One of the requests I receive most often from singers is how to improve vocal stamina aka how to get gig fit.
Not all the singers I work with are gigging regularly, however, I coach them all as if they are about to head off on tour for 300 days of the year!
When it comes to improving your vocal stamina, viewing your voice like any other muscle in your body is a great way to approach vocal training.
For example, take working out at the gym. It pays to have a tailored ‘workout’ programme designed by a trainer to suit your needs.
Having an effective practice plan that focuses on everything you want to strengthen will help your voice immensely.
You can tackle your vocal workout 3-5 x per week depending on what you are working towards.
I believe singers are athletes!
In the same way you would build muscular stamina, you can improve vocal stamina using similar principles.
Five Ways To Improve Vocal Stamina
- Regular Focused Practice
- Vocal Rest
- Technique Toolkit/Coaching
1. Regular Focused Practice
Aim for 15-60 mins per practice session, 4-6 x per week.
However, just like the gym, if you are starting out it, build your workouts and stamina slowly so as to not put too much strain on your vocal muscles.
Starting out 3 x per week for 30 minutes is great. Build it as you improve or if you are working towards a show or specific gig.
Incorporate learning and polishing new songs into your vocal practice.
My singing practices look like this:
5 mins – Vocal Journal/Practice Planning
5 mins – Wake up your voice – Siren
15 mins – Vocal Warm Up
10 mins – Vocal Workout – Technical exercises
15 mins – Specific song study practice/performance/listening for inspiration/singing for fun
5 mins – Warm down/notes for journal/next practice/reflection
Warm ups and technical exercises should be given to you by your vocal coach once they know your voice and what your goals are for your voice.
The other points are complementary to this practice plan.
2. Vocal Rest
Make sure you schedule rest days in between intensive practices.
It could be a full day of vocal rest, like NO SPEAKING and this is hard to do but is a good reminder of what life will be like if you push yourself too hard vocally and end up on vocal rest for a long period of time.
You can also do a modified vocal rest period of 15-20 minutes after any high voice use including talking for long periods.
3. Technique Toolkit
Singing with excellent technique in itself is the key to improving your vocal stamina.
If you are singing efficiently, you should be able to sing 4-6 days per week without too much stress on your voice but you should be incorporating rest days as well.
One thing singers tend to do that leads to fatigue is working the vocal folds too hard and using very high effort levels without adjusting based on the task at hand.
Some key tips for singing to instantly help with this:
- Monitor your effort levels. Try to perform the same phrase with less effort. Assign an effort number on a scale of 1-10 and adjust based on how you are feeling on the day plus to develop your control at varying effort numbers.
- The high notes require less air pressure, the low notes require more air pressure. Pushing or reaching for high notes will exhaust your vocal folds.
- Learning how to use your breath effectively, your filter/resonance as well as voice qualities to make singing easier are must-do’s for improving technique, stamina plus overall enjoyment in singing.
Consistency will really help shift the dial for your voice.
Getting the practice in and sticking at it will improve your vocal stamina.
The best way to get better at singing is more singing!
Use your practice plan to focus your attention when you are increasing the frequency of your singing.
Once you have a solid practice plan and have maintained consistency with your practice routine, begin to make time to review your practices and performances to reflect on how you can improve all elements of your singing.
Challenge yourself with new vocal exercises and songs outside of your chosen genre.
Recording yourself singing and constructively ‘critiquing’ your performance or letting someone you trust critique you, is a great way to improve your singing.
You could approach it like a “before and after” singing vid.
Tackle a song you find tricky as part of start your regular practice schedule, go at it for a month, then record yourself singing the same song again to see the improvements!
Book in for a video performance review to receive coaching and constructive feedback from me!
What else can you do to improve vocal stamina?
Remember to also prioritise vocal health as a foundational element of improving your vocal stamina.
A healthy voice is a happy voice that can have all vocal techniques overlaid onto it.
As always, dying to hear if you have any comments or thoughts to add on improving vocal stamina.
Let me know below!