It’s a new year and with that comes new goals. Maybe voice lessons are on your list of activities this year and you’re not quite sure where to start. Or you’ve been away from training your voice for a while and want to get back into it. I’ve been teaching singing lessons to students from all walks of life, all levels and all genres of music for over 15 years in Vancouver and worldwide. Here are a few things to keep in mind. If you've got further questions, feel free to reach out! I can honestly say, if improving your voice and singing is your goal, then investing in training from a singing teacher or voice professional is a game changer. But what does that training look like and how long should it be etc? Let's tackle this.
Do I need to be gifted to sing?
One of the biggest misconceptions about singing is that singers are naturally born. I call it the: “either you have it or you don’t mindset." This is absolutely not true. Singing is a skill acquired through consistent practice and training over a long period of time. And while it’s important with any skill to start at a young age, it is absolutely possible to develop your voice and musicianship as an adult. You don’t need to have potential in order to sing. You just need to give yourself permission to do it. And like with anything else in life, the more you are consistent with practice and training, the more you will start to see results.
Why singing lessons?
Think of your voice as an instrument. The purpose of a voice lesson is to build your instrument, your voice. When you go to a piano or guitar lesson, those instruments are already built, you just need to learn how to play them. But with the human voice, you need to build your instrument for optimal function in a singing capacity first. Then condition your voice to meet the demands of performance (songs, etc). Then strengthen and maintain your voice.
When you work with a vocal coach or voice teacher in a 1:1 session, they assess your voice and customize the session according to your skill and goals. This is like hiring a personal trainer for your voice.
There are many different reasons why people take voice lessons.
Learning how to sing in a healthy way without strain is a big one. But also building your vocal confidence so that you can achieve your vocal goals is also another huge one. What goals? That may be things like performing, recording, auditioning or singing in a choir. Singing itself has so many wonderful benefits for our overall wellbeing. Singing for self-care, or as a hobby is also a great reason to take lessons.
Enrolling in singing courses
We are living in an age with information at our fingertips. I’ve seen people do really well with self-study online singing courses. This is why I’ve created my own course Mix Evolution to help jump start students on the path to solid vocal technique. Whether you’re a beginner singer or a seasoned performer, these exercises are designed to help you build your voice for more sustainable singing and can help you improve your vocal confidence. I highly recommend this as an alternative to 1:1 training. This is similar to taking voice lessons, but it is a self-study course as a more affordable option. Once you've completed it, if you're looking for more customized training with feedback, consider booking a voice lesson.
Do singing lessons online work?
I’ve been training singers online for over a decade (long before the pandemic) and I can tell you for the vast majority of people, singing lessons online are very effective. You can build skill working with a teacher online via any video conferencing app. I wouldn’t offer this as a service if I didn’t see the results in my clients. I can say with confidence that both in-person lessons and online lessons are professional quality. You are going to see the same results, as long as you put in the work to practice outside of your lessons.
How often should I take a voice lesson?
How often you need a lesson will vary on your experience level, your goals, your learning style etc. On average, untrained singers will do best with once a week or once every two weeks for at least 3+ months. Once a student has had a good amount of training and experience, itermediate or advanced students can maybe taper off to bi-weekly, once every 3 weeks or once per month. Or if they are preparing for performances or auditions they may need more training in a shorter time frame.
What you do outside of your voice lessons makes a HUGE difference to your progress. This is why recording your voice lessons is important.
I recommend practicing your lesson recording at least 3-4 times per week in between lessons and repeating what you learned in your lesson. This will help solidify the concepts and train your voice to have better muscle memory.
How you approach your songs matters. Are you reinforcing old habits that don’t serve you? Songs are usually where we fatigue our voices and that can lead to vocal injury. Working with a voice teacher to get a greater understanding of how to apply technique to songs and how to practice your songs effectively is something I’d highly recommend.
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