Updated: Aug 22, 2022
We get asked plenty of questions about singing and the voice. Lucky for our singers, fambams and new prospective clients/students, both are topics that we can talk about forever (and you may need to pretend that you have to leave soon, just to stop us!).
So...here are a few standard "Frequently Asked Questions" that you may find interesting:
Can anyone learn to sing?
Technically, yes. Anyone with a functioning voice can be taught to sing, and to sing very well, within the parameters of their own voice. In practice however, it may not always be possible, though not for the reasons people think. This is because learning how to sing relies on a balance of willingness (having a go!), efficient practice, repetition, exploration and of course, developing the voice and one's music skills. If you or your young singer would like to learn how to sing, it is absolutely possible provided there are no massive vocal or external issues that might impede your learning.
Yeah, but you don't understand...I really can't sing? Is there hope?
If you think you can't sing, our question to you is this...given you feel you might lack the musical and vocal skills that singers have, then how can you really be sure you can't sing? This statement often comes from people who love music and are curious and intrigued about singing - so chances are, you've already got plenty of the skills required to sing because there's already music in you - you simply haven't tried to develop it further or have been shown how to put singing and music concepts together in the right order. Confidence comes from understanding how your own voice works, how your ears hear music and singing, getting some helpful feedback and hearing your voice and skill 'magically' get better over time (it's not actually magic...there's a science to it!). So is there hope? Absolutely!
What should I look for in a voice instructor/teacher?
Someone nice is always a good start! Learning to sing can be intimidating for some students - it isn't similar to learning a musical instrument in that the musical instrument being used is the person and as such, there is a personal element to singing lessons. A teacher who is kind, consistent and respectful is important.
For professionals, choosing a singing teacher who can target specific areas of voice and has the confidence, experience and knowledge to extend your skill is important.
A degree in music is great however it is good to note here that there are many musicians and singing teachers in Australia who are very knowledgeable and experienced without a specific music degree. A degree in music also does not always guarantee that a teacher understands the physiology, anatomy and acoustics of the singing voice - important tools that all good singing teachers and vocal coaches possess.
Teacher/coaches should also understand and have a handle over the many areas of singing - voice science, pedagogical/teaching methods, musical style, industry or educational requirements (such as HSC marking criteria or auditions). Lastly, parents of children should always validate a teachers working with children check (this goes for all types of tutoring) and feel assured that a teacher's studio is a child-safe space.
Whatever you do, try not to choose a singing teacher like this one! (as awesome and as hilarious as the video is!)
How long will it take before I sound good?
It depends! Every student and singer is unique - your voice is one of a kind, so is your style of learning. This means that the variables that lead to "sounding good" varies from person to person. What you can expect however, is an understanding of how your voice works, and how to begin controlling it, within the first few lessons (if not the first!) and over time, exercise, feedback and practice, will often lead to improvements within the first few weeks. Mastery, like anything, indeed, takes years.
Do you work with adults? Can voice coaching and singing lessons help me improve my speaking voice?
Absolutely! We work with both adult beginners but also adult professional and pro-am vocalists. We also work with people who use their voice for work - such as school teachers, sports coaches and the like. Singing lessons are similar to strictly non-musical voice coaching in that our aim is to develop vocal efficiency. The result of this is a flexible voice (sing high, sing low), a "stronger" voice (sing/speak loudly, clearer), and a voice that does not get tired as quickly. Results vary per person however singing lessons can most definitely help support the overall use of the voice. This is incredibly important for adults who work with their voices as how you speak has a direct influence on how your message is perceived by your audience/students.
How do singers sing those super quick notes?
Those super quick, complicated and impressive quick lines of a song are often referred to as a riff, melisma, a lick or a run. They have so many names but one thing is for sure - they are impressive to listen to, a lot of fun to learn, and are an advanced vocal "trick" that requires a singer to have a really good handle over the technical and musical elements of their singing voice. How do they do it? Getting shown how, alongside practice (singing riffs slowly, and marking every note is key), and aural skills. Singers should have a grasp over Major, Major Pentatonic and, if you really want to get clever, Modes and Jazz/Blues scales.
I keep straining and losing my voice. Can you help?
Yes, singing lessons will help to teach you how to take care of your voice but more importantly, to develop and improve how you are singing so that you can learn how to avoid straining altogether.
Do you have any other questions that you'd like me to answer/add to this list? Send me an e-mail email@example.com with your question!
New to singing and all of this feels like mumbo jumbo? Join our studio! Concepts of singing are incredibly easy to grasp once you go through them with a qualified teacher/coach - not just read about them or in watching YouTube vids! Having someone catch and support your development is incredibly helpful.
Contact our studio on 0411 506 204 to have a chat and to book an initial lesson in! We would love to hear from you.