Recently, I have students asking me, why are vocal exercises necessary? Won’t it be sufficient if they keep practicing the song? Well, the answer is yes and no.
No doubt practicing the song you want to sing is very important, there are many a times when we just couldn’t make ourselves sound better by repeating it. Trained singers know the importance of vocal exercises, which lay the foundation of the singers’ vocal abilities. Voice teachers generally use different combination of consonants, vowels and patterns (scales) in singing lessons to help singers to vocalise on every note in their range, and sometimes, even able to widen the existing range. Merely practising on songs can limit your range, due to inaccurate vocalisation. Some lyrics are, by default, present natural hurdles for you to hit a hard-to-reach pitch. With the right exercises, singers will be able to improve on their pitching.
During voice exercises, a singer learns how to sing pure vowels in a natural, clear and strain-less manner i.e. from the bottom of the range to the top of the range. With well-curated exercises, a vocal coach can assist the singer to negotiate his/her passaggi (i.e. the transitions between vocal registers) more efficiently. As the singer learns to do that, he/she will be able to apply these techniques to many other songs.
A vocal coach can also customise the best exercises for each singer. This is unlike practising songs which are often tailored to the original singers. Good voice exercises will help singers to project voices with better control and balance. Eventually this will also give singers greater confidence to sing well on stage.