Learning to Sing? Part 2 : Private Singing Lessons

If you’re wanting to learn how to sing and you’d like focused attention for your vocal instruction, taking private lessons with a voice teacher might be the best option for you.   Many singing teachers look for new students in the Fall so now is a good time to look for a teacher.

Singing Teacher with Student

Singing Teacher with Student

Private Singing Lessons

The Fall is a good time to look for a private singing teacher, as many are making their schedules for the coming season.  Some Community Colleges or Universities offer private singing lessons with teachers, or you can find one by looking in your local newspaper or on Craig’s List.  Personal recommendations are valuable too, so ask your friends and family if they know of any teachers.

There are a few things to ask yourself before you call a singing teacher:

  • What kind of music do you want to sing? Once you know the answer, look for a teacher that specializes in that genre.  It doesn’t mean that you can’t change your mind later, but you need to start somewhere.
  • Why do you want to learn to sing or what is your objective in learning to sing? Singing teachers will most likely ask you this question when you first speak to them, or at the first lesson, being prepared with your answer along with how the teacher responds to your goals will help you know if this is the teacher for you.
  • How much time will you spend practicing between lessons? Learning to sing takes commitment and when you first speak to a potential teacher, knowing how much time you can commit to per week, and knowing each others expectations about the lessons and objectives, will help you determine if the teacher is a good fit for you.

If you find a teacher that doesn’t teach your style or is above or below your level, ask them for names of other singing teachers.  You might also look up Singing Teacher Associations in your area, as they will have a list of singing teachers for you to contact.  The National Association of Singing Teachers is a good place to start.
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Video Example of a Private Singing Lesson

If you’ve never had a private singing lesson, here is an example of what it’s.  This video shows an advanced singer, but the setup is usually the same, teacher behind piano and student standing beside piano singing.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EjHF-p679u4[/youtube]

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Questions to ask a potential singing teacher

Consider interviewing a few teachers before choosing the one to start with. You will be paying for their services so it is worth the time you invest to find the best teacher you can. Here are a few questions to ask a potential private singing teacher:

  • What are their credentials? Ideally you’d like to find a teacher who has studied music and voice studies and who has performed in the style of music that you are interested in singing.
  • How long have they been teaching? Better to find someone with at least a few years experience.  Don’t be shy to ask for contact information for one or two of their current students and call the students for a reference.
  • Can the lessons be recorded (audio and/or video)? You might understand what the teacher says while you’re at your lesson, but singing is not an easy thing to teach, so being able to listen or watch the lesson over again at home, will help you retain the information correctly and repeat the techniques that you are learning.
  • What musical accompaniment will be used? Many teachers accompany you while you sing at the lesson.  If they are a versatile at accompanying singers this can be ok, but you want the teacher to be focusing on your singing ability not on playing the music.  Ask if you can bring a music track.
  • Where are the lessons held? You need to be comfortable and relaxed when taking the lesson.  If the lesson is not held in a music room in a school, but in a private home, a good teacher will  have a closed room that is large enough not to be claustrophobic but still private enough for you to feel comfortable singing.
  • Can you take a single first trial lesson? Most teachers offer a reduced rate when signing up for multiple lessons.  This is a great idea once you’ve selected your teacher, but the very first lesson should be like an audition for the teacher to evaluate you and like an interview for you to evaluate the teacher.  Take one lesson with a potential teacher and see how it goes before signing up and committing to pay for multiple lessons.

Private lessons will be more expensive than group lessons, but for singers at an intermediate level, individual attention can help you improve your vocal technique more quickly than other methods and can help you correct any bad habits you may have picked up before they get too entrenched.

Also see

This series on Learning to Sing will continue soon with the following articles:

  • Part 5:  Online Videos and Podcasts
  • Part 6:  Sing Karaoke

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5 Comments

Posted by Elizabeth 3. September 2009 at 4:58 pm :

Thanks for the great info on singing lessons. This is really helpful information for anyone who wants to improve their singing ability.

Posted by How to Sing Better…and Better…and Better || HomeSingingLessons.com 9. September 2009 at 1:04 am :

[…] Karaoke Lounge» Learning to Sing? Part 2 : Private Singing Lessons […]

Posted by Melinda 26. September 2009 at 4:04 pm :

This is fantastic information for potential students – those questions will ensure that you get the most for your time and money. I am a voice teacher in the Charlotte, NC area and am experienced working with people of all ages and experience levels. Visit my website and contact me to set up a free trial lesson!
http://www.charlottevoicelessons.net

Posted by Finding A Voice Teacher For Singing Voice Lessons - The Blog Planet 26. November 2009 at 9:24 am :

[…] Karaoke Lounge» Learning to Sing? Part 2 : Private Singing Lessons […]

Posted by C. H. 5. January 2012 at 12:14 am :

Having been a music teacher (instrumental and voice) for over 50yrs I can tell you right now that the idea of a reduced rate 1st lesson or even the idea of a free lesson to “evaluate” the teacher or the student just doesn’t fly. It takes a full month for the student to really get a feel for what lessons are like, get into the flow of practicing and for the teacher to see just how the student will respond and if they are going to stick to it. You, as a teacher, can waste a day on “free” lessons, get nothing as far as permanent students out of it and still have to pay the studio rent. A commitment of one month is the average time it takes to really see if the student has what it takes and if the teacher is going to be compatible.

BTW before a voice student even THINKS about a “genre teacher” they’d better get schooled on how to use the voice properly or the voice can be damaged. Any truly educated vocal instructor can teach whatever style the student wants. The correct use of the voice comes first and THEN you can think about style.

Reading music is also a concern, even for vocalists. The biggest mistake most of them make is not coming in on time or hanging on too long. Counting properly is another skill acquired from learning to read music. Knowing what notes you are singing and what to tell an accompanist or the band when it comes to the key you need your back-up in, is all part of being an educated singer.

Karaoke is wonderful for teaching and a lot of fun for parties and even clubs, but the true singer can sing with LIVE groups or accompanists and has the arrangement memorized. . . not to mention being able to “sell” the song as an entertainer. Learning to entertain is another art that an educated vocal teacher can pass along to a student.

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