24 Jul 2015

Voice Lessons: Part 5 “Deliberate Practice” – The Mental Demands





Over the last few weeks, I have been sharing different ways we can integrate Geoff Colvin’s “Deliberate Practice” techniques into our work and move from being an average performer to being an excellence performer.

(click on above video to watch this lesson)


The 5th Deliberate Practice Principle


It is highly demanding mentally.



Photo Credit: aboutmodafinil.com
Photo Credit: aboutmodafinil.com



Colvin states, “Deliberate practice is above all an effort of focus and concentration.”


To take our art, our message to the next level we must always be looking for those elements of our presentations or performances that are not meeting our expectations and do our absolute best to make those elements better.  This type of improvement will stretch our mental abilities and feel demanding.


More Than Showing Up


Deliberate practice is very different than just showing up… mindlessly running through scales or exercises, or reciting text flailing our arms about.


You must be present in the moment… in every moment.


You must be in the feel of every moment. 




In any given practice time, how long are you able to sustain your concentration?


Photo Credit: Flickr - Dimitris Kalogeropoylos
Photo Credit: Flickr – Dimitris Kalogeropoylos


What The Studies Say About Practice


Studies on ideal practice time for professional instrumentalists and peak athletes say it is best to work 5-hours a day, in one hour to 90-minute increments. This is the maximum amount of time the brain can hold this type of intense focus.


What About Singer and Speakers?


For those of us that rely our voice for our livelihood – we know that practicing 5-hours a day is not an option… all the more reason that we must be efficient and strategic with our time in the practice room and utilize our non-vocal time to the best of our ability… visualization, mind-set work, reading best practices, doing score analysis, piano study, blocking, choreography… etc.


We are all quick to go the end result – the performance, the presentation.  We love the way it feels to share our voice and our vision.  It is a beautiful circle of giving and receiving completed only with the audience.


But we must do the slow work, the concentrated work, the strategic work if we wish to move past being an average performer to being an excellent performer.


Photo Credit: Pixbay - Unsplash
Photo Credit: Pixbay – Unsplash


Your Home Work


1. Identify the times of day that are you peak learning hours

2. Schedule in your practice time

3. Work vocally for a 30 to 45 minutes, layering in the specific techniques and identified focus from the previous weeks

4. Come back later in the day and review for 15-minutes to 30-minutes

5. Schedule in addition times to do your non-vocal work

6. Chart your progress


What To Do When You Meet Mental Resistance 

Don’t fight the concentration demands. Surrender to the process very much like mediation – keep bringing yourself back to the designated task that you have outlined in your focus. As you flex the focus muscle, it will become easier.


You & Your Cause Are Worth This!


Show up consistently. Be present as you continue to make progress. Know that you are worth this investment of time and focus. Know without a doubt that you are serving a greater purpose when you choose the path of the excellent performer.


Have fun with this! And, always Rejoice In Your Voice™!

xoxox, Tricia 


One comment

  1. Tricia! Once again – I LOVE your approach. “Do the slow work” – so important. I work with athletes, and this side of things is critical, and often overlooked. Thanks for a powerful post!


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