"I’m Tone Deaf."
Will Singing Lessons
Are you tired of singing out of tune or just not being pleased with your sound? Do you dream of hitting high notes with ease and belting like your favorite artist? If so, you may be wondering, will singing lessons actually help? Aren’t you either born with talent or you’re not?
I’ve heard it countless times, “I’m tone deaf, will singing lessons actually help?” You would be surprised. Everyone, even Aunt Joanne who always sounds off when she sings can improve with voice lessons.
The human voice is a complex instrument that requires coordination of several muscle groups, including the larynx, vocal folds, tongue, lips, pharynx, abdominal muscles, and so much more. The secret is figuring out how to coordinate all these muscles in an optimal way to produce the sound we want consistently and with ease.
So yes, singing lessons can actually help. But, the real question is, what do you hope to get out of singing lessons, and how can you ensure that you receive the maximum benefit?
The Benefits of Singing Lessons
Singing lessons offer a wide range of benefits to individuals of all ages and skill levels. Whether you are a beginner looking to improve your skills or a professional looking to take your voice to the next level, singing lessons can help you unlock possibilities. Some of the benefits of singing lessons include:
- Improved vocal technique: Through exploration of different exercises and sounds, you can learn to sing with greater ease, power, and control. Plus you can discover the various qualities your voice is capable of so you can change your sound to fit the style or genre you are singing.
- Increased confidence: Everyone has different goals when it comes to growing in confidence. For some, increased confidence is being able to sing in front of their voice teacher. Others aspire to sing for a crowd of people. In all my years of teaching, every student has grown in confidence after beginning voice lessons.
- Enhanced empathy and self expression: Singing can be a powerful tool for expressing our authentic selves. When working on a song, you will explore the meaning behind the lyrics, which can enhance your empathic skills and broaden your ability to understand others. Plus you can tell your own story through singing songs written by others or writing your own material. Singing can also provide a therapeutic outlet for processing emotions and stress. I have seen students process the stress surrounding a family member’s illness or the passing of a loved one.
- Greater musical knowledge and overall intelligence: Singing lessons can also help expand your knowledge of music theory, music history, and different styles of music. As you learn about new songs and musical styles, you’ll pick up new knowledge and information on a variety of subjects.
- Personal enjoyment: Finally, singing lessons can provide you with a great sense of personal fulfillment and enjoyment. Whether you are singing for fun or for a career, the sense of accomplishment that comes with improving your skills is incredibly rewarding.
Choosing the Right Studio
Selecting the right place to learn is a significant factor in achieving success in singing. When searching for a singing teacher, there are several crucial factors to consider to ensure that you make the right choice:
- Mission, values and experience: Most music studios have websites, be sure to read the about page to get a better sense of the studio’s mission and values along with teacher bios (if available). You can also read testimonials from former and current students to determine if the studio has a proven track record of providing an excellent educational experience.
- Teaching style: Each singing teacher has a unique teaching style, so it’s important to choose one that matches your learning style. Some teachers may use a more structured approach, while others may take a more relaxed, exploratory approach. Most studios offer a paid introductory lesson so you can experience the teacher’s style to make sure it’s a good fit for you. If you find that one teacher doesn’t suit you, ask the studio if you could try a lesson with another teacher.
- Location and schedule: Consider the location of the studio, as well as their availability. Make sure the teacher you choose is easily accessible and their schedule works with yours. Consistency is key to learning and developing your voice. Many teachers offer virtual lessons via zoom. This can be a great option for a busy parent or someone who lives in a different state of country.
- Cost: Consider the cost of the lessons and make sure it is within your budget. While it is important to invest in your vocal education, you don’t want to overextend yourself financially.
What Are Singing Lessons Like?
Singing lessons may be slightly different from teacher to teacher, but typically lessons include the following:
- Vocal warm-ups: Vocal warm ups are when the teacher listens to your voice and handpicks exercises that target trouble spots in your voice. Warm-ups can include SOVT (semi-occluded vocal tract) exercises such as lip trills, tongue trills, raspberries, or, straw phonation plus exercises on different vowels and words. All these exercises facilitate the exploration, discovery, and learning of new coordinations.
- Ear training or music theory: Depending on your specific goals, your teacher may incorporate some ear training, sight reading or music theory studies to enhance your overall musicianship. This may include learning solfege (do, re, mi, fa, sol, etc.) to improve sight reading and understanding the function of notes in the a key, intervals to improve pitch accuracy, meaningful musical symbols and terms such as dynamics and articulations allowing you to pick out these symbols in your music to be more expressive. Sight reading is a great skill to develop as it allows you to learn new music more quickly giving you the opportunity to learn more songs in less time, and we all know that time is our most valuable resource.
- Song: Once your voice is warm, you will work on repertoire. You can choose a song that you always wanted to sing, a song for an upcoming audition, or a song your teacher thinks would be best suited to help you reach your individual goals. If you’re unfamiliar with the song, your teacher can help you learn it and then will provide you with feedback and technical exercises to target trouble areas. Plus, your teacher will help you with song analysis and performance technique. The possibilities are endless.
Tips for Making the Most of Your Singing Lessons
In addition to choosing the right teacher, putting in the right amount of effort can accelerate your growth and improve your results.
- Be consistent: Sickness and other commitments will always get in the way, but when possible prioritizing your weekly lesson and consistently showing up will go a long way. Singing is a motor skill, which requires periods of unlearning followed by periods of new learning. Consistently showing up means you will go through the unlearning periods more quickly and get to the new learning, the really fun part, even faster.
- Be a sponge and try something different: Your teacher will suggest some whacky exercises that may seem counterintuitive, but trust me, they are our secret to helping you experience new coordinations and sounds. So be open to everything and view your lessons as a time to explore. That is when the best learning happens.
- Practice patience and self love: Singing is a complex process that requires patience. The students that get the fastest results are the ones that keep that negative voice at bay and treat themselves with love and respect.
- Start a practice habit: Creating and sticking to a practice routine is all about forming a new habit. Studies show that it takes 66 days to create a new habit. First come up with a sustainable practice plan and then embark on a 66 day challenge. Keep in mind, your primitive brain will resist, but with the weekly accountability of a voice teacher, you form an effective practice habit.
- Set realistic goals: One of the greatest motivators for both lessons and practice is setting a meaningful goal. Talk to your teacher about the goal you have in mind and they will help you determine if it is realistic along with the steps you should take to achieve your goal.
Advanced Tips for Making the Most of Your Singing Lessons
For those of you that want to really give it your all, follow these advanced tips.
- Periodically study with other teachers: Every teacher has a slightly different approach and can offer a fresh perspective, which can sky rocket your growth as a singer. While it is important to have one teacher for an extended period of time, mixing in lessons with another teacher can have a positive impact.
- Stay positive: A positive attitude and mindset can go a long way in helping you improve your voice. Stay motivated by celebrating your wins no matter how small.
I hope I convinced you that you can become a better singer and benefit from singing lessons even if you think you’re tone deaf. With the right teacher, dedication, and a positive attitude you can become a better singer. So let me know in the comments below, what is that one song you have always wanted to sing?
Want to give singing lessons a try?
Our friendly team would love to connect with you and answer all of your questions.