How to Become A Successful Singer by Establishing Priorities

How to Become A Successful Singer by Establishing Priorities
Tricia Grey, MM
Fact: there are exactly 24 hours in every day.  Fact:  as human beings, we do need to sleep and eat and work or go to school (most of us) for some of those hours.  So, sad-but-true fact:  if you have chosen to become a singer, and you want to be a really good singer and artist, you will have to learn how to establish your priorities about how to use your remaining hours, in order to make the choices that will lead you to vocal success.
One of those choices is prioritizing your time in order to be able to practice daily, and to be consistent with vocal training and lessons.
One case-in-point all the fun after school or after work opportunities available to us.  Unfortunately, becoming a really good musician, singer, or artist requires a  time commitment.  You might have to choose which of these you really want more; to reach your musical goals, or to participate in some of the many time consuming activities that are available to us.
 I get lots of high school age students who say they want to be accepted to prestigious university programs as a musical theatre major, but they fail to recognize how tough the competition is to get into those programs.
I hate to break it to you girls, but, it’s even tougher to get into college musical theatre programs as a female than it is for the guys, (lots more competition) so you have to be even that much better.  And becoming a star requires even more self discipline and time.
Being over-committed seems to be a part of American life- we seem to take on as much as we can.  And this doesn’t always work if you are trying  to become an artist.
The truth and the reality is that you are going to have to prioritize.  It is said that it takes 10,000 hours of doing a skill with practiced attention before you become really proficient at it.  That is a LOT of hours.  At some point, you will have to choose whether or not to give singing and music your all. And giving it your all is just the beginning of what it takes to be really successful.
So, if you want to be a great singer, or artist, you may want to consider eliminating some of the “time drains”, even if they are great and wonderful opportunities.
And this includes video games, Facebook, texting, TV, etc, etc, etc. These are all major time-drains.
If you are an adult aiming for stardom, you will have to be even more focused.  It’s an even harder nut to crack, though it can be done!  It just takes time dedicated daily to the goal.  If you want to be a star, you need to add songwriting to the list of things that should be worked at faithfully and daily.  Hardly anyone gets through the door these days unless they have great songwriting skills.  All these things take daily, focused attention (singing in the shower or while driving is not really focused attention, by the way).
I’m not saying don’t have fun or do any after school or after work activities if you want to have a future in music.  But….sometimes there are choices to be made.  Tough choices that will cumulatively affect your future.
If you are serious about being successful, you might have to be willing to eliminate at least some of the fun but really time consuming extra curricular stuff in order to focus on your talent and your future.
A good singer needs to not only be good at singing, but also needs to also be a great musician.  Understanding musical rhythms, how to read music, and basic keyboard or piano is all part of the package.  And you need to start all that musical training fairly young, along with your vocal training. If you are an adult who wants to pursue this kind of career, you can do it, but you will have some catching up to do in the musicianship skills department.   Practicing all that, along with voice practice, takes time.  So does becoming a good songwriter, which you also need to do, if your goal is to be a successful recording artist.
It’s nice to have many varied interests and abilities, and I’m all for (kids especially) exploring them to find out what you really like.  And some of my students are just taking lesson for fun, or exploring, and that is totally fine, if that is where you are coming from. (Even those students need to practice at least 30 minutes a day).
But it seems that this is an era where everyone is told “you can be anything you want to be”, but without the other important part “if you are willing to work very hard for it”.  I think it’s an injustice to give anyone the impression that their “dream” will somehow just magically happen with no work or only minimal work on their part. A little reality check: lots and lots of people have the same dream, and they work REALLY hard at it. Hint: you have to work harder than they do,if you want to be more successful.
Once you decide you want a future and a career in music- that is, If you really want to be a star or be accepted to a really good college program, you might have to eliminate some of the admittedly fun but time consuming extra-curricular activities in favor of a consistent and focused practice and lesson schedule.  I truly know how difficult that can be sometimes! I feel your pain!
You have to consider short term versus long-term gratification.  I empathize and understand that doing vocal exercises is not nearly as fun as Facebook.  I get it. I know wearing the cute cheerleader uniform that you waited for since the sixth grade would be terrific.   But… you have to decide how to spend your very limited after school or after work hours, in order to maximize your potential future success, if you are really interested in becoming a professional singer, or even getting into the right degree program.
Make your practicing or songwriting and consistent weekly lessons the most important priority.  Everything else lines up behind that.
What this means is that you will have time after practicing to do SOME of the things that appeal to you.  Not all.  Maybe not even very many.  But some.
Write (and keep to) a schedule that includes practicing as the first thing on your list after work or school. And if you are too tired after school or work, it might work better for you to get up early and get it out of the way first thing in the morning. Do it every day.  Now, see how much time is left over and THEN do some of the fun stuff.  That way, you will achieve your dreams AND have some fun too.
Prioritizing- it’s about making positive choices with your limited time resources that will pay off over time, and will help you achieve those dreams.  And when you get there, you will know you deserve it, because you worked for it!
And I am here to help you do it!
For professional singing lessons in the Atlanta, Marietta and Alpharetta GA  area, or to register for voice training online by skype, facetime, or speakerphone,  please visit the website at, and click on the GET STARTED tab to register for a professional vocal evaluation and consultation.