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Sing: Break It Down

When we are working on specific repertoire, it is tempting to start at the beginning and just run the piece. Even experienced singers can fall into this trap. Perhaps, they even isolate a difficult phrase or transition but then back to the beginning they go.

I’d like to suggest that you should be much more creative (some would say chaotic) in your approach. Once you have some grasp of the component parts — pitches, rhythm, and language — you could break the rest of it into tangible chunks as well. Does it have a series of runs? Are there areas that challenge you? Does the piece utilize repeats, refrains, or melodic similarity requiring some spark to keep it interesting? How do you want to approach the end? Each of these can be a practice fragment.

In fact, any component can be practiced on its own, in small chunks. The acting, the articulation, the breath management, and your intention — all important and all best done in small doses.

At the end of the day, your strongest ally in voice use is your brain and the brain does some it’s best work in short, highly focused bursts. I tend to make longhand written plans for how I am going to break up a piece (incidentally, this works really well for speeches too) but you should choose whatever method of notation you will actually use.


Gina Razón is the principal voice specialist at GROW Voice LLC, a full-service voice and speech studio in Boston’s Back Bay.  She has over 17 years of experience both as a teacher of voice and speech, and a voraciously curious voice user.  Gina has worked professionally as a classical singer for over a decade and more recently as a professional public speaker.  For more information on the studio or to book Gina visit www.growvoice.com.

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