A lot of people who come in for voice lessons are beginners. Maybe like 75% of my students start as beginners, actually. Some of those beginners want to go pro and some just want to learn about singing for hobby projects, to participate in things like community theatre or choirs, to get better at karaoke, or – often – just because singing is awesome and they wanna learn to do it better. All of those goals are awesome!
One of the main things about beginners is there is often considerable fear around singing in front of other people or even anxiety around singing. It’s a pretty normal thing to be afraid of singing in front of other people – and especially a new singing teacher who you don’t know and might be kinda mean or whatever. I mean, we all know they are mean on American Idol so there’s often fear around singing in front of people who might judge you. I’m happy to say that being mean is totally unprofessional and they do it on Idol because they think it’s entertaining. I say it’s just mean but I guess maybe I’m not their target audience! 😀
Anyway, in this studio, beginners are allowed to set their own goals. This can be “train to go pro” or it can be “super not interested in going pro, I just want a better life with singing in it”. I will 100% get behind either of these goals and any others you want to work toward. Often people who want to sing recreationally feel like there might be expectations that they need to be a certain level of awesome based on some of the pro clientelle but that is not true. Honestly, it’s super boring to do the same thing all day and even training super skilled singers can get boring if you don’t mix it up. I value my pro-track students of course. But I also value my clients who are commited amateurs. In fact, I find that the love of music in amateur singers is really inspiring and working with them lets me be around for the joyful experience of learning to do really neat things with their voice. It really doesn’t get old – this teaching thing – and I just love being there for that moment of joy when someone finds out they just got better over the last 20 minutes. There are very few moments in life that give a person that moment of happiness that I experience everyday working with my beginner students.
A lot of beginners don’t know that you actually can learn to sing. And even if they think that, the experience of seeing it happen right in the session is an amazing thing to have in your life. Because singing is like anything else in life – if you work at it and practice and keep doing it, you’ll get good at it. That’s how I got good at it! That’s how all the professional singers I know got good at it. In fact, the most universal trait that people have who are successful at something – and this includes things in the arts – is that they keep doing it. So by taking lessons and singing every day, you will get good at it. It doesn’t matter if you suck at singing on key or you sound like Kermit. Even the sound of your voice changes a lot (if you want it to) through training and practice.
Another thing that is kinda scary to beginners is the idea that a teacher might be mean to them. There are teachers who are mean, but in m book this is a type of abuse. People who are criticised about their singing – or any other creative endeavour – often get so much anxiety built up around it that they stop performing. This can be from being denigrated for singing (or acting or dancing or…) by a parent, older sibling, teacher, or any person who is somewhat of an authority figure over them. You can get past the anxiety but it takes a gentle hand and consistent use of motivating teaching techniques. Singers do not respond well to people being negative to them about their voices. I have an article on that very thing but the Cliff Notes is that being deinigrating to a singer makes them sing worse. And when it’s happened, sometimes the singer replays the audio of the event back in their mind over and over and it can have a lasting impact on their skills. For this reason, at my studio I am committed to not only making progress with the voice every session but also to the client leaving the session feeling better than when they walked in. I’ve been using positive reinforcement for 20 years and it’s one of the foundations of this studio.
I view every relationship with a student as a team thing. I can tell you something or suggest it and most students will try to do it. It’s sometimes the case that you might not be successful at it right off. So rather than getting angry, I think it’s important to have a few different ways to teach something. And if all those don’t work, to be flexible enough to dream up a new way! Not everyone learns the same way so if a student can’t do something, it’s not the their fault. It’s just that the right way to reach that student hasn’t been discovered yet. So it’s a tem effort.
Anyway, I hope you’ve had some of the main concerns beginners usually have addressed. I’d be happy to discuss more with you, as well, just head on over the GET STARTED and you’ll find contact information there – feel free to reach out if you have other questions. But my most favourite thing is when people take a leap of faith and jump in and give it a try! Starting lessons is brave! But singing is one of the things in life that can make you feel the best and it’s amazing to share that with people! <3