The book that explains the power of practice


It’s ten years since The Talent Code, the book that explains why “practice makes perfect”, became a publishing sensation. A decade on, it is still a must-read for any singer seeking inspiration.

Daniel Coyle’s tome (full title The Talent Code: Greatness is not born it’s grown) has stood the test of time and still stands head and shoulders above most other self-help books. Here are a few takeaways to fire you on your singing your journey.

Natural talent is a myth

People are not born brilliant painters, sportspeople or singers, they acquire those skills over time. This doesn’t mean that genes play no part in a person’s success, but they’re much less important than you think. Whether you succeed or fail in your chosen field is strongly influenced by how hard you work, and if you work in the right way.

Understand what ignites your passion

Coyle says that people who go on to do great things all have an ignition story, something that piqued their passion in the first place and motivates them through the tough times. This might be hearing a certain song on the radio as a child and wishing you could sing like that, or getting a hugely positive reaction the first time you sing in public. Everyone’s ignition story is different but remember it marks only the beginning of the journey. Lots of hard work follows.

Practice is crucial

Heard that before, you say. Yes, but Coyle uses science to prove that it’s true. He explains the importance of myelin, a substance that insulates nerve cells and plays a crucial process in learning new skills. Coyle also talks about “deep practice”, you may be more familiar with it as “deliberate practice”. This is about more than just repeating the same song over and over again or running through scales for hours on auto-pilot. It’s about challenging yourself, sometimes making mistakes, and recognising how you can improve.

Master coaching

Your progress will be faster if you have a master coach to help and guide you. In the singing world this usually takes the form of a vocal coach, although it could be some other kind of mentor like a manager or producer. Master coaches are perceptive, and able to help identify your strengths and weaknesses and encourage you when you need it. They’ll be able to challenge you. Most of all they’ll be honest.

The importance of chunking

Personally, we hate the word “chunking” but it serves a purpose. This relates to breaking down large tasks into smaller, more achievable ones. That way you won’t feel overwhelmed and like quitting when you encounter a difficult task. Read more about goal-setting HERE.

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