Singing is one of those things that most of us take for granted. You have a built-in instrument—you use it all day to speak. Seems like you should just be able to sing too, right? Non-singing musicians especially think it's easy to be a singer. Um, no way! Singing well is a skill that takes time to develop. As for anything physical, it takes practice and preparation to get good at singing. Especially since many people are not confident about how they sound, being motivated to practice and get through the icky stuff can feel overwhelming—even discouraging.
But if you're serious about improving your singing, practice is the way there. And how you practice is really important.
I'd say at least 60% of my students admit to a short warm up and skills building practice before they get to songs.
ME: "How much do you practice in one session?"
STUDENT: "Oh, usually 45 minutes to an hour."
"How much of that is warming up?"
"Oh, about 10-15 minutes."
"What is your warm up?"
"I do lip trills, sing 5-4-3-2-1 (Sol fa mi re do) on "ah," stuff like that."
"How many days a week do you practice?"
"I know I need to practice more. Maybe three days? Or four. Something like that."
"Do you put in 45 minutes to an hour each time?"
"Well, sometimes it's only 30 minutes."
In the above Q&A, you can see that's not a lot of practice. The voice truly needs time to get warm and supple as you've been learning in the Series. And skills only come when you work on them, actually, physically—not just wanting to sing better or just working on the songs alone.
So how you find the discipline to practice?
I think it's kind of like building a new everday diet. For example, have you decided to cut out sugar and soda from y our diet? If you eat and drink sweet foods regularly, it's hard to just give them up cold-turkey. Waking up one morning and declaring that you're totally off sugar is great, but maintaining that commitment is hard for most people. That's because there's a period of time when you crave those sweet foods, before your body adjusts and you find your need for a cookie has gone away. It can make you feel like you're denying yourself, and you might regress and grab a cookie anyway. But two weeks without sugar, and you no longer remember wanting it so badly. You don't crave it anymore.
How is this anything like singing? Well, instead of going for the cookie, you're going for the song. You know you're supposed to do warm ups and skills-building exercises first, but that can be boring! And even discouraging as we've said, because it takes time to build skills. So, you do a brief warm up because you know you're supposed to, and jump into the song. Thing is, without having developed singing skills, it's going to be harder to sing a song well.
What you need is motivation to practice. You need to find a way to love it, or at least to embrace practicing as a positive habit you're developing for yourself, for your health, for your satisfaction with hearing your voice.