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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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Brennan B.

Houston, TX

Any kind of singing lessons rooted in classical technique

About Brennan

Hello and welcome to my profile! My name is Brennan, and singing is my life. I am an opera singer (a soprano to be precise) that is currently singing with the Houston Grand Opera chorus and teaching voice in the Houston area. Because I have been studying classical voice for almost 13 years and music in general for 18 years, I know what it takes to improve singing technique and musical skills necessary to be a great musician. As a regular performer, I also know what it takes to get over stage fright and performance anxiety, how to really capture an audience, and how to improvise on the spot w
hen something goes wrong.

While I was earning my Bachelor's Degree in Music at Pepperdine University, I also worked as a Music Theory tutor, so I have no problem teaching the basics to even the most beginner students. In fact, I love it! If you want to sing in styles other than opera, that's great! While I specialize in classical singing, I can always help you improve your personal style through good technique.

If you are here for speaking voice or public speaking lessons, have no fear, I can help you as well. As a performer, I often have to speak and sing in front of large crowds in many different settings. I can help you overcome stage fright, teach you how to project your voice, give helpful tips and tricks for public speaking, and teach you how to write and give an effective presentation.

For those who need help with Tonal Music Theory, look no further. I was one of two Music Theory tutors for two years at Pepperdine University. It was my job to help fellow students with homework, hold tutoring lessons, and teach aural skills.

In case you wanted to know, here are some of the roles I have played:
The Fox in "The Cunning Little Vixen" by Janacek, Rosina in "Il Barbiere di Siviglia" by Rossini, Hermia in "A Midsummer Night's Dream" by Britten, Margaret Page in "Falstaff" by Verdi, Jo March in "Little Women" by Adamo, Second Woman in "Dido and Aeneas" by Purcell, Third Spirit in "The Magic Flute" by Mozart, Gloria in "Thoroughly Modern Mille" by Tesori and the Stepmother in "Into the Woods" by Sondheim. I have also been a chorus member in many other shows, including "Otello" by Verdi, "Madame Butterfly" by Puccini, "Sweeny Todd" by Sondheim and "La Boheme" by Puccini. 

*** Lesson Details ***
I believe in helping the student be the best musician they can be by helping them find their inner voice and working toward a conceivable goal. I am a generally very happy and out-going person, but I am also very driven and hard-working. I love to have fun and joke around with the student while we work hard together to reach their goal. This goal is very important- every student needs to come into their first lesson with a goal in mind so that we have something to work toward together. While I expect hard work and focus during lesson times, it is important to remember that our lesson time is learning time. It is OK to make a mistake, crack, make strange sounds, dance around the room and generally do things that most people do not do in public. In order to find your voice and reach your goal, we might make the strangest sounds and the oddest metaphors you have ever heard, but it will get you the results you want.

Singing is the most organic way to create music, and like all things in this world, it is not perfect. I hope that after taking lessons with me, a student will have gotten closer to or attained their goal and will be able to use their singing voice without fear, shame, or embarrassment, and embrace it for what it is- their own, unique instrument.

*** Travel Equipment ***
If I travel to your home, we would need private space in which to practice. I can bring my own keyboard if you do not have a piano or keyboard.

*** Specialties ***
I specialize in Classical Singing, especially Operatic singing.
...

Reviews

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Rahul R. September 24, 2013
Singing
Verified Student
Brennan has been a wonderful teacher

Brennan is a very talented singer and it has been a pleasure taking lessons from her. She is a very good teacher and focuses on developing the basics of voice training. She is very professional and fun to work with. I have learned to appreciate music so much more. I highly recommend her.
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Brennan B.

Brennan B.

Houston, TX 77009
(1)
starting at
$45 / 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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Emily Z. August 16, 2015
Piano · In studio
Verified Student
Troy is an excellent teacher – clear, knowledgeable, attentive and kind. I look forward to lessons every week because I know that I will come out of them with a sense of direction, something concrete I can work on during the week to improve. If you want to actually learn to play piano (and many other things besides!) I highly, highly recommend him.
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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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Troy W.

Troy W.

Houston, TX 77006
(24)
starting at
$40 / 30-min
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Rachel H.

Houston, TX

This session takes a unique approach to traditional voice lessons. We start by listening, breathing and building up our vocal strength, and end in harmony. Please be advised : This class will bring lots of laughter and smiles into your students' life!

About Rachel

I started my musical path in a Ballet Studio. I fell in love with the crackle of the vinyl record playing as I learned to listen and dance with the rhythm.

I started playing the guitar when I was nine and took classical lessons until I was seventeen.I really enjoy the art of practice and the journey of patience. The process of learning has helped me carve out and cultivate my style of music. It's opened up a lot of doors for me in my life. I've had the honor to play with a lot of great performers and have been lucky enough to tour the U.S. and Canada with festivals and showcases such as V
ans Warped Tour, South By Southwest and the Halifax Pop Explosion.I've been the opening act for Carolyn Wonderland, Maria Taylor, Tsunami Bomb, Tilly and the Wall, Basia Bulat, Rise Against, Strike Anywhere. Anathallo, Cursive, Milton Hopkins, and Pony Up.

When I have free time I volunteer with the Houston Chapter of Girls Rock Camp to help teach girls empowerment through songwriting and music.

*** Lesson Details ***
I began teaching as an afterschool job when I was 16. I was homeschooled so I feel that the experience taught me that everyone learns differently and that there is not just one standardized method to playing music.

My Teaching style varies with each student, but the one constant is my ability to make each and every client I encounter completely fall in LOVE with music. It's my super power. Lesson plans are tailored for your specific needs and to help you achieve your musical goals and aspirations at your desired pace. I enjoy my students and making music with them.

Here is an overview of the lessons that I provide.

Guitar:
Finger Picking, Song Writing, Rhythm, Lead, Scales,Modes & Ear Training.

Songwriting and composition: Learn techniques, how to brain storm and plot your musical story line. This class pairs great with vocal lessons or guitar lessons.

Bass:
Scales, Rhythm, Beginner and Advanced song structure, Ear Training

Ukulele :
Technique, Intro to Chords, Ear Training, Strumming patterns - Ukulele is one of my favorite classes to teach. You simply can not help but smile when playing this instrument!

Vocals :
Breathing techniques, Scales, Harmonizing
...

Reviews

Silhouette-80
Sarah M. August 5, 2015
Ukulele · In home
Verified Student
Rachel was really easy to get along with. She gave a lot of good tips and tricks in regards to practicing. Really knowledgeable about instrument and passionate about her job. She makes the lessons very enjoyable. Absolutely recommend!
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Sam G. July 27, 2015
Ukulele · In studio
Verified Student
Great for beginners. Looking forward to the next lessons.
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Bob Jackson June 24, 2015
Bass Guitar · In home
Verified Student
Excellent teacher!
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Rachel H.

Rachel H.

Houston, TX 77007
(3)
starting at
$30 / 30-min

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