10,000 Hours that Count

Written by: |

They say it takes 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery of a skill.

But 10,000 hours of unfocused, unproductive, and unintentional practice is not the path to mastery—it’s the road to mediocrity.

How can I practice with purpose?

Think back to your last practice session or voice lesson and ask yourself:

  • Did I get outside my comfort zone? Was I challenged enough, but not too much?
  • Did I have clear goals and a plan for reaching those goals? Did my practice session or voice lesson follow a logical flow that resulted in improvement?
  • Did I have a way of measuring my success? Was I able to tell that I went from point A to point B?
  • Did the session or lesson sustain my energy to keep pushing? Did I finish the session looking forward to the next one?

Your time is precious—don’t waste it by practicing half-heartedly.

Get your head in the game, create a goal and a plan, find a good teacher who can challenge and guide you, and make your 10,000 hours count!

A strategy for effective practice

Have you heard of the term “mental practice”? Have you ever tried it?

The idea is you would literally practice a performance—whether fully or in parts—all in your head. No actual singing. Just visualization and imagination.

It sounds kinda weird, right? And if you’ve ever tried this, you might have found it really hard to concentrate and keep going.

But studies have shown that mental practice activates the same parts of our brain that are activated during physical practice, which means that we could be making progress even if we’re just doing it all inside our own heads.

Can I just practice in my head?

Obviously mental practice shouldn’t completely replace physical practice, but can you imagine how much more you can improve if you add this to your daily routine?

Suddenly, you don’t have to limit yourself to practicing in the studio or on the stage—you can work on your singing in your noise-controlled apartment, or while you’re stuck in a long flight.

There are a lot of articles online about mental practice, but if you want to jump right in and get started, this blog post by Noa Kageyama has a simple how-to guide.

Happy (mental) practicing!

Exclusive warm-up video

Join our newsletter to get an exclusive warm-up video for email subscribers only. This video has three great exercises to help you start warming up your voice.

Photo of Renee Maranan
Renee’s mission as a vocal instructor is to empower the singer to perform with ease, versatility, and control, while maintaining a healthy voice.