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Find an Affordable Voice Teacher
So, you are interested in taking voice lessons. But where do you look for a good teacher? Better yet, how do you find a good teacher that is also affordable?
If you are thinking about taking voice lessons, there are key factors to take into consideration:
- Affordable and within your spending budget
- Whether or not you want private or group lessons (this will make a big difference in the cost)
- What type of lessons you are looking to take
- What area of voice training do you want to improve on
- Location (are you willing to travel outside your local area)
With those points to consider, the first thing you'll want to do is to write down answers to those points or questions. By doing so, this will help you focus on how to find a good affordable teacher, what type of lessons you will need/want, your ultimate goal(s), and stay within your budget.
If you are thinking about private voice instruction, there is one word that you will need to remember, "Private."
Private instruction usually refers to a one on one session with the teacher. You are not sharing his/her time with anyone else. Their time paid for is totally focused on your training and goals. Private lessons will usually run for a half hour for children and beginners and an hour for older students and advanced. Training for a specific performance can run anywhere from an hour to 3 hours. This is usually for advanced students or professionals.
With this information in mind, is it still possible to find an affordable teacher? The answer is yes, however that question is answered in two parts:
- What you consider "affordable" is dependent upon your own personal budget, and
- Depends on the the experience of the instructor, the time you will need for training, and how much you want to invest in vocal training.
What are your goals?
The first thing you want to establish are your short and long term goals for improving your voice.
Are you taking lessons to generally learn how to sing? Do you already know how to sing but want to improve in a certain area, such as developing vibrato, or increasing your range? Are you a vocalist who wants to improve their performance level? Are you preparing for an audition or competition? Are the lessons for an adult or a child. These are added concerns you will need to address as you search for your teacher.
Finding the Right Teacher
As a vocal trainer for over 30 years, I have trained all levels of vocalists: beginners, children, performers, actors, adults, advanced, groups, etc. The most important thing as a teacher is to know exactly what the student/client wants, their vocal needs and abilities, and what their goals are. Once I have determined what training the student will need, I will put together a lesson plan with the necessary charges.
I never have any hidden costs or agendas, my time is dedicated to my client, and I always make sure they walk away from their session happy and looking forward to the next.
Adam Cartwright Gives Singing Lessons!
A Teacher's Qualifications
Vocal teachers/trainers come with all levels of experience. When searching for a teacher, consider the following criteria to help you make your decision:
- Years of experience (Should have at least 2 years of vocal training under the mentorship of an accomplished vocal trainer or music program from an accredited school)
- Credentials and accomplishments (where credentials are lacking, experience and accomplishments should make up for)
- Attention to detail
- You feel satisfied after each lesson
- Are they an apprentice from a well known vocal program such as Seth Riggs or Audrey Hunt?
- Are they trained specifically for children?
- Have they been recommended by others who are familiar with their teaching methods?
Every vocal trainer will and should have credentials that they can provide to you as well as letters of recommendations from colleagues, mentors, and anyone who they studied with.
Don't just rely on word of mouth or the teacher's themselves stating what they have studied or have done.
You will also need to be careful of anyone who has claimed to have studied under an apprentice program. Be sure they have the credentials to back it up.
In Hawaii, I had a clientele of approximately 85 students per week, which 75% of them were children. I had a perspective client bring her daughter to me for private instruction and in my initial consultation with the mother and daughter, I noticed a raspiness in the daughters voice.
The mother stated that it developed while taking lessons from another teacher on the island who claimed to have studied under the Seth Riggs apprentice program. However, after doing much research on this teacher, I discovered that the teacher never studied under the Seth Riggs program and was using her own "so-called" method to train children. To make it worse, she was proclaiming her apprenticeship with Seth Riggs and ruining his reputation that he spent years developing and mastering. And to top it off, the horrific part to all of this is that she was permanently damaging the vocal cords of these young children who were going to her for what they thought was professional training.
Needless to say, she was reported and was ordered to stop teaching. I sent the young girl to my ENT (Ears-Nose-Throat) specialist and he discovered that her cords were scarred from inappropriate use from this teacher's so-called methods.
What type of instruction are you looking for?
Vocal instruction is offered in so many different ways; Private, group, twosome, after school program, community programs, specialty children, and professional.
- Private: One on one instruction between the teacher and student. Entire lesson should be focused on the students training and goals. Private lessons can run anywhere from a 1/2 hour session to a 2 hour session. Children will usually be scheduled for a 1/2 hour because of their short attention span and to keep the lessons cost effective for the parents.
- Group lessons will usually consist of 4-6 students. Each session is at least an hour and sometimes will run for 1 1/2 - 2 hours. This still allows the teacher to spend quality time with the group as a whole and then work with each student for a 15 minutes on areas that need strengthening.
- Twosome Session are good if you have 2 people in the same family who are taking lessons at the same time. It's cost effective for those who are paying for the lessons. However, be careful not to schedule a child and an adult together as the training will be entirely different. Twosome lessons usually run 1 hour.
- After school programs are great for kids who have nothing to do in the afternoon. They provide a social outlet as well as learning how to sing and perform. These programs will usually run for 2 hours and most of the time are free. Sometimes there will be a small fee for a 6 week program, etc. to help offset the cost of the instructor.
- Community based programs offer a wide range of vocal programs for adults from classes to joining a community chorale. Fees are nominal and classes usually run around 2 hours.
How far should you travel for vocal lessons?
Traveling to a teacher of your choice shouldn't really be an issue. If your concern is mileage and time, then look for a teacher near you, but don't settle just because the teacher lives right around the corner. You will be loosing money in the long run if you choose a teacher who is less expensive but doesn't have the experience you were looking for.
While living in Hawaii, I would have students drive from one end of the island (about an hour) for a lesson and as far as flying over from Oahu. Many times I would fly to the outer islands and teach several students with the 3 days I would spend on their island. This way I save money in traveling expenses.
Great Online Vocal Programs and Accessories
Another alternative when a good vocal teacher is not close enough or not within your budget is to purchase a reputable vocal program on Cd's or DVD's. But, once again, you must do some reading on the program and the instructor to make sure it is what you want and need. A good program will have a biography on the instructor along with accreditation. The program(s) should have a synopsis of what the program is about and what it can offer you and how it will help you reach your goals. They should also state whether or not the program is for beginner, intermediate, or advanced students. It should also stipulate if the program is designed for children or adults.
The Bottom Line
When making a final decision on a professional vocal trainer, always keep in mind that you will "get what you pay for." I always encourage those who are seeking training for their children to use a trainer who specializes in children's voices as the training is far different than that of an adult. Also, those who are trained in teaching children have a greater knowledge in a child's attention span, how to deal with their personalities as well as giving the child encouragement to help build their confidence.
An adult who is learning how to sing and has never had any lessons can easily be trained by a teacher who is fresh out of an apprentice program or school as this will be great experience for the teacher to gain while building his/her clientele and reputation. The teacher's cost will (and should be) anywhere from $10 - $25 per half hour session. As their clientele and experience increases, so will their rates.
Professional trainers who have many credentials, recommendations, and experience, can charge anywhere from $25 - $500 a session. The time needed and cost will also be determined on what the student is preparing for and the requirements that will be needed to attain their goal.
I have over 30 years of teaching experience specializing in children's voices, performers, and theatre. My rates for these areas are determined on my clients age, if they are preparing for a show, competition, or audition, as well as how much time would be required. Although I teach basic vocalizing techniques, I do not specialize in classical or opera style singing and would never claim to, therefore, those who come to me for that type of singing style would be recommended to a teacher who does specialize in that area, and in turn, that teacher would send me students who are searching for someone who can prepare them in the areas I specialize in.
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About the Author
Lisa has directed and acted in musical theatre for nearly 30 years. Her musical upbringing allowed her to pursue her career in teaching and directing and continues to direct shows today. As the owner of 2 online Home Décor sites, Lisa’s passion for Rustic Living all begins with her love for the home, outdoors, and her many hobbies. Lisa loves to laugh, and she share’s that love through her comedic hubs centered on her MOM. Lisa’s passions include writing, directing, acting, photography, singing, cooking, crafts, gardening, and home improvement, including decorating. Lisa also writes under her penned name, Elizabeth Rayen.
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