Interested in learning how to sing? Private voice lessons are a great place to start. But with so many options out there for pricing, lesson length, and location, how do you know what’s best for you? Read on as Hayward, CA and online teacher Molly R. shares her recommendation…
So, you’re signing up for voice lessons and see there are a few options, usually 30 minutes, 45 minutes, or 60 minutes. Which length do you choose , either for yourself or for your child/teen?
The first factor to consider is definitely age. My rule of thumb is that lessons for those under 12 should always be 30 minutes. The reason why I believe this works best is because children tend to have much shorter attention spans – it’s not necessary to go into as much detail regarding vocal technique and repertoire! It would be much harder to fully engage the student in a longer lesson. Also, keep in mind that when you’re first learning how to sing, you are not a fully formed instrument yet: students this young really don’t NEED additional time! For now, it’s a matter of teaching just the basics of both technique and musicianship (while still keeping things fun!)
The next thing to consider are your (or the student’s) goals. Are there particular things you aspire to do, such as rock an open mic night, or start auditioning for local musicals? If so, you may want to consider an hour-long lesson. Typically, I spend the first half on vocal technique, and then the second half on polishing your songs with you so you get to feeling that you’re “ready for prime time”!
But, suppose you don’t care about performing. No, not everyone who signs up for voice lessons dreams of being in the spotlight! Believe it or not, I work with quite a few adults that are terrified at the very thought of it. They take voice lessons with me just because they find it fun and consider it a hobby! In that case, I recommend going with whatever feels right to you, either 30 minutes or an hour. There really isn’t a right or wrong. There is plenty you can learn in either time frame.
Lastly, consider how quickly you want to make progress. Even if you’re not out to perform, perhaps singing is something you really want to master, just for you. I work with some adult students who prefer hour-long lessons even though they are beginners who don’t want to perform any time soon, if ever. They like longer lessons because they have plenty of time to practice at home and really enjoy the whole process. Likewise, I have students who are very busy and can only fit in 30-minute lesson every other week. These students still work very hard for those 30 minutes, and make the time here and there to practice (sometimes during their work commute!).
Keep in mind that many teachers are willing to customize for you. Maybe you usually do 30 minutes, but once in a while you have an upcoming performance you really want to make solid and would like more help with your song(s). I always allow my students to mix it up, realizing that needs will certainly change.
So, the short answer? It’s all up to you if you’re a teen or adult singer. We are all different, so there is no one way to do voice lessons when you’re learning how to sing!
Molly R. teaches online and in-person singing lessons in Hayward, CA. Her specialties include teaching beginner vocalists, shy singers, children, teens, lapsed singers, and older beginners. She joined TakeLessons in November 2013. Learn more about Molly here!
Photo by Penn State