Have you ever wanted to try singing lessons and wondered what to expect? Singing in front of strangers can be especially daunting if you are not experienced at it or have never done it before. The first thing to remember is that singing lessons are nothing like an audition for a broadway show or idols.
Your teacher is not a judge, they aren’t there to criticize you. They want to help you improve. Your vocal coach is there to help you be the best singer you can be and they are there to boost your confidence and without making you feel like you can’t sing.
With this in mind, however, your first voice lesson can still be a pretty anxious experience. So let’s take a look at a few things you can expect when taking your first voice lesson and give you some tips and pointers to help you feel more confident and break the ice.
Consider Your Goals
Try have a goal in mind when you go into your first voice lesson.
Your teacher will want to know what your singing aspirations are so they can adjust their lesson plans accordingly.
Your goals don’t have to be overly ambitious, whether you want to sing on a Broadway stage or participate in your local choir. Giving your coach an idea of where you want to go will allow them to set up a plan to guide you better so that you can attain your goals realistically.
If you don’t have any goals in mind and just want to sing for fun, that’s still great! Your teacher will probably have you try a broader range of genres to see what style of singing suits you best, and in turn help you learn where your strengths lie.
Take Some Music With You
If you want, you can always bring along a list of songs you’d like to sing in your first lesson. Or if you have a favorite song you like to sing, bring some sheet music for the pianist and give the teacher a show.
Singing something that you really enjoy and comfortable with will boost your confidence to give it your all. This could give your teacher a good idea of your singing capabilities as well as the kind of music you like to sing.
However, don’t expect to launch straight into songs in your first lesson. Your instructor may have a different plan in mind.
Master The Basics
Believe it or not, but singing for any length of time can be exhausting if you aren’t used to doing it every day.
You have to learn to manage your breath while you sing and one of the first things your voice coach may teach you are the fundamentals of breathing.
Training the correct muscles daily increases your breathing capacity and stamina, which in turn allows you to sing for longer while maintaining the tonal quality of your voice without getting tired.
Over time, as you gain experience and attend more singing lessons, your tone will improve and so will the strength of your voice. You will learn to extend your vocal range and change notes with fluidity which will make your singing a lot smoother.
When your voice becomes more agile and flexible you’ll be able to change between a broad range of notes without much difficulty, and more importantly, without your voice breaking.
With further experience, your voice will become more versatile and you’ll be able to sing different types of genres. You will also learn how to take care of your voice which is vital to any singing career.
Do Some Preparation
Being well prepared for voice lessons (especially your first one) will help keep you from feeling anxious and nervous about it, which in turn will allow you to relax and enjoy the experience more. Remember you are there to learn and progress as a singer.
If you happen to hit a few wrong notes or you voice is breaking up and having a bad day...so what! It happens to everyone and it’s all part of the process.
You will improve, just persevere and give it time. And try not to put too much pressure on yourself, especially for your first few singing lessons.
You will find that the more lessons you have, the more comfortable you’ll become with your teacher, and the more you will learn from them. The first lesson will seem like a huge obstacle you have to climb, but once you make it through, the others will become a breeze.
In order to steadily improve it would be sensible to try attend voice lessons every week. Regular practice will help increase your focus and concentration, and as you become accustomed to singing in front of people (if you aren’t already) your confidence will improve, and so will your voice.
Lessons will usually range from about 30 minutes to over an hour, depending on the teacher and your experience. Newer students tend to tire more quickly at first, but as they progress their lesson times will increase as well.
Also, remember, everyone has a unique voice, so don’t be intimidated by the voices of others either. Just go in and do the best you can! Try to stay relaxed and don't forget to try and enjoy the experience.
Don’t forget, you are allowed to ask questions! Asking questions will show your instructor that you are truly interested in the class and singing - not just there to waste their time.
Sometimes, if you are too nervous it can interfere with how you sing, and you won’t sing to your full ability either. This can make it more difficult for the teacher to hear what your voice is capable of.
But don’t fear, at your first lesson most teachers usually ask you to do simple voice exercises and scales to give them a better idea of what you can do.
Otherwise, they might just ask you to prepare a song for them so that they can hear you sing something you enjoy and comfortable with, which should give them the information they need on how to proceed with your lessons.
Practice Makes Perfect
Try to remember that a vocal coach listens to signing every day, so don’t be shy to give it all you’ve got. Your new teacher will have no preconceptions about you or your singing voice. You walk in, no matter your level of experience, and your teacher will expect nothing more than what you are prepared to give.
If your instructor gives you a song to practice or breathing assignments for stamina and posture, you’ll benefit from doing them. Avoid falling behind in your classes. If you are passionate about singing, then your hard work and practice will pay off.
Try practicing every day, whether it be driving in your car or while you’re in the shower. Whatever works for you....
And never forget, singing is fun!
Whether you want to sing in a band or just in front of your mirror, don’t forget to enjoy the experience and have a good time.
You might find with regular practice, hard work, and some correct voice lessons, you improve so much that soon you don’t even recognize your own voice anymore!
About the Author: Brian Collins
I am a classically trained singer who believes that every instrument requires maintenance - including the voice! I started my professional music studies at the age of 8 and competed in and won several local and state piano competitions. I graduated with honors and earned my Bachelor of Music Education in 2003, and since then I have studied with famous musicians and teachers around the world. I have also completed hundreds and hundreds of voice lessons, exploring various methods, and attended countless seminars on voice coaching for all ages.