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Anyone Can Sing! Tips for Building up the Inexperienced Singer

By Robert M. - TakeLessons Singing Teacher

There is nothing more enjoyable than the human voice. All of us use our singing to bring out artistry and fun in all places, whether it is echoing the radio, wailing in the shower, praising in congregations, or just humming while you work. Preparing the inexperienced singer can prove to be a difficult, multi-tasking job as teachers attempt to build up their students’ abilities, fundamentals, techniques, tonality and most importantly, confidence.

Since I have had many opportunities to work with all types of students taking singing lessons in Houston, I have drawn together common characteristics that allow me to always have a prepared and quick diagnosis as well as extensive goals within the first lesson. The most common concerns with beginner voice students include pitch control, breath control and posture, lip shaping, tongue placement, and balance of the vocal register. Building up a beginner or even someone with very little singing ability requires routine procedures that will always yield results. Some of my favorite techniques include the following: • Use melodic intervals to aid in pitch location such as the common Dominant to Tonic • Utilize a hand mirror/standing mirror for the student to self-check lip shaping while observing the instructor • Fix breath control by advising the student to lean back and pretend to sleep in order to activate the proper intercostals muscles and the diaphragm • Adjust the pitches to the correct registers by using the incorrect pitch and sliding it up or down to the right pitch with the keyboard • Empower the students by reminding them that their musical success and progress is in their hands, as the instructor is only the guide and interpreter • Anticipate every student inability in order to always have a prepared solution to any repetitive issue

What is so important to vocal lessons is the need to continually shape and manipulate the beginning students, expanding their abilities that require a teacher to give them precise direction. My music education background allows me to go beyond just the musical necessities as I know the best strategies and approaches for students: gaining their focus and confidence, manipulating the mental filters that inhibit the learning process, push for intrinsic motivation with few rewards, and always make the material relative on a personal basis. If you are ready to begin your musical journey and let out your inner voice, I encourage you to sign up for singing lessons in Houston today!

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Shakeatha D.

Houston, TX

About Shakeatha

I have sung for as long as I could speak! I hail from a family of recording artists and have graced the stage since the age of 4. During high school, I learned to read music and took piano lessons. This peaked my interest in wanting to learn the fundamentals of music so I decided to major in it in college.

I then went on to Xavier University, where I received a Bachelor of Arts in Music. While at Xavier I participated in many productions. I also received a Xavier University Music Scholarship for four years. I have noted my experience in detail: Xavier University of Louisiana-Senior Recital;
Xavier University Student Recital – “Opera under the Stars”, April 2008; Xavier University Concert Choir Midwest Tour – Soloist for “Amazing Grace”, April 2008; Xavier University of Louisiana Student Productions - Treemonisha (2004), Purlie (2005); Xavier University University Chorus; 2004-2009; Xavier Concert Choir; 2004-2009; Vocalist with Recording Artist: Josh Jones Nu Horizon, New Orleans, Louisiana; Vocalist with Recording Artist: Bishop Alvin Davis & Company, Baldwin, LA; Greater St. Stephan Gospel Choir and Praise Team; Background Studio Vocalist for Ebony Lockett (2009), Community of Faith Praise Team, 2012-2013

Currently, I sing at many venues and with various groups throughout Houston area. In addition to all of this, I also perform a great deal of gospel music on the praise team at the Community of Faith.

As you can see I have a great deal of experience and expertise different genres, and I look forward to sharing my knowledge with my students.

*** Lesson Details ***
To my future students:

I sit down at our first lesson to make a Custom Lesson Plan for what you want to study and goals you want to achieve.

I want to help you reach your goals and make you happy as a singer, so I am open to teach you anything no matter how little/much experience you have.

Next, we will pick a fun area to work on, and a challenging area to conquer. For example: we will work on a fun song then we will work on reading and/or rudiments.
I am also very patient and flexible to those students whom have special needs, or need to accelerate at a slower pace.

“Words make you think a thought. Music makes you feel a feeling. A song makes you feel a thought.”- E.Y. Harburg

*** Studio Equipment ***
Living room: keyboard, stands, music books, additional seating for parents.

Vocal Studio: Practice room, piano/keyboard, music stands, chairs; waiting area with television for parents/guests; security system; recording equipment

*** Specialties ***
CLASSICAL MUSICAL, GOSPEL, NEO-SOUL, JAZZ
...

Reviews

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Ronique W. June 16, 2014
Vocal Training · In studio
Verified Student
Shakeatha is great! After just a few lessons, I felt like I was improving. I like that she stresses proper vocal technique and breathing as well, which are very important. She's also highly versatile, so no matter what style you want to learn, whether its pop, jazz, soul, or classical, she's got you covered. She really encouraged and challenged me, reawakening my love for singing and music overall. I highly recommend her!
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Ciara W. January 6, 2014
Singing
Verified Student
singing lessons

I enjoy singing lessons with Ms.Shakeitha , she makes learning fun and easy and she pushes you. Overall she's the best teacher and my singing is improving.
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Yolanda B. December 19, 2013
Singing
Excellent!!!

Shae is extremely talented and has a well trained voice. She is very knowledgeable about the nuances of singing and is a great teacher!!
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Shakeatha D.

Shakeatha D.

Houston, TX 77009
(4)
starting at
$35 / 30-min
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Steve A.

Houston, TX

I teach singing using Kurwen Handsigns and other Kodaly Concept methods. A particular emphasis is pitch; I have successfully taken a professional actress from "tone deaf" (her words) to performing with a major opera company.

About Steve

I am certified in Music Education by the State Board for Educator Certification and have 35 years experience working in individualized education. I am currently accepting a small number of students for piano, ear-training, sight-reading, and/or music theory lessons. We will discuss what you need and develop an individual plan for you based on your goals. I accept students from age 15 through adult.

Classical piano training for beginning, intermediate, or advanced students.
Ear training, including relative pitch, interval recognition, and sight-reading.
Music theory training from beginn
ing music reading through four-part harmonic dictation.
Preparation for music theory exams, including AP courses and the AP exam.

Upon request I can provide references from students who have found my approach to be greatly beneficial to them. I look forward to working with you.

*** Lesson Details ***
Lessons are held either in my home studio in the Montrose neighborhood of Houston or via Skype. Each lesson lasts approximately 45 minutes, depending upon when we reach a good stopping point.

My only requirement is that you have access to a piano or electronic keyboard on a daily basis in order that you may practice. I require three hours' advance notice of cancellation in order for you to avoid having to pay for a missed lesson.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Kawai upright studio piano

*** Specialties ***
Kodaly Concept
Adult beginner/intermediate students
Technique exercises and development
Musicianship, including period-appropriate interpretation and expression
Music theory
...

Reviews

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Tyler S. May 30, 2015
Singing · In studio
Verified Student
I have only had one lesson thus far, but it was really a great experience. I've had many vocal coaches throughout the years, but it is obvious Mr. Allen knows what he's doing. I hadn't had a voice lesson in almost 8 months and he put me immediately at ease, and we jumped right into vocalizing and songs. Loved it and looking forward to more!
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Barbara B. August 10, 2014
Piano · In studio
Verified Student
I have taken lessons from Steve since the beginning of 2014. I took lessons when I was a little girl and had not played much since then. Steve has taken the time to get to know my capabilities, interests and reasons for coming back to the piano. Although he uses standard piano instruction books, he has been able to structure lessons and take home assignments that fit me. I especially like his focus on music theory, technique and how the notes and chords in the piece come together to create the piece. I have a busy schedule and Steve is organized and flexible when I am not able to come to class due to travel. He puts the onus on me to practice which is entirely appropriate for an adult coming back to piano. I would recommend Steve for instruction, particularly for self-motivated adults.
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Steve A.

Steve A.

Houston, TX 77006
(2)
starting at
$50 / 45-min
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Troy W.

Houston, TX

I have been teaching this subject for over 13 years. There is no specific curriculum as each student will come to lessons with their own unique skills, needs, and goals. Lessons are tailored to those specifics. It is not necessary to know how to read music at the first lesson for beginners. However, learning to read is required for subsequent lessons and will be a large focus for all non-readers. Music is not learned "by ear." A certain amount of theory will be a part of every lesson just as technique and repertoire. Concerning repertoire, it may be selected from the western classical, musical theatre, and popular rep based on the student's goals and learning needs with their input. The main emphasis on performance lessons, however, will be technique and reading. Students should come to the first lesson prepared to discuss their background & goals and the plan of their course of study.

About Troy

Composer Troy W. graduated from the New England Conservatory, earning his Bachelors, Masters (cum laude) and Graduate Diploma while studying with mentor Malcolm Peyton. After spending a year studying with Lukas Foss in Boston, Mr. W. moved to Houston in 2001 where he continued graduate studies at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music.

During his time as a teacher with the Michael P. Hammond Preparatory Program at Rice University's Shepherd School of Music, Troy taught classes in music fundamentals and music theory for pre-college students. He has also served on the faculty of the Summ
er Institute for Piano teaching courses in Form & Analysis for pre-college students.

Troy also has maintained a private studio, tutoring and teaching private lessons in composition, ear training, voice, piano, literature, and history for over ten years. Students who have studied with him come from a wide range of backgrounds with different goals. Those who have continued with musical studies in college have consistently placed out of at least the first two semesters of music theory and achieved advanced placement in their chosen fields of study. Those who chose a different path continue to benefit from the education and training they received from taking music lessons.

*** Lesson Details ***
There is no "standard formula" to lessons. Each student has their own unique background, needs, and goals. Lessons tend to be somewhat casual but are structured in such a way as to meet the unique requirements of the student.

To accomplish your goals, there are a few requirements and basic expectations that the student and parent must meet.
The first is practice. Students are expected to practice daily for at least the length of their lesson time. This, above all else, is essential to progress. It is also expected that a parent will attend lessons for students who are too young to drive themselves here. It's important for a parent to guide the student's practice time (particularly for younger students) to ensure that the most is gained from it. This is why I ask that a parent observe lessons.
Each student or parent should bring to each lesson a notebook, pencils (with erasers). The notebook will be used to record notes about each lesson, homework, practice advice, etc. Pencils (not pens...nobody's perfect!) are used by composers to record their creations and performers to mark their music. Both of these essential practices are subject to changing thought and must be open to change. So no ink, please!

Performers: It is not necessary to know how to read music at the first lesson for beginners. However, learning to read is required for subsequent lessons and will be a large focus for all non-readers. Lessons are not learned "by ear." A certain amount of theory will be a part of every lesson just as technique and repertoire. Concerning repertoire, it will be selected based on the student's learning needs but also with their input. The main emphasis on performance lessons, however, will be technique and reading. Students should come to the first lesson prepared to discuss their background & goals and the plan of their course of study.
Note: Voice students must be at least 16 years of age.

Composers: Just as with performers, it is not necessary to know how to read music at the first lesson. However, learning to read is required for subsequent lessons. Many young composers have great ideas but can only hear them in their heads or play them on an instrument. Lessons will allow you to obtain the skills to write them down with greater speed, accuracy, and clarity. More advance students will also include exploring a wider range of harmonic languages, advanced notation, instrumentation, orchestration, and aural skills. Students should come to the first lesson with examples of their work, either written, notated, or recorded in a digital format. They should be prepared to discuss their background & goals and the plan of their course of study.

IMPORTANT NOTE: the studio space is also inhabited by two lovely cats. Do consider this when signing up for lessons.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Yamaha DGX-650 weighted 88 keys full sized keyboard
area for parents to sit and observe lessons.

*** Specialties ***
Main area is in classical music and media scoring with secondary focus on musical theatre vocal performance and composing/arranging.
...

Reviews

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Cindy P. June 29, 2015
Piano · In home
Verified Student
great first lesson, went over what to expect. :)
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Rivan B. June 18, 2015
Singing · In home
Verified Student
Only my first lesson but I enjoyed it and am excited for the rest. Troy is very knowledgeable and very patient and down-to-earth.
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Lamont D. June 16, 2015
Classical Voice · In studio
Verified Student
The voice is very technical but yet very vaguely understood in terms of what one should do to obtain what needs to occur, in order to produce what is expected, and Troy understands how to interpret what is needed in order to produce what should occur.
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Troy W.

Troy W.

Houston, TX 77006
(23)
starting at
$40 / 30-min
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Zane W.

Houston, TX

When I see "singing" I assume the website means "Speech level singing" What is speech level singing? It is learning to shape ones voice to its original tone quality.

About Zane

Zane W. starting taking lessons from Guitar Institute of technology graduate, Charlie Lair at 12 years of age and studied with him for 6 years. Zane began serious classical voice lessons when he was 18 from Dr. Paul Busselburg, and is now currently taking speech level singing.
He has taken 8 music theory courses and 8 ear training courses. Also, he is a proficient song writer.
Zane has been teaching both singing and guitar lessons for 4 years.
***He recently lost touch with most of his previous students due to working with t.v. show "The Voice" but is passionate about sharing his gift wit
h others now that he is back in Houston.
...

Reviews

Silhouette-80
Samreen Z. October 14, 2014
Singing · In studio
Verified Student
He's an awesome instructor! Made me feel very comfortable and went at the perfect pace for me.
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Zane W.

Zane W.

Houston, TX 77008
(1)
starting at
$25 / 30-min
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Ben L.

Bellaire, TX

I offer an approach to teaching that puts your needs first. Singing requires courage and skill-I can help you utilize your talent, tame your fears, and become a confident performer. I have held positions at Chicago State University and Loyola University Chicago as a voice teacher, and I am an internationally recognized performer. Technique is essential for performers, and a truly authentic singing performance is made up of many elements that must combine in order to achieve greatness. I help you bring it all together!

About Ben

I am a vocal training specialist: my approach is technical and classically influenced, and at the same time 110% focused on end results. Technique sounds good on paper, but a truly authentic singing performance is made up of many elements that must combine in order to achieve greatness. I help you bring it all together! I teach students who sing in rock bands, singer/songwriters, pop singers, broadway, jazz, classical, etc. I have experience with singers at every level. I have taught people to match pitch, while other students have successful musical careers.
...

Reviews

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Dan W. June 18, 2015
Vocal Training · In studio
Here in Evanston, Illinois Ben was a knowledgeable, reliable, friendly and accommodating voice teacher. But not too accommodating! He stayed focused on training my voice, and so he gave me the lifelong skill that I sought.
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Mark S. June 12, 2015
Singing · In studio
I was Ben's music student for nearly five years while he was teaching here in Chicago. Like Ben, I am a bass but, in my case, I was only a beginner in music studies. It did not take much studying under Ben's instruction to realize his superlative talents as a teacher. He's very patient but also challenges his students to prepare, to improve on their weaknesses, and to engage new, boundary-pushing material. I advanced much further and more quickly under Ben's instruction than I thought myself capable. Moreover, I saw Ben work quite well with aspiring singers of both genders and myriad voice types. Indeed, I would highly recommend Ben for any music student seeking instruction at the highest level.
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Nick H. June 11, 2015
Singing · In studio
I had Ben as a voice teacher in college. He showed me how much potential I had and pushed me to be the best I could be. He is by far the best voice coach I have ever had! I would highly recommend working with him if you ever get the chance.
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Ben L.

Ben L.

Bellaire, TX 77401
(4)
starting at
$40 / 30-min

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