These tips were compiled over years and years of hearing over and over again: “I have nowhere to practice.” It might not be the place you thought you needed, but you can definitely think outside the box and find a place to practice, no matter what level of singing you are. I hope that this article inspires you to get creative about finding a place that works for you.
Learning to Sing Means, Well, Having to Sing Sometimes.
In our busy modern world it is not always easy to find a time or place that is perfectly private in which to sing, or make other funny sounds. Unfortunately, the only way to get better at something is to practice is, and to get better at singing, you’ve gotta find a place to practice your singing.
If you are an adult learner of singing – particularly if you are a beginner, you’ll want to find a location where you can make some noise and not feel super weird or nervous about it. That said, it can be difficult to find conditions that are perfectly sound-proofed and private. It’s ok to explore different scenarios until you find the situation that is most comfortable for you.
Here are some tips to get you started.
What You’ll Need to Practice Singing
In general, you don’t need any fancy equipment, speakers, microphones, or computers.
Be sure that you can play the audio at a volume that is comfortable for you to sing along to, without being so loud that it causes you to push or strain in order to hear yourself over it.
If you plan to sing along to music or scales playing through your headphones, try doing it with one headphone in and one headphone out. That way, you’ll be able to hear the music as well as your own voice.
I keep .mp3 files of my favorite scales in my Google Drive. This allows me to access them from anywhere, at any time. You might also consider bookmarking your favorite vocal technique videos on YouTube, so you can play them on any device with internet or data access.
Whether or not you can play an instrument and accompany yourself, you can still work on your songs. Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, and any other platform on which you get your music from will have a variety of versions of most songs that you can stream from the cloud or download to your device. This assumes you’ve chosen a fairly modern or popular song.
If you’ve picked something obscure, you might have your teacher or a musician friend arrange and record it for you, and send it to you in a digital format so you can sing along to it from your device.
You don’t need to have a mirror, and in fact, a lot of beginner learners of singing really resist the idea of watching themselves sing. It’s super helpful to have a mirror in front of you though, so you can monitor what you’re doing.
For instance, sometimes you’ll think you’re doing something one way, but when you see it in the mirror, you’ll realize you’re doing it another way. This happens a lot with my students (beginners through advanced) in two areas in particular: thinking that their mouth is open wide enough when it’s barely open at all, and thinking that their posture is totally straight, when they are actually quite slouched.
It is absolutely and totally fine to not practice with a mirror, and not having a mirror is not an excuse to skip your practice. If you can occasionally practice with a mirror, you’ll get a lot out of it.
Eek, What if My Family or Neighbors Hear Me?!
If you want privacy from your roommate, partner, or kids, talk to them about your practice needs and coordinate a time for you to have your home, or a room in your home, all to yourself to practice. If that option is not available, you might perhaps coordinate a time.
Singing practice and apartment living are a tricky match, indeed. If you are afraid that your neighbors will hear you singing in your apartment, try talking to them about it. Find out about their schedule and potentially plan to sing when they are not home. You can also do a sound test with them to see just how much of the singing and music they can actually hear.
Can I Practice in My Car?
Singing in the car is a vital part of the modern human experience, so go for it! However, I recommend that you do not only practice in the car.
Driving has its own mental and physical requirements that take up a lot of your attention, diverting it from the task of singing with healthy technique. You’ll want to have some practice time that is dedicated specifically and solely to the task of singing, without any other activities or distractions.
Additionally, when you practice in the car, you’ll be sitting. It’s totally ok to sit while singing! But you will also want to do some of your practice standing, in order to build a deeper understanding of the technique, and develop a healthy, strong voice.
One more thing: if you only practice in your car, you’ll only feel safe and comfortable practicing in your car. So, yes, go for it! But challenge yourself to find other places and situations to round out your practice options and generally build some confidence and bravery.
Before you practice in the car, be sure to read our article: 6 Tips for Singing in the Car
Try Booking a Music Rehearsal Space
Lots of cities and towns have businesses dedicated to providing space for local musicians to practice and hone their craft. There are many benefits to practicing your singing at a space like this:
- They are built specifically for the purpose of making music, so you can be as loud as you want.
- Musicians of all levels and genres go to these places, meaning that you won’t be the only beginner, and you might meet some cool people.
- They usually have microphones and it is especially fun to sing on the microphone.
- Often, though not always, there are mirrors in the rooms so you can monitor your technique.
- They have professional PA systems, and you will be able to play your practice tracks and songs through the speakers in the room directly from your device.
There are a few downsides to consider, as well:
- If you are new to music or singing, it can feel a little intimidating to be surrounded by other musicians and bands.
- There are usually several rehearsal rooms at these types of facilities, and they are not all 100% soundproof. If there are bands practicing in any of the other rooms, it can get a little loud.
- Not being 100% soundproof means that people in other rooms will be able to hear some of what you’re practicing as well.
- Music rehearsal spaces are often in industrial areas of town, so you’ll want to scope out the vibe and feel and safety measures, in advance.
Try Singing in an Empty Park or Parking Lot
This might sound absolutely crazy, but I think it’s super fun, and it’s really empowering. Singing in an empty public area also reconnects you to your inner child and reminds you of when singing was something just something you did at all times and in all places.
Some benefits to singing in a park or other empty space:
- You get to be outside on a nice day.
- You can be as loud as you want.
Things to watch out for:
- Someone might show up and suddenly you’ll feel nervous or want to leave.
- If it is windy, you might push a little too hard to hear yourself, and accidentally fatigue your voice.If it’s cold, your body might tighten up and make it difficult, or unsafe for your voice to sing.
A Few More Options
Still not sure just where you should practice? Here are a few more options for you to explore:
- Asking a friend if you can sing at their house.
- Renting a room at a church or local community center.
- Using the conference room at your office when nobody else is around.
- Check out websites like Peerspace.com, that rent all sorts of different types of venues for all sorts of creative purposes.
Time to Try It!
Here are a few questions to spark your creativity regarding finding a traditional or nontraditional, comfortable place to practice:
- How comfortable are you with singing out loud and having your imperfections heard by others?
- What time and place do you already have to yourself?
- What places, other than your car or bathroom might also work for you?
We want to hear from you!
Please share with the community about your practice experiences!
- What scenarios did you try?
- Where did it feel the easiest/hardest to feel safe enough to sing? Why?
- Did you notice a difference when sitting versus standing?
- Did you notice a difference when practicing with a mirror versus no mirror?
- In which location was it easiest to hear yourself and give your singing your undivided attention?
Please share with us in the comments!