As I have said many times before…I’m glad I didn’t take voice lessons as a teenager!
Why? Because I would have gone to the old lady down the street who directs the church choir….that’s why! There were no other options where I grew up.
And watch out. There are still many more choir-like teachers in your city than teachers of what-I-like-to-call 21st Century Singing teachers.
So, where should you take voice lessons?
First, you need to do your research. Watch out for university trained classical singing teachers if you want to sing R&B or country or pop or rock. This is not an ideal situation. Now that being said, there are some classically trained teachers who do understand a commercially viable sound in chest voice and mix…….but I believe they are few and far between.
Remember, your goal isn’t to blend in with all the other singers……….your goal is to stand out among the other singers!
So you’ve been taking lessons for quite some time, and you are not sure if it’s worth it. It costs a lot of money, and you cannot tell if it’s worth your while.
Here are a few suggestions to help you determine progress. Make sure lessons are recorded and dated so you can go back and compare.
1. Listen for the breath in your sound production. You should be less breathy in your exercises now, compared to the first few months.
2. Listen and compare the tonal quality of your low notes up to your high notes, and back down. Is your sound more “focused?”
3. Consider whether you are running out of breath when vocalizing? Is it different now from the beginning? You should be finding it easier.
3. Are you “mixing” in the middle? In other words, are you able to go from the bottom of your range to the top of your range without a “battle” or sensation of flipping in the middle? Compare this to the first six months of lessons.
4. Do the following test. Sing a comfortable note in your low range. Can you increase the volume without involvement of throat, neck, jaw or tongue, and just have the sensation created by the breath pressure you are creating? Do the same thing for a high note? Can you get a sense of the acoustic space you are creating while doing this?
5. Did you know it takes much longer to strengthen the high part of your voice compared to your low part. Specifically listen to the differences in your high notes when listening back to old lessons. Are you clearer and stronger sounding?
These are just a few ways to know if your voice lessons are working.