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Tools of the Trade: Vocal Practice


So far I’ve enjoyed sharing singer resources with you like The Dynamics of The Singing Voice and Scat! Vocal Improvising Techniques, but today I’d like to share with you some of the precious objects that I keep by my side at all times. These are the things I need to do my daily vocal practice. Of course, there can be more objects than the ones listed below, but these are the essentials:

1. Metronome

When practicing anything, it’s really important to practice in time. No matter what I’m learning, I start with the metronome on a slow tempo and build up. I use a super basic KORG MA-30. I like it because all I really need in a metronome is a tap-in function. My only complaint is it can’t go slower than 40 bpm, but few metronomes can.

2. Pitch pipe

Sometimes I practice at a piano but I always keep a pitch pipe on me anyways. It’s so small and portable that I can practice anywhere if I have it on me. I’m not sure what brand of pitch pipe I use since the one I have isn’t branded and I bought it so long ago. Mine goes from C to C, but you can also get pitch pipes that go from F to F.

3. Log book and pen

I log everything I practice. It helps me keep track of how far I’ve come on a given exercise, what time of day is optimal for practicing and any other ideas that might pop into my head while practicing. Of course you can use whatever book and pen you like but I use the Moleskine Music Notebook Pocket (which fits into small spaces and has music staves on the pages) and the Pilot V5 Hi-Tecpoint Black 0.5 tip Rollerball Pen (which is seriously the best pen of all time, seriously.)

4. Water

Of course, this is the most essential. I always keep water handy. Gotta stay hydrated!

The only obvious thing I’ve left out is what to practice, but I’ll leave that to you. I hope you’ve enjoyed this instalment of Tools of the Trade. Let me know if you like this feature in the comments below.

Author avatar

Renée is a queer, non-binary, disabled, and chronically ill creator based in Montreal. They are a singer, songwriter, pianist, YouTuber, and Periscoper. They are currently a student of jazz studies at Mcgill University and a freelance vocal coach for young and emerging singers.


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