What Should I do in the Practice Room?
5 Ways to ease into the work.
You're in a practice room and you're supposed to be working on...something. What should you work on? How should you approach it? How long should you stay? While I can't answer those things specifically for you and your process, I will tell you what I'd do.
Here are a few steps that you can complete all in one session or divide them up over the course of a day. I recommend spending no more than 90 minutes each day - the brain needs time to process.
Step #1 - Stretch
As soon as you wake you should get your body moving. If you don't do it then, be sure you do something to stretch the vessel, open the body, and center yourself toward the work ahead.
These might be helpful:
Step #2 - Breathe
Now that the body's open, get the breath engaged. Gentle breathing, inhale (4 counts) - hold (4 counts) - exhale (8 counts) - recover, finding the 360 breathe and maintaining the open pelvic floor. I may even take a peek at a video like the ones below to remind myself of where I should focus my breath energy.
Step #3 - Wake up the Voice
I always begin this section with siren and some lip trills. Then I move toward a hum+chew on sol fa mi re do (starting on C5). I eventually open that to mah or moh - making sure I hum through the beginning pitch.
Once the voice is alive and the breath is working - it's time to move on.
Step #4 - Get into the Technique
This part of my practice depends heavily on what I'm working on - if I'm belting, Imma do some chest heavy slides across the voice. If I'm mixing, Imma work that ping. Legit - work the lighter mechanism. Agility - get the voice moving. Whatever I'm doing I work the vertical stretch with a flexible lift of the soft palate and a release of the lower diaphragm/pelvic floor!
Step #5 - Work your Rep!
Dig in! Work on a piece of a piece. No I do not recommend flying through a whole piece to say it's been worked on becuase...has it really been WORKED? Learn the notes accurately. Analyze the score, identify and apply the subtext. Denote where the character would breathe. Determine what you're gonna do with the list or the repeated phrase. Now is the time to mark up the music and play with different ideas. Get on the floor and crawl around while you sing. Make the work, work!
Appcompanist is your friend - download it soon!
Now it's time to get to the work!
I'd love to hear how this process went for you. If you have a personal process, please share. Ask questions below. Your professors, colleagues, and I will chime in. Anticipating a lively discussion, so let's get going!