Why Take Singing Lessons?

Beginning singers shouldn’t be more confused when they walk out of their first voice lesson.

Yet, so many capable, smart teachers make the mistake of asking their students to do things they have no idea how to do, leaving you just to wonder “How do I do that?”

Sing from the Diaphragm, Raise the Palate, Sing in the Mask: What does it all mean?

One of the most beautiful things about having ongoing training with the Institute for Vocal Advancement is the focus they place on cause and effect communication.

That sounds complicated right?

In practice, it’s pretty simple.

Let’s say you walk into your first voice lesson with teacher X. Teacher X is not familiar with cause-effect communication.

They listen to you sing for a while.

They say nice things and help you feel good and confident.

Then they say, “The problem that I’m hearing is that you’re raising your palate when you shouldn’t be. So just go ahead and raise that palate.”

“Uh, what?”, you think.

“Yes, just raise that palate and you’ll feel more relaxed.

See if you can drop the palate to the bottom of your throat.”

This is when you start to panic.

Nobody told you how to drop your palate.

Is that what it means to sing well?

If you can’t drop the darn palate, you’ll never be a great singer and you’ll never be rich and famous and never get the girl and OH NO!

You’re toast.

Let’s start with Teacher Y now. Teacher Y has experience with cause and effect communication.

They listen to you sing, they say that you have a tendency to raise your palate which makes your voice sound a little nasally.

Basically, your palate’s not resting in the ideal place.

Instead of asking you to drop your palate, Teacher Y just asks you to say “AHHHH. Big and wide, like a yawn.”

“There we go, very nice.

Now see if you can take that same feeling and put it on this scale”, and BOOM, you have just dropped your palate to an ideal position and teacher Y never ASKED you to do something you don’t know how to do!

He/she just caused you to have a desired effect on your voice.

Everyone knows how to say “AHHH” like a yawn, and yet this simple communication allowed you to experience success with the exercise.

The clouds part, your vocal problems are solved and you are going to take your place with the gods of music.

Bottom line: don’t settle for teachers who ask you to do things you don’t know how to do.

For them to do this expresses how little they know about effective communication with a student.

You’ll find better teachers that help you learn faster elsewhere.

For me, everything I do is designed to make myself the most valuable musician I can be.

To me, that means giving back as much as music has given to me. It also means sharing the joy that music brings with everyone I can.

I also teach voice lessons so that I can help my students fulfill their goals.

Be it performing in front of thousands of people, or just singing karaoke, my goal is to get my students performing well as quickly as possible.

As a voice teacher, I see a lot of frustration in my students when they don’t give what they think is a “perfect” performance.

This is totally understandable.

But I think it’s worth mentioning that there is no such thing as a “perfect performance”.

Even amongst the great vocalists of our time, some are better at hiding their vocal errors than others.

The truth is there are so many elements to a performance that it is easy to forget why you’re spending hours practicing every week.

In my mind, the point of voice lessons is to have as many tools in your vocal tool belt as possible.

If we accept that there’s no such thing as a perfect vocal performance, then it’s probably worth having as many tools as possible.

Can you hit that high C dependably?

Can you find vibrato when the band is pounding away behind you?

Can you sing a melody that you just learned with authority?

Voice lessons can give you the tools necessary to achieve these things so fluidly that it will seem as though the performance is flawless to the audience.

After all, you’re singing for them, aren’t you?

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