Characteristics of expert vocalists’ practice

Nancy L. Summitt, Brian N. Weidner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study investigated expert vocalists’ approaches to practice in terms of planning, time, and strategy usage. Participants were 79 university voice professors and members of professional choirs. The researchers sent each participant the Vocal Practice Survey (VPS)which collected data on the participants’ professional backgrounds, attitudes toward specific practice strategies, and personal practice habits. Results indicated variety in expert vocalists’ approaches to practice, including number of practice sessions per week, length of practice sessions, and structure of practice sessions. Most participants reported using practice resources, especially a piano and a mirror. Participants reported a broad range of frequency in strategy use, with holistic practice strategies dominating. Comments from participants indicated that group rehearsals also served as individual practice opportunities, that there were differences between students’ and experts’ practice, and that an important role of practice was facilitating vocal health. The findings of this study provide a point of reference for comparing vocal practice to instrumental practice and for further development of research of vocal musicians at varying levels of expertise. The researchers also provide recommendations for music educators regarding the instruction and promotion of effective individual vocal practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)352-363
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Music Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2022


  • Musical practice
  • practice strategies
  • vocal pedagogy
  • vocalists


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