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  • Writer's pictureKatia Losito VocalCoach

Learning to sing: exercises vs songs

If I asked you to imagine a singing lesson, what would be the first thing that comes to your mind? In all likelihood you would imagine yourself singing one of your favorite songs, one of those difficult ones, which you may consider "unattainable". Unfortunately I have to crash your dreams and at the same time reveal a secret to you: if you want to learn to sing you don't have to sing the songs, but you have to do the exercises.

At this point you will surely have rolled your eyes and you'll be wondering if this person that's talking to you is really sure to be a vocal coach. Well yes!!! This is the way things are. And as I always say, "since ... in fact, unfortunately, the singing method that I teach wasn't invented by me, ... and I say unfortunately, otherwise I would already be rich".


As I said at the beginning, in the logical imagination of all of us, learning to sing is closely linked to the idea of practicing singing songs. Although doing exercises or vocalizing is not as fun and rewarding as interpreting a song, if you really want to learn to sing at a higher level, you will have to hunker down and do the exercises. But what are the reasons why the exercises are better than the songs?

1. Vocal tendencies

Each one of us uses the voice in a certain way. The way we use the voice creates some features in it that in my teaching method I call vocal tendencies.

What are the vocal tendencies? There are several but to speed up I will mention only two. There are those who tend to sing with a very light voice: these are mainly, but not exclusively, female voices. They are the voices that tend to sing in falsetto, therefore very airy and weak voices in terms of volume. Another example of vocal tendency is that of those who have a heavy voice: we find this tendency especially in male voices, and it is characterized by a very high volume. They pull the chest voice up and fail to go through the passage going into head voice. The difficulty of these voices is that of not being able to sing the high notes or having to work very hard for the vocal emission. The vocal tendency is the first thing I identify in a student and based on this diagnosis I create the exercises or vocalises that will allow me to fix the voice. Songs are not built to train or direct the voice in a certain way. Songs are an artistic formula to transfer emotions. Instead, the exercises are the technical formula that allows the voice to learn to sing. In what way does the voice learn to sing through the exercises?

2. Muscle memory

Thanks to the exercises we reprogram the muscle memory of our voice. What does it mean? The voice works through the coordination of air & muscle. The way in which we sing activates these muscles, making us take on habits, which, like we said before, we identify as vocal tendencies. In order for the voice to work properly, we must make it take on new habits, activating the muscles the right way. For this reason the exercises are created according to the principle of cause and effect. That is, by putting together a certain type of vowels, consonants and melodic scales we can obtain an effect on the voice that contrasts the bad vocal tendencies. The repetition of the exercise will ensure that the voice takes on new good habits, that it memorizes them precisely, and that they are transferred to the songs being sung.

Niccolò Paganini, brilliant composer and violinist, underlined the importance of exercising by saying: "If I do not exercise one day, I will notice it. If I do not exercise for two days, the audience will notice".


So if you want to learn to sing, the best way to do it is by having a teacher, a vocal coach, follow you and create a path, made of vocal exercises tailored to your voice,

to help you overcome those vocal limitations or tendencies, which make it difficult for you to perform a piece. Thanks to constant training, your voice will memorize the feeling of an easy and correct vocalization and will be able to automatically transfer it to the songs you sing.

All you have to do is try this method. Book a singing lesson online via Skype or in person. Or if you want more clarifications or have questions, do not hesitate to send me an email to I will reply as soon as possible.

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