Some people love to practice warm ups and vocal technique, others not so much. While practicing is essential to progress, it can also be frustrating or discouraging, especially when your voice isn't responding today the way it did yesterday. (This is perfectly normal by the way. Your body changes every day, and your voice is in your body.) Practicing can be joyful too, and inspiring. It's the way you reach a breakthrough in your singing. Anytime you are working on building new skills, it takes fortitude, commitment, patience, and discipline to hang in there when you're not seeing the results you're going for right away. It may even make you think your voice just can't get there. One thing is for certain: with repetition, with regular practice, you will improve. You will get closer to your goals.
Another reason singers avoid warmups and technical exercises is because your voice is active all day long, and stepping into singing can seem like simply shifting how it's being used. "I'll just warm up for 10 minutes before I get to my songs, and I"ll be fine" some of my students believe. (Or, they admit they should do more, but just don't.) True, sometimes if the song you're working on isn't demanding vocally, or if you're just working on learning lyrics or writing a new song, a brief warm up can be adequate. But if you really want to improve your singing, and when the song you're working on is demanding vocally, a substantial warm up including work on technical skills is essential.
We're athletes. Our entire body is used when we sing whether we're aware of it or not. How you stand can affect whether you'll reach that high note or not. If your chin is raised for example, or if your arms are stiff, if you're sitting and leaning forward over your guitar...these are some ways your posture will absolutely affect your singing. When you strengthen and engage your core, put awareness into using your legs when you're singing, and learn to release your arms and upper body, you'll have a much freer voice. A freer voice can do more with less effort. Alongside that, practice specific skills that give you more flexibility and accuracy. Every week I'm adding more exercises to this Series so you'll always have exercises to work on.
Here's a tip: Try practicing with your arms open, and gathering your breath from the ground up. Become aware of how your lower body supports your upper body as you practice. Keep your knees loose, and your eyes looking forward. Let your breath come from your core, and engage your rib muscles and deeper, slower breaths before each phrase. You'll notice that this simple shift in posture and the timing of your inhalation can make your voice feel substantially freer.
There's no quick way to get to be a great singer. It just takes time. It's like anything that requires a lot of skill in that way. It's the 10,000 hours rule to become really good at something. Your body is learning to coordinate so many different aspects, all simultaneously. It's pretty remarkable actually what we can do with our voices!
Here's perhaps a final motivation for committing to a regular singing practice: Singing makes you healthier. It's been shown in several studies that it boosts your IGA, which is part of your immune system. Singing can release endorphins. And when we really embrace practice session with an open mind and and with curiosity, we finish up feeling way better than when we started, with a voice that's on its way to more skill and greater expression.
Love your voice!