(Excerpted from chapter 12 of Singer’s Guide to Powerful Performances by Jeannie Deva)

Developing Discipline

When I attended college I had a terrible time with discipline. I was a procrastinator. Though I performed quite a bit while attending Berklee College of Music in Boston, I had an awful time getting myself to practice. In fact, I even graduated college late because I didn’t get my final composition and arrangement projects done in time and had to use the summer to complete them.

During college, a private teacher threw me out because I never practiced. I thought I could fool him but really I was just cheating myself and paying good money for it!

Sound like you? I hope not, but if it does, may this story and this book inspire you to make a fresh start.

When I began doing my original research on the voice, it wasn’t because I was the scholarly sort. I had come to the realization that I’d been inundated with so many confusions and contrary directions on the “right way” to sing that I’d lost the joy and couldn’t find the motivation to practice or perform.

I launched into research to quiet the noise in my head. I was determined to see if it was possible to achieve a sense of understanding, certainty and simplicity of approach. Fortunately I found what I was looking for. With this fresh outlook, I constructed a method of development that has resulted in a connected four-octave range and a freedom of vocal flexibility and expression previously unimaginable.

While researching it became clear to me that my earlier reluctance to practice stemmed from my lack of understanding of what I was doing, why I was doing it and how to tell if I was doing it correctly. But even so, as I embarked upon the creation of a new method of vocal technique and associated exercises, I had a lot of old habits to contend with such as procrastination, lack of discipline and poor efficiency when it came to scheduling.

Determined to win, I found ways to get myself to practice and to maintain practice consistency. Here are a few things I found helpful.

Tips for Maintaining Discipline 

Prepare …
Arrange your practice space so that it’s an environment you want to be in.

Organize …
Pull together any equipment you’ll need and make sure it’s positioned so that it’s easy to use, such as notes from your lessons, vocal exercise practice CDs, a CD player, backing tracks, an iPod and speakers, a mic and amplification system, special effects pedals, and so on.

Schedule …
Get a schedule book or create a practice calendar in your computer and work out a realistic daily practice schedule.

Empower …
Remind yourself that this is your artist development time (not something someone else is forcing you to do). Commit yourself to a dedicated time each day for practice and screen out all distractions like email, text messages and phone calls.

Reward …
Give yourself a reward for practicing a certain number of days in a row.

Dedicate …
Set specific goals for yourself: week long, month-long, and long-range. Keep your eye on the mountain and know that with each day you practice, you’re moving yourself closer to the achievement of your goals.

Redesign …
On any day you have to alter your practice schedule, do so once you figure out when else in the day you’ll schedule your practice time.

The more I did the above, the better I got at doing it and the more results I obtained. And this was encouraging and helped maintain my momentum and keep my morale high. But I also found another necessary ingredient. Read on!

To read the rest of Chapter 12. Buy and use Jeannie Deva’s indispensable eBook – Singer’s Guide to a Powerful Performances