What Happens In A Singing Lesson?
Have you wondered what happens inside a voice lesson? How does it work and how can it benefit you? If you are one of those singers who have taken lessons before, then all this will be familiar to you. If you haven’t, but are interested, this article may help answer some of your questions. Every instructor is different, for example one of our Certified Throga Instructors (CTI), has a background on musical theatre, another one on rock singing, etc. The same applies for their style of teaching, therefore, this article will only focus on the common goals found in a voice lesson with some examples based on experience.
The initial Interview
Most teachers will try to get some information from you that is essential for the lesson. I, like many others, will have a few minutes of Q & A to find out more about your musical background, goals and thoughts. At the same time, as you are speaking, I will be carefully listening to your speaking voice to make you sure everything is well with the “core” of your voice. This is because the singing voice is an extension of speaking voice.
It doesn’t matter if you are a seasoned singer or just starting with singing. The teacher will need to hear and analyze the current condition of your voice to assess a plan, discuss it with you and have a mutual goal to follow. This may be done with a couple of Flexibility exercises, although some teachers may ask you to sing a song or go through a couple of scales before they complete their assessment, which will be shared with you afterwards. Try not to “impress” the teacher. Be vulnerable and honest to yourself and the teacher. The evaluation part may be the most critical of all the others in a voice lesson. It will probably be hard to fool the ears of a well-trained teacher, but the point is for you to not be ashamed of your voice. It is our mission as teachers to help you overcome any obstacle, but you first must allow it.
Welcome to the Vocal Gym! Once the teacher has got to know you and given you a clear assessment, he or she will provide you with a set of exercises that will be tailored specifically to you. This means, that based in your voice and your goals, no other singer will receive the exact exercises, and this is also why a recorded program doesn’t always help. Using clear explanations, every single exercise should be understood by you in terms of their objectives, both scientifically and artistically. In Throga, we CTIs use the Throga Guidelines and the 7DS (7 Dimensions of Singing) to make this process easier and clearer than any other technique. Through repetition and correction, the teacher will make sure that by the end of the lesson, you will know the goal behind every single exercise and how to vocalize them in a correct way, so you can continue training until the next time you meet him or her.
It can’t be all technique, can’t it? Well, it shouldn’t. There must be a time where you can sing, and the teacher can be there to listen and guide you through the songs you desire to sing the most. It is important to note that this may be beyond a single lesson, as good vocal behavior must be stablished first, but it is highly recommended that you start singing from the very first lesson. Do not wait “to get good” to start “showing off”. Sometimes a song may only need a different approach to sound great, and the highly trained ears of your teacher are perfect for this.
A good teacher cannot let you go without a proper plan for the vocal gym. We CTIs have templates that the student can use to create a list of exercises that you can follow and use them as guide when training on your own. Based on your performance throughout the lesson, the teacher may suggest you some of all the exercises you practiced together. As noted above, no single lesson is the same and the vocal journal will be constantly changing, per lesson. In conclusion, a voice lesson is all about self-discovery, discipline, vulnerability, trust and teamwork. Please keep in mind that there are no shortcuts, and no such thing as a “magic exercise”. You need to spend some time in the vocal gym and create a good relationship with your teacher to guarantee positive results. Don’t be afraid to check all the Certified Throga Instructors, we have decades of combined experience that will help us solve any vocal issues that may be troubling you.
AUTHOR: JORGE SANCHEZ