Summer has returned and our studio schedule has opened up a bit with students taking off for summer break and various things, including family vacations, present themselves. Now is a great time to inquire about singing lessons. For a free trial lesson with me, just head over to the “Lessons” page of this website and fill out the form. Voice lessons are a great way to enjoy the summer! D.F.
I know some things seem to be common sense with regard to music but, every once in a while lessons go much better than other times. With this in mind, I figure I can write about how to make things run as smoothly as possible when having your singing lesson and preparing for it.
Rule number 1, SHOW UP!!! Be on time and remember your teacher has scheduled your lesson to accommodate both your schedules. This is not to say disregard the fact that we are all human and life happens. However, your teachers time is important to him (or her) and they look forward to you being there.
Number 2: Try doing a little before your lesson to be more relaxed. What does this mean? Many students deal with tension of various forms. Some carry a lot of tension in the shoulders. Others carry it in the neck. Many carry tension in the tongue or in the jaw. Begin with something simple like shoulder shrugs, or doing circles with your shoulders. I like to instruct my students to do sets of 10 in both directions…going forward then reversing. This tires the strap muscles and helps to relax the area very nicely. For the tongue, try holding pencil under your tongue without assistance from your teeth and vocalize a little. The faster the pencil falls out, the more tension exists. For the jaw, try stretching it in conjunction with all the above. Of course, everyone is just a little different.
Number 3: Try sharing something happening in your life. Now, I’m not saying to complain about your second cousin, twice removed who married into the family and is currently acting creepy and stalker like toward your family friend who always comes over when you least expect it and takes the last serving of dinner which you really wanted to have because this is your favorite meal. Share something that was exciting or interesting. Perhaps you took a trip to a local museum, or maybe you planted something in the yard last week. Maybe you are going to get braces next week or the family will be traveling somewhere new for vacation. All these things are very exciting and it helps to build a rapport with your instructor. Plus, this gives you and your instructor more to talk about than simply music.
Number 4: Try finding new music for yourself. This helps make a couple things easier. First, it helps you find music you like and want to do. Second, it helps your voice teacher know you are vested in your own lessons and learning things that inspire you to practice more. Another little thing I personally enjoy about students bringing their own ideas about what to sing is it saves me lots of time searching for the music myself.
5: Practice, practice, practice!!! I always know, very quickly, who has practiced and who has not. I do not always point it out but, I always know. Having voice lessons is like owning a membership to a gym. It is completely useless unless you are willing to put the time in to use it. In the case of singing lessons, that time is your practicing. Otherwise, progress will never be made.
Are there more items that can be listed here? Absolutely, these are simply the ones that have entered my mind today. I hope these tips help you!
When I was young, I used to rock in my crib on my hands and knees and rhythmically pound my head against the side panel of the bed; at least this is what I have been told. Perhaps this tendency was used to explain why I turned out the way I did. Many years later, I met a young man who did the same thing as a toddler and I was told by his family that it’s a sign of both intelligence and a musical mind.
How is it, you might ask, that smacking your own head against a hard object is a sign of intelligence? Unfortunately, I don’t have anything concrete to answer this question with. However, haven’t you ever wanted to smack your head against something hard? Perhaps I am the only one who has ever had such an inclination. I digress!
Many young kids can show a remarkable tendency toward music and it will be up to you to decide if they will be ready to try lessons or if you think they should hold off for a bit. Here’s a little guideline to get you pointed in the right direction.
When I am asked about the proper age to begin voice lessons I usually offer the age of 9-years-old as a starting point. Music will require practice and practice will require a degree of personal discipline and motivation. If your 7 year old has begun singing lessons and is keeping with everything the teacher is asking of him, great! To me, 9 is simply a starting point.
Another thought in this regard is that the human voice begins changing as early as 10, to 11 years old. It is a good idea to have some technique in place before this happens. Of course, I have also heard the idea that it’s good to wait until the voice has changed to begin voice lessons. It is my belief that lessons at an early age help institute good vocal habits for a lifetime of healthy singing.
Ultimately, you will know if your child is ready to undertake lessons. I am always very pleased when parents are actively involved in the support of their kids and I encourage them to be so. If you wake up to a pounding emanating from your child’s crib, there may be hope for you still! Do not panic and try to not be too hard on the little one. You can always tell them that this is a two-fold sign of goodness as mentioned here. You can even tell these things to yourself and just allow yourself to imagine the possibilities.
Lastly, if you are ready to take the plunge and allow your child to try lessons, get started with us. As you know, we offer a free trial lesson. To sign up, go to the “Lessons” page of www.DanielForan.com, if you’re reading this post on the website of one of our affiliates, and follow the directions. It really is well worth it!
So I’ve decided to address this topic today due to the fact that this genre for tutelage is still a new frontier in learning. Having lessons online has an assortment of benefits and opportunities.
Pros: Convenience; the ability for student and teacher to get together at a time easiest for your schedule has never been more easily achieved than now with online singing lessons.
Variety of quality; utilizing the information super highway for your personal learning experience can now bring the best teachers from all over the world right into your home. Living in Kansas? No problem! You can have the best teachers from New York, Los Angelis, Yucca Valley, California… 🙂 or anywhere. Can you imagine the possibilities?
Cons: Connectivity can be bad at times. Nothing is more frustrating to me than having a lesson end abruptly due to the video call freezing up, or having poor call quality appear. Sometimes this can be due to weather, sometimes home internet systems. Still, other times, Skype just has a bad day and logs you off.
Please note: Always be sure to keep the Skype program on your computer up to date. I check multiple times each week. This also helps keep things moving along nicely.
Call delays; there are days when our lessons go along well and then the sound gets delayed on both sides. I recently gave a lesson to a student who heard what I said approximately 4 seconds after I said it. We turned the video off but kept the audio. Some of the delay diminished but I recall having some for a short time.
These are the foremost thoughts coming to my mind for online voice lessons. On the whole, this is truly a unique and engaging way to build the learning life of yourself or your loved ones and I believe the plusses far outweigh those things which take away or add frustration.
The internet has brought a new way to bring education home; literally. Be sure to check back here soon for more.
I realize that Skype is becoming more widely used by people everywhere now but, many people do not take advantage of it. Perhaps one reason for this is, as in the case of my brother, you don’t have an account and don’t know how to set one up.
Skype is truly simple and, for its basic use, is free (outside the cost of the internet, of course). You can go to their website, and click on the “sign in” tab at the top of the page. You’re probably thinking to yourself that you can’t sign in because you don’t have an account with them. While this is true, stick with me for just a moment, it will all make sense soon.
After clicking on the “sign in” tab, a new screen will open. At the top of the new page will be a button next to the “sign in” button which reads, “Join us.” Don’t worry, this is not Skype’s attempt at global domination and you will not be turned into a cyborg. However, if you click the shiny new button, “join us,” you will be directed to the screen to sign up. It really only takes about 5, or 10 minutes to do so.
After creating an ID and your own password, you will be ready to download the program to your computer and contact me for singing lessons! It really is easy to do.
While you are getting used to Skype and waiting for the program to download to your computer, sign up for a free trial lesson with me! You really won’t regret it.
In case you haven’t heard, we’ve moved our base of operation to Yucca Valley. If you or anyone you know is interested in singing lessons/voice lessons, either in person or online, now is a great time to sign up for a free trial lesson. We are certain you’ll continue once you try! D.F.