This chapter covers everything you need to know about voice lessons and how and where to take them. Nancy describes what a good voice studio and teacher should be like. She explores alternatives to in-home studio lessons, giving the reader a sense of what they should be looking for in their vocal training.
by Akemi Takahashi
My voice lessons have taken place at my teacher’s house for the most part. For the first few years I was in lessons, I would take the school bus from my elementary and middle schools up to my teacher’s house. Eventually I learned how to drive and got my car, so I had a lot more flexibility scheduling lesson times, but to be honest, it didn’t matter where or when my lesson was. I was going to make anything work for this time learning from my teacher. I remember one summer I had a lesson early in the morning and no one was around to give me a ride and there was no school bus running in mid-July. So, I hopped on my bike and struggled up the huge hill leading up to my teacher’s house. After twenty grueling minutes I made it to the top and walked into the studio, totally red faced and sweating. My teacher laughed and gave me a cold glass of water and we started in on another fun lesson. If you are passionate enough about studying singing to pursue private lessons, you’ll do just about anything to get there for that learning time, even if it means simultaneously committing to a bike workout.
Though it’s not my favorite way to have a lesson, my teacher and I have had skype sessions before and I’ve found that they are just as productive as a lesson in person. I would say the only downside is that the sound quality isn’t always perfect. So, if my teacher and I are working on resonance, a skype lesson wouldn’t be optimal because she wouldn’t be able to hear how the sound travels throughout the room. Still, skype or online lessons are very helpful, and sometimes necessary! For example, I was scheduled for a lesson the day before a super important performance and really wanted one more session to polish my songs with my teacher. But we were in the middle of a huge snowstorm and the road leading up the aforementioned GIANT hill had completely frozen over, making it impossible for anyone to make it up or down. Luckily, powerlines were still up and we could make a skype call and carry out our lesson that way. Another time, us students wanted to do a studio concert but our busy schedules didn’t align and we couldn’t find a date to host it. So, my voice teacher recorded videos of us singing our songs and compiled them all onto a DVD and mailed it out, which was great because that meant that we could also see her out-of-state students perform.
Finding the right teacher is so important- they will make anything work, no matter how or where you want to take lessons.