Excited about your first voice lesson? Beyond thinking about your goals for the lessons, you’ll also want to have an idea of what you need to bring. Get prepared with these tips for singing lessons from Austin, TX teacher Gfire M...
I have been teaching my vocal technique, “Yoga for the Voice,” for over 18 years now, to students from ages 4-76 at all levels from beginning to advanced. And the one thing that almost all of my students bring to their first lesson is a mixture of fear and excitement! They are afraid that I will tell them that they can’t sing, yet they are excited about the process of learning to sing. So I thought I would address these issues and give you some encouraging answers!
What should I bring with me?
Bring a binder, blank paper, and a pen or pencil that you can use for lesson notes and handouts. Bring a bottle of room-temperature water so that you can stay well hydrated during the lesson for optimal vocal exercising. Bring an open mind — singing and breathing exercises may seem a little weird at first! Write down any questions that you have for your teacher. If you have music you are already working on, bring that sheet music or CD with you. You can also email sheet music or music audio files to your teacher prior to the lesson.
Will I really be able to sing?
No worries — the answer is always “Yes!” If you can speak, you can learn how to sing, because you are using the same exact instrument for speaking and singing. Obviously, singing uses more notes and technique, but you really can leave your worries behind and just focus on utilizing your unique vocal instrument.
Does it matter what style(s) I want to learn?
Absolutely not! Good singing technique is useful for singing pop, rock, R’n’B, musical theater, opera, country, folk, metal, gospel, singer/songwriter, etc. Again, you are just using your natural voice to express any musical style that appeals to you. I have taught musical theater singers how to wow at auditions, touring rock singers how to maintain their voices during grueling tours, “screamo” singers how to scream in tune, kid singers how to master an age-appropriate song, reality show applicants how to choose and deliver the best material to get onto American Idol or The Voice, church singers how to sing a solo confidently, and every other variety of singer under the rainbow.
Do I have to practice outside of vocal classes?
Well — yes, if you want to be a great singer! The voice is an instrument, just like piano, guitar, or clarinet. To truly master the voice is a matter of practicing placing the notes without pushing them — and that takes at least three short practices per week outside of voice lessons, even if it is only for 10-15 minutes.
Okay, I am ready — how do I start?
If you really want to learn to sing well, make the commitment! This is one of the best tips for singing. Purchase one to three months of voice lessons and start thinking about where in your schedule you can place your minimum of three practices a week outside of your lessons. I like to get my students to make a list of 10 songs that they would LOVE to learn to sing — that way you have goals that are fun and achievable.
It is also really helpful if you have a piano or keyboard available for you to play your singing exercises on. I am happy to play your exercises for you, but if you learn to play the exercises and sing them, you really end up singing with more confidence and better technique.
With these tips for singing lessons, you can get ready to start singing the songs you want to sing, expressing your own talents and creativity. You deserve to sing and yes, you can make it happen!
Gfire teaches music theory, opera voice, piano, singing, and songwriting in Austin, TX. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Music from University of Maryland, as well as her Master of the Science of Singing from Ernest George White Society. Learn more about Gfire here!
Photo by premasagar