Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
There’s a tendency to think that routines are mundane and repetitive but studies on rats have shown that automating processes can create lasting habits (both good and bad) that define your life and reduce stress and anxiety because you’re brain isn’t working on hyperdrive every waking hour of the day.
If like me you’re balancing family with work and other commitments, it can become a constant struggle to keep on top of your workloads. Developing routines can help you get stuff done with less stress, and most importantly create time and brain space to do the things you really want.
Hi, I'm Rebecca! And I truly love everything about the art, science, and teaching of singing. If you're looking to build an effective and healthier singing technique so that you can sing with more ease and confidence, then you're in the right place! Here's a few other blog posts you might also like to read:
And of course, grab a copy of my ultimate vocal health starter guide where I'll share how to create a vocal health routine and reset your voice in 14-days!
I was raised on routines but since becoming self-employed it’s been a struggle to maintain balance between family life, teaching, singing, and the crazy amount of admin and finance work that comes with being self-employed.
So, whilst working on my 2021 goals I decided that the key to me achieving my goals was going to be down to three things; establishing balance; productivity; and organisation. This meant that I needed to refine old routines and create new ones so that I could get everything done without less hassle and stress and still have time (guilt-free) to enjoy life.
Here are my top 9 routines every singer should have under their belt to maintain balance, be productive and keep organised to achieve their goals.
1 | THE MORNING ROUTINE
I’m a firm believer that how you start the day sets the precedent for the rest of the day. So, creating a morning routine that allows you to wake gently and calmly will not only energise you but help you maintain focus and productivity throughout the day.
Besides getting yourself up and ready for the day, a morning routine, in my experience, should also include any tasks that you’re most likely to put off if not done first thing in the morning. For me, these include self-care, exercising, cleaning, and doing my daily Italian practice.
You won’t need to get up at the crack of dawn to get all these tasks done. Your aim is to do a little of each task consistently each day, which over time adds up and helps you achieve your weekly, monthly, and/or yearly goals.
2 | THE EVENING ROUTINE
I also like to refer to this as the wind down routine. The purpose of an evening or wind down routine is to prepare you for some relaxation time before you go to bed.
If like me you work from home the boundaries between work and home can easily become blurred. Not having or following through on an evening routine can lead to an increase in stress and anxiety levels, which makes you overall less productive, more likely to suffer from burnout, and most importantly, creates a build up of physical tension that long term can be damaging to your health and voice.
Your evening routine should include small tasks like resetting your living space and writing out your tasks for the next day before settling in for some relaxation time. I also allow time for writing daily gratitudes, journaling and reading, which contributes to my overall wellbeing.
3 | THE SLEEP ROUTINE
Having a good sleep routine is important for your physical and mental health and wellbeing as well as your vocal health. Studies have shown that people who sleep properly are generally healthier, emotionally well adjusted, and more productive. If you’re struggling to sleep, take a look at my article on how to sleep better.
The best way to establish a sleep routine that works for you is to know how much sleep you need each night, know what time you need to get up to execute your morning routine, and
then work backwards from there to identify what time you need to be in bed.
Your sleep routine will be most effective if you can be consistent with your bedtime and your wakeup time and use your evening routine to help you wind down slowly before bedtime. Once your sleep routine has become a habit, you’ll find that your body will naturally start to prepare itself for sleep.
4 | THE EXERCISE ROUTINE
Having an exercise routine is essential for maintaining your physical health and wellbeing but for singers who want to increase lung capacity, stamina, and voice longevity establishing a regular exercise routine is key to perfecting performance.
And when it comes to exercise, I like the little and often strategy. I aim to do at least 30-minutes per day, 5-6 days per week. However, depending on your schedule, you might find that you only have a couple of days each week where you have time to exercise. This is okay too. It’s all about building a routine that works for you.
You can find details of exercises for singers in my free Singer’s Guide to Aerobic Exercise. To keep your exercise routine fresh and interesting, try alternating running with practices like yoga and even changing your exercise routine depending on the season.
>>Related<< How to Breathe for Singing
5 | THE PRACTICE ROUTINE
Having an effective practice routine is probably the most important routine a singer should have and consistency is key. By practising 5-6 days per week, you’re keeping the voice in shape and building the muscle memory that is the foundation to good singing technique. Practice makes perfect after all!
There are two ways to establish a consistent and effective practice routine:
Practise at the same time each day on the same days each week; or
If you work shift work, schedule 5-minutes each week to identify the days you can/will practice and set a reminder to prompt you.
What I found works best for me and my students (and actually for the voice as well) is to aim to practice for 10-minutes each day and then gradually increase it to 20-minutes over the next 3-months. Building your routine in small increments means that you’re more likely have greater success in creating a long lasting habitant achieving your goals.
>>Related<< How to Stay Motivated to Practice
6 | THE VOCAL HEALTH ROUTINE
As a singer, having a vocal health routine is important to ensure that your voice is not only performance ready but also decreases your likelihood of getting sick, reduces the risk of developing permanent vocal damage, and increasing your vocal longevity.
Your vocal health routine should include staying hydrated, working out, and regularly exercising your voice, as well as scheduled periods of rest.
Because your vocal health routine includes other routines, I built my vocal health routine slowly over a period of years. I’ve talked a little about how I designed a vocal health routine for myself and how I adjust it for each season. You can read it here.
>>Related<<: Ultimate Guide to Vocal Health
7 | THE CONTINUAL DEVELOPMENT ROUTINE
One of the least talked about routines amongst singers is the continual development routine. Your learning as a singer never stops and you need to schedule time to continually improve and develop your skills.
Your continual development routine should include regular lessons with a singing teacher or vocal coach, courses, masterclasses, and reading to enhance your knowledge and abilities in vocal technique, repertoire, and composers etc. as well as personal growth.
Aim to schedule 1-2 hours each week for continual development and reduce stress and procrastination by scheduling lessons in advance and create a reading and repertoire list in advance.
>>Related<< 7 Books Every Singer Should Read
8 | Self-care Routine
A self-care routine is making time for yourself each day and week to manage your mental and emotional health. For me, this has always been the hardest routine to create and maintain.
If like me you suck at self-care the first thing I had to do was to change my mindset and my beliefs about self-care. Like you, I tend to put everyone and everything else first and at one point I certainly believed that I could only rest once everything had been done. But the reality is you never get to the bottom of that to-do list!
“me time is a right not a privilege”
The simplest way I found to ensure that I looked after myself better was to to weave a little self-care into my morning and evening routines as well as combining self-care with my exercise routine by including walks in nature once or twice a week - weather permitting, of course!
And scheduling at least one day off each week where I’ve found it quite effective to create a self-care list. This list includes things like taking a bubble bath, reading with candles, home-made manicures and pedicures; or just binge watching movies on Amazon Prime or Netflicks. I can then choose from the list and tailor my day off depending on how I feel and what I need.
>>Related<< Beginners Meditation for Singers
9 | THE CLEANING ROUTINE
Okay, even I’ll admit that having a cleaning routine sounds pretty boring, but if you’re anything like me and feel more relaxed when you’ve got a clean and tidy house then keep reading.
I don’t particularly dislike cleaning, but I also don’t have a deep desire to spend hours cleaning my house every day. Again, I employ the little and often strategy. Reserve time each week to do a quick clean of the most important/most used rooms of the house and reserve a day or two for deep cleans and the odd/random cleaning tasks, like cleaning your oven. And reserve a day-off from housework - you've earned it!
The same goes with your washing (or laundry for those in America). Throwing a load in the washing machine first thing in the morning helps to keep on top of that ever growing pile.
The aim of creating a routine is to be consistent so that tasks become as autonomous as possible, especially for the more mundane tasks that you just have to get done. You’ll find it easier to create balance, stay focused and be productive with less effort and less stress.
For the best results, identify your top routines to implement and tackle one or two tasks within each routine to avoid overwhelm. Once you’ve established the routines and habits you can add more tasks, if you wish. And there you have it, 9 routines every singer should have. Enjoy!
And don't forget to grab your freebie:
The Ultimate Vocal Health Guide
- a 14-day plan to help you improve your voice!
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