Learn singing…. with a skilled vocal coach.
There is no doubt that everyone has some natural ability to sing, and many people, especially adult singers, have developed their own unique style of singing. However, making the choice to learn singing with a skilled teacher will see singers accomplish vocal production using correct technique, optimise the use of their voice, and sing safely over a lifetime.
Correct technique will not only allow singers to realise the full potential of their voice, but provide them with the skills necessary to accomplish challenging repertoire. A good singing teacher is an honest mentor, who takes into consideration the singer and their voice in entirety, who approaches singing as a holistic art, and who encourages and builds confidence in students without over facing them early in their career.
Why Study with a Teacher?
A teacher will guide students with their best interest at heart. They will provide carefully chosen repertoire that will suit the student, not only vocally, but taking into consideration age, experience, stature, vocal type, and personality. In short, a good teacher aims to bring out the best in their students by engaging the student in suitable repertoire, and by both encouragement, and constructive criticism, when needed. Establishing and implementing correct technique and desirable vocal sound are the hallmark of a teacher who, not only understands music, but understands sound and the manner in which it is manufactured by the vocalist. It is not enough to understand music. A teacher must be able to alter sound, and the manner in which it is produced by the singer, otherwise they are like a mechanic who can drive, but cannot tune a car. Injuries are common in the music world. Vocal nodules have been known to cause the demise of an otherwise flourishing career as a singer. The main cause of vocal nodules is singing with poor technique. Other causes can be singing out of the vocal range, repertoire that is beyond the experience level of the singer, or poor vocal hygiene. Breaking notes, vocal fatigue, strained voices, wobbling notes, diminished range, “sore throats”, and hoarseness, are among some of the problems reported to teachers. It is far better to avoid injury than to incur it. *You will find a post with tips for good Vocal hygiene on this site. There are also exercises such as the Chromatic Scale, and Major Scale exercises, which are suitable for beginning students to practise at home. Singers who would like to purchase and download exercises may do so, and contact me for further information if necessary.
Singing Lessons Will help a Singer Gain Confidence in both Singing and other areas of their Life.
Often, singers will gain some confidence simply from taking lessons, from the knowledge that they are working on their voice, and achieving a broader range and repertoire. Feedback from the teacher is rewarding, and will help singers understand the ways in which they are progressing. Teachers will also encourage students to participate in concerts, eisteddfodau, or exams, and this will allow the singer to translate their learnt ability into real time performance. A prudent teacher will not allow an unprepared student to perform in public. This is detrimental and leads to performance anxiety and anticipation of failure. There must be a level of trust built up through honesty. In general, exposure to performance is life enhancing for singers. It is an opportunity to showcase a talent they love, and receive feedback from an appreciative audience. Younger singers are particularly charming on stage, and the confidence built up from the delivery of their piece, the thrill of performance, costumes, and the wonderful atmosphere of the theatre, and spotlights, build confidence and enjoyment of the art. The skills and confidence developed through this process will go on to benefit them in other areas of their education and life. Less experienced singers do well with more smaller, friendly concerts at first, but are soon enthralled by the joy of interpreting a beautiful song for their audience.
The Language of Music.
Beyond learning to sing with correct technique, it is important for students to understand the art of music. Many singers cannot read music at all, which limits their ability to converse with other musicians, and most significantly with instrumentalists and accompanists. Imagine a singer who has prepared a well known standard, but can not tell the accompanist the key in which it is composed prior to the performance. Furthermore, teachers will take the time to point out and explain the theory of music or, in some cases, expect that their students will learn Music Theory as a separate subject. A lack of knowledge of Music Theory is very limiting for a singer. A good teacher will equip their students with the practical knowledge of the language of music necessary to become an accomplished singer who can interpret and perform advanced repertoire. Teachers will also coach students to sing, if desired, in other languages, which opens up new skills and pathways for learning.
Learning to Self Monitor.
A good vocal coach will provide their students with the skills to monitor their own practise and performance. It is important for students to learn to become self reliant, to be able to recognise, for example, when their intonation (pitch) is incorrect, or when they have not sustained a note for the correct number of beats. A teacher will emphasise the importance of self discipline, and of taking responsibility for your own music from early on. They will expect students to be organised, and to have practised their pieces – in a structured manner – prior to the weekly lesson.
Turn Your Back on Imitation.
Students of singing learn from early on that their uniqueness is one of their most valuable assets, and that imitation is undesirable. This is one of the benefits of studying singing that transverses all walks of life, and sets up the singer to value their individuality. Singing by watching, or listening to, others is mimicry rather than actually learning to produce the song from a well studied and rehearsed structure.
Your Voice is a Gift. Choose to invest in it.
Singing lessons are an investment in not only your voice. The confidence, self-discipline, and responsibility gained from taking lessons, studying for exams, performance, or just learning the art of music, will stay with students for life. It is an investment in good health, fulfilment, and positivity. Generally, a singer who studies with a capable instructor will progress more rapidly than a singer who teaches themselves. There are no guarantees that students of singing will be any more successful than those who have never had a teacher, but the myriad of other benefits gained from regular inter-action with a skilled and reputable teacher are countless, and not confined to merely the creation of music. © Helen Coleman