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Should I Take Group Singing Lessons or Private Singing Lessons?

Updated: Apr 14, 2023

So you've been thinking about taking singing lessons for a while.

Maybe you're from a musical family or have a group of friends who love to sing together or you make your own music. Or it could be that you just love singing by yourself - in the shower, at home, at karaoke nights - maybe you've even performend a few gigs and now you're considering taking your singing to the next level.

Perhaps you've read about how you can enhance your singing voice, or watched video tutorials to learn about warm ups and exercises you can do to boost your vocal ability.

Before you start loooking for a singing teacher or vocal coach it's important to understand what you'll be getting from your lessons. Far more than just the amount of time you spend with your singing teacher, you are benefitting from years, possibly decades, of knowledge, experience and skill-building that they are sharing with you.

As a singer who initially considered singing to be a hobby, I moved onto becoming a serious singer touring the world as well as a professional voice coach and signing teacher, I have experienced singing from all angles. I have taken and delivered group and one-to-one lessons as a hobbyist and a professional. I have joined singing groups and choirs and I have performed my own original songs with bands and as a solo singer.

Singing lessons are an investment, not only in your vocal abilities but in your personal development. People who sing see an improvement in their confidence, communication skills, and singing has been proven many times to enhance both mental and physical health.

The Benefits of Group Singing Lessons Vs Private Singing Lessons

Group lessons are great for people who are confident that they sing in tune and enjoy the feeling of community when they sing. They are a more affordable way of accessing vocal training while getting to know other people in your community and create an opportunity to sing to and with an audience, without the pressure of having to sound like an expert.

Warm ups and exercises will usually be more generic in order to cater to a range of voices and abilities. Even if the course is aimed a beginners, intermediate or advanced singers there will invariably be people with less experience than others and those who need more personal attention that others in order to access the techniques and skills being taught.

Private lessons offer you the opportunity to receive bespoke training that is tailored to your unique voice, experience and level of ability. Songs that you learn will better reflect your musical preferences and, if you're an original artist sing your own songs, you'll be able to work on these during with your singing teacher.

Furthermore, one-to-one voice training will speed up your results and enable you to make more progress than you would with group lessons.

If you are planning to take Grade (singing exams) group lessons can work for learning the theory that you will need to learn. You will need to focus on specific songs for your exam and this may not be possible with group lessons. Additionally, exams require specific techniques and if you are struggling with one of more of these, group vocal training may hold you back.

Singing Lessons for Children

I would always advise keeping singing lessons a fun thing to do. Start children with group lessons or Performing Arts training, then if they want to focus more on their singing explore the possibility of singing lessons.

What if I'm “tone deaf”

If you're not sure whether you can sing in tune group lessons may not be the best option for you. This is because you will need to "train your ear" so that you are able to stay in tune when you sing with a group of people. This means that you are able to hear a melody and recerate it wihin a few tries.

There are group lessons that claim to be able to help people who find it difficult to stay in tune but in my experience this is a false economy; it's much more effective to spend your time and hard earned cash with someone who can help you get better results more quickly, especially now that there is a lot of help available on the internet.

If you find it difficult to pitch, feel that you sing out of tune or off key, private singing lessons will help you train your ear to be able hear the notes you should be singing. There’s no such thing as “tone deaf”, you just need to practise listening in a different way. You can take the first seps by yourself so you don’t have to wait, to improve your singing…

1. Start with a pitching app. There are lots around and it will take a few tries to find which works best for you.

2. Choose songs with melodies that hover around the same place - songs like Back to Black, by Amy Winehouse and Mr Brightside by The Killers. The verses of these songs are sung mainly on the same note, meaning once you can sing that note you’re more likely to sing in tune. Furthermore, you can sing both of these songs in your speaking voice, regardless of whether your voice is naturally high or low.

3. Listen to where the melody (main tune) goes up or down in pitch. How far up or down does it go? When it is higher is it as high as you think, or is it just louder? Start to really listen to what the singer’s voice is doing and don’t compare your voice to theirs; they’ve been singing for years snd will have had at least some training. Plus there will be a lot of processing and effects on their voice, even when they sing live.

Singers who are able to hold a tune more naturally and want to take things to the next level can accelerate their progress by taking private singing lessons, rather than group lessons.

How much should I expect to pay?

Like anything, you get what you pay for.

Do your research and try different singing teachers to get an idea of their style and whether you’d like to spend time with them. Singing can be a very intimate activity and it’s important that you feel comfortable with your singing teacher.

There are a range of the types of private singing lessons you can take. Singers who are of a certain level and either sing professionally already, or are planning to, will expect to pay more for high quality singing lessons.

These singers should be prepared to pay upwards of £70ph for a trained, qualified singing teacher with industry experience and at least three years teaching experience.

During one-to-one private singing lessons a good teacher and coach will tailor the warm ups and exercises to your needs. I often make exercises up on the spot to deal with the specific needs of the singer in a specific part of a song. The ones that work best become part of my huge toolkit, to pull out whenever a singer needs it.

Less experienced teachers will likely have a set of exercises that they use with all of their students. These teachers usually charge lower rates - anywhere from £35ph. This is a very low rate, however, and in larger towns and cities you should expect to pay around £50 - £60ph for a good teacher with some experience.

What will I be learning?

What you learn during a singing lesson will vary depending on your level, ability, how much you practise and how quickly you learn.

An effective singing lesson will include warm ups, technical exercises and focused learning of at least one song that you can apply the technique(s) to. It’s a good idea to learn contrasting songs concurrently so that you can use the techniques you are learning in different ways and speed up your progress.

How much should I practise?

Your practice routine depends on how important it is to you to improve your singing.

When I started I practiced for an hour a day, every single day. I wouldn’t expect everyone to be able to practice as much as this, especially if you’re singing for fun, but I would recommend a good workout of at least 20-30 minutes 4 times a week, with at least one or two of those being a full rehearsal of 45 mins to an hour.

As a serious performer it is vital that you are able to deliver compelling performances without worrying about vocal strain. For more serious singers I recommend daily focused practice from 30-60 minutes. This will install good habits, vocal strength and stamina.

SInging should always be apporached as a fun thing to do. If you really do want to improve your singing voice, books, blogs, Youtube channels and even online course can take you so far, but if you're serious about singing it's always best to invest in a singing teacher. Group settings will work if you can hold a tune and just want to sing for fun; one-to-one singing lessons are best for singers at opposite ends of the scale who need help pitching and singing in tune and for seriuos professionals who want bespoke training and faster results.

Still not sure? Book a complmentary Vocal Assessment to discover which tyoe of vocal training would work best for you. Click here to book.

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