing as a way to do your own research and development for yourself as a musician. Most people who are dedicated will practice over and over, which is great. Keep that up. But know that it can bring you permanent consistency, not necessarily perfection.
If you want to make sure that you are also getting better at your craft while you practice and memorize good habits, don't skip the research. Don't skip the learning side of things. Develop your talent with music lessons. Study the greats on Youtube and Tik-Tok. Get feedback from people around you.
Don't get stuck on developing your talent in your own bubble. The most successful people were able to take big leaps in their careers because they were hungry for new knowledge. New networking connections. New ways to practice.
Perfection in the music world is impossible to get unless you are a robot or you're overprocessing your voice to the point of sounding like one. Flaws are actually beautiful, especially when you're a singer. Flaws can help bring out the emotion in a song sometimes.
Striving for perfection can drive you nuts to the point where you can't even enjoy your craft any longer because of all the pressure that is being put on you. If you are putting enough effort into practicing consistency, learning consistently, and reaching people in a positive way, you do not need to strive for perfection. You will be all the better and more appreciated for your flaws that make you human and ultimately more relatable to your potential fans.
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As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 200 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, features, nursery rhymes, and DJ drops, she currently spends her time engulfed in creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Her most recent creative collaborations include work with PBS Sound Field, Tribe of Noise, and the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Check out Yona’s latest music releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share the music if you like it!
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