Slow practice is the fastest way to sound effortless.
I was recently introduced to a musician and singer called Hozier. You have probably heard of him when his song “Take me to Church” was all over the radio a few years ago. If you take a look at that video, he is performing a masterfully written song on the subway. His powerful voice leaves his mouth like water pouring out of a fountain, he barely moves. He just breathes and it works. The words come to life and march around harmoniously on our ear drums. It demands attention even if you don’t want to listen. Why am I talking about this? Well…
Impact with little effort is one of our favourite topics at Pronunciation School. This is simply because we are passionate about giving people a way to sound powerful and moving without seeming like they are putting in much effort. Without looking like it’s a difficult task. Slow practice is the fastest way to learn, some say. I remind myself this when I’m practising a song on the piano. I want to go fast; I want my fingers to jump around on the keys and make the sounds I want to hear. But when I do that, I often mess up. I have to start again and now my fingers have learnt how to make a mistake. So, I remind myself: go slow.
With each slow practice, regardless of how amateur I feel, I notice my hands not jumping around but swiftly gliding across the keys and smoothly, beautifully making the sounds I want to hear. I reduce my speed and accelerate my skill. It is a slow process that really tests your patience. As with anything new we learn. So today, when you practice changing your accent or reducing your accent (as some would call it), take my tip and slow down. Stay slow, until you’re singing like Hozier.