Learning to singing is something millions of people say they’d love to do, but the truth is that for most, it’s simply a pipe dream that never comes to life.
Exposing your vulnerability through singing is enough to make the majority of people cringe with embarrassment as they imagine singing out of tune, off key or sounding like a drowning cat.
When it comes to improving your singing skills, you have various avenues:
o One-on-one vocal coaching
o Music theory lessons
o Group sessions
o Participating in singing workshops
o Group rehearsals
o Joining a choir
o Exploring YouTube channels
o Utilizing apps
o Listening attentively to music
o Emulating your favourite vocalists
o Regular singing practice
But for those of us who truly love singing and want to commit to improving our singing voices, private singing lessons are the best way to grow as a singer.
Before embarking on your initial lesson, ask yourself the following questions:
· Why do you want singing lessons? Is it to develop pitch-perfect harmony, to perform in public, or simply to relish the joy of singing?
· Is your aim to acquire vocal proficiency or improve your technique?
It’s important that you are clear about why you want to take singing lessons as this will help shape your lessons. Moreover, they can provide an estimate of the length of time it will take to reach your goals.
CAN ANYONE LEARN TO SING?
Singing is a skill, which means that anyone with a voice and the desire to learn, can. While the exact number may be hard to pinpoint, they can provide a rough idea of the time involved. With regular one-to-one singing lessons, singers who can naturally hold a tune and practise frequently can expect to be ready to perform in as little as a few months, and to reach vocal mastery in 2-3 years. It is vital to understand that, when it comes to learning how to use your voice properly, in a way that will not cause damage. While learning to sing is not quite a marathon, it’s definitely not a sprint. There are no short cuts and there are no tricks.
As you commence your journey, be careful not to become overwhelmed by what there is to learn about singing. Instead, enjoy the learning process of each lesson.
Here's what you can expect at the outset of your singing journey:
During the first 2-3 months of your singing lessons, you'll dive into the foundational aspects of singing. These will give you a strong grounding before you move onto more advanced techniques, giving you a strong base for your vocal skills as a singer. Let's explore a few of these singing fundamentals:
WARMING UP YOUR VOICE
To prepare your vocal instrument. Just as you would warm up your muscles before a physical workout, it’s vital that you warm up your voice before a singing session. You can do this with lip bubbles and tongue trills https://youtu.be/O72vtKO62WU?si=gI1fo-gB10UBQn1X
o Diaphragmatic breathing practice: Enhancing breath control. Understanding how you take in and support your breathing will help you to develop more effective vocal control.
o Vocalisation: Developing vocal flexibility. There are multiple ways to create vocal sounds. Over time, you’ll learn how you can create these different sounds so that they are strong, full and robust, without straining and damaging your vocal cords.
o Exploring high and low notes: you will learn how to utilise specific singing exercises that can enable you to expand your vocal range.
YOUR SINGING JOURNEY
As your voice start to feel freer and less constricted you will notice your confidence growing as a singer and you will be keen to move on to the next stage of your singing journey.
The next few months will see you developing your vocal strength. This will enable you to take on more challenging songs and show off your new singing skills.
By six months most singers are ready to perform in public. While it can be nerve-wracking to sing to an audience, it is also an exhilarating experience that can cement your chosen path as a singer.
During months 6-12 you will explore more advanced singing techniques that will open up your voice. You will be able to pinpoint which singing techniques to use for specific phrases and experiment independently with the different sounds and singing styles you have developed. Around month 8-9 you will begin grasping the more advances singing techniques such as twang, belting and riffs and runs.
Depending on where you’re starting, how committed you are to learning and how often you practise, it can take 2-3 years to learn to sing, from complete novice to proficient singer. A beginner singer who is able to ‘hold a tune’ should expect to be ready to sing in public within six months to one year. We should also consider the confidence of the singer in question; I would always recommend singing in public before you feel ready. This could be anything from singing at a party to turning a tune a karaoke or taking the small stage at an open mic night. That way you’ll be able to step out of your comfort zone quickly and make more rapid progress.
Singers who take vocal Grades (vocal exams) can expect to progress through all eight Grades in around 3-5 years. This also depends on your commitment: I completed Musical Theatre and Pop Music Grades concurrently in three years. However I was particularly motivated as I wanted to reach Grade 8 in both before starting my Music Degree and had already been studying singing and music theory for two years before I completed my first vocal Grade exams. It is possible but I wouldn’t recommend it, particularly to younger singers.
Many singers find that their own mental blocks hold them back from making progress. Fear of judgement, lack of confidence and shyness can all hold potentially great singers back from doing what it takes.
When I was learning, my next door neighbour complained to my husband almost every day, for months. But, rather than let her negativity discourage me, I resolved to keep practicing until I became good enough to stop her complaints. A few months later my then husband and I bumped into her and her husband in the street. Her husband said “You know, Carrie, your singing’s really coming on.” She never complained after that day. About a year later, I moved back to London and secured my first gig within two weeks!
The truth is that there will always be someone who doesn’t like to see others succeed. That’s their problem, not yours. And if your own self-criticism is what is holding you back, think of your friends and family who love to hear you sing and want to see you succeed. What would they say to you during the times you feel low and feel like giving up? Let their support be your motivation and inspiration and imagine how you will feel in years to come when you are living your dreams.
Are you ready to unlock your singing voice and unleash your vocal power? Download your free Singers’ Starter Pack. When you claim yours you will receive:
- 30-Day Singing Practice Planner
- Interactive Ebook Accelerate Your Singing
- 5 FREE Singing Tutorials