Voice FAQs

FAQs

Frequently asked questions about voice studies.


1. Why take voice lessons?
Some people believe that either you can sing, or you cannot. But no one would assume that someone would be able to play football without being taught the rules of the game, how to throw the ball, how to tackle, etc. Of course, there are those with natural talent, and those who have a wonderful voice that may be hidden under a poor technique. The main purpose of voice lessons is to teach the student how to sing – how to be the instrument as well as how to use it – so that they can make the best out of what God gave them. If the student has a passion for singing, regardless of their career path they can become better at singing – even if they are what some call “tone-deaf”!

 

2. What age is appropriate to start voice lessons?
Since the majority of voice lessons are focused on technique, it is best that the student be around 10 years of age. Some can start earlier, and some should start much later. It all depends on the emotional maturity of the student. The voice is a very personal thing, and often young students take any desire to improve technique as negative criticism of their voice. For children who would like to sing but may be too young for private instruction, we recommend starting in a voice class called Little Stars that is designed especially for children these ages. In a class setting, kids can learn the basics of singing, without the focus on their personal voice. It is best to set up a free interview so that our artist-instructors can meet with you and your child and determine what their comfort level is

3. Will my child have time for lessons?

This is a very important question to answer for you and your family. Children today have so many options available to them, it is both a blessing and a curse. The blessing is easy to see, but the curse may go unnoticed for many years: your child could be over-committed and both you and they are running from one event to the next, and not have enough down time to unwind. Not only that, but having too many activities means that there will be less commitment and focus to go around, so all activities suffer the more you take on.

Figuring out how much is too much for your child depends a lot upon what you already know of your child. While each child is different as to what they can manage, VVC usually recommends no more than 2 after school activities in addition to private lessons. Of course, it is alright for children to explore and try new things, but they aren’t really able to give something a good try if they are too busy to participate fully.

When considering private voice or piano lessons, it is more of a time commitment than driving to the school and back once a week. Daily practice on their own is expected of students. For  young students, parental assistance is needed to make sure they are practicing and they understand their assignments each week.

4. What is your philosophy on teaching voice?
We believe that everyone can learn to sing and learn to sing better.  VVC teaches a classical singing technique based on the physiology of the voice. We believe that understanding how the voice and its components work help the teacher direct a student to the correct sound. If someone uses their voice the way it was meant to be used, then they will be able to sing in any style by changing the stylistic means, and not the way they sing. We do not, however, bog students down with anatomy; we just tell them enough so that they understand the basics so that they will become masters of their own instrument.

5. How much practice should my child be doing?

For voice students, a lot depends on where in their development they are starting, their overall health, and what level of repertoire they are learning. Most young beginners should do 15-30 minutes a day, consisting of vocalises (vocal warm-ups) and work on songs. If a student is not feeling well, especially if they do not have a solid technique, we strongly recommend waiting until they feel better before practicing. Without a solid technique, they can cause some damage and develop poor singing habits. Having said that, the more frequent the practice, the faster the progress. Also, voice students need to spend time listening to good singing. Since most singers on the radio do not sing with a healthy technique, we will often provide suggestions for them to listen to, and listening should be a part of their practice time as well.

6. Why is performing important?

There are many benefits to performing as a part of one’s musical education. One is that if a student just continually learns new pieces for lessons without any goal in mind, it will often become difficult to actually complete a piece by memorization unless the student is very self-motivated. Periodic performances allow for a student to be motivated by providing a goal to be reached.

Also, the frequency of performances is important. Would you go to a surgeon who only performed surgery once a year? And yet, most studios will only have one studio recital per year. What results is that students get nervous, as they only have this one chance to get it right. The more performances a student has in a year’s time, the less anxiety they will have, and the more enjoyable singing for others will become for the student. VVC tries to provide a variety of performance opportunities for students, as well as encourage participation in competitions.


7. Is is necessary to have a piano in order to study singing?

If your child is taking voice lessons, then the answer is no, although having at least a small keyboard to find their pitches on will be very helpful. If a keyboard or piano cannot be obtained, then we highly recommend you record your lessons to practice with during the week.