What is your typical process for working with a new client?
Those seeking voice lessons and coaching will visit my website at SingingFLAT.com and click the Shop Lessons link. Once there they can select and pay for sessions. It's best to start off with a quick online consultation so that I can evaluate the singer's voice and get to know them a bit.
What should the customer know about your pricing (e.g., discounts, fees)? Yes I have a standard pricing system. Please visit my Artist Shop to see my rates and feel free to contact me with any questions you may have about the information you find there. I have a variety of rates and options that will work with the needs of any learner.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I received informal training through my experiences with music producers and managers who coached and mentored me over the years since I was about 16. I study my craft daily. I've been a singer, songwriter, recording artist, talent judge, contestant, manager, blogger, web radio show host ("Singing Flat With Sally b"), voice coach, vocal producer and voice actor....I've worked at about every angle of the music business. I gather my good and bad experiences in this business and turn them into training methods.
How did you get started doing this type of work?
I've been singing professionally (paid gigs, songwriting, recording studio projects) since I was 17 years old so that's about 30 years. Prior to that I also participated in talent shows. I've always enjoyed teaching children how to sing and perform. My lessons are based on my real life experiences as a professional singer and I've worked with some of the best professionals and mentors in the business. My vocal training methods and techniques were tested out on my 3 children, who are now young adult singers. My son is a music producer and my daughter is a developing recording artist. Some of my best clients are featured at VMPTalent.com.
What types of customers have you worked with?
Miss America contestants, Pop & R&b recording artists, actors, models and other entertainment industry professionals (Producers, Managers, etc). National recording artists I've worked with include Faith Evans, Bunny Debarge, Dru Hill member, Nokio and the legendary Kurtis Blow, just to name a few. I invite Grammy-winning and nominated artists on my podcast to discuss the music biz and vocal training. They're also featured as Honorary members of my website. I coach singers age 10 and up as long as they are able to pay attention for at least 30 to 40 minutes and commit to rehearsing the techniques they were taught between sessions.
Describe a recent project you are fond of. How long did it take?
My latest project is VMPTalent.com. It's a website that enables me to help my career-minded clients get noticed and to afford PR. I also offer EPK development and resources there. Additionally, I signed a management contract during summer 2017 to manage a child actor named Marcelina. Look her up at MarcelinaAbenes.com. She's my pride and joy! I love working with kids and adults who are serious about improving their talent.
What advice would you give a singer looking to hire a voice coach?
I'd tell them to do their research, look up their website, see testimonials, demonstrations of their work and don't be afraid to request a free consult. Know what it is you need and expect and then go find the voice coach that comes the closest to your expectation with all things considered (costs, distance, range of services, music style, teaching methods, success rate, etc).
What questions should customers think through before investing in voice lessons?
Know what you need and what you are willing and able to do. Most of this is directed towards career minded artists... There is no point in purchasing voice lessons if you won't be able to afford to continue as long as it takes. There is no point in committing to traveling to voice lessons that are 50 miles away if you can't do it every week. There is no point in investing in voice lessons to study a particular style if the voice coach has had no real experience performing or teaching that particular style. Some voice coaches can sing but they can't teach. Or they can teach but can't sing that well. You need a coach that can do BOTH and they should be able to demonstrate that on their website, Soundcloud account or somewhere that you can access proof. Consider all of these things before making a final decision. If you are a career minded performing artist then investing in a talent coach you can trust (such as myself) will be worth every dime and every minute you spend with them; however, I do urge you to not rely solely on your weekly sessions with the coach. Once you've found the right talent coach and mentor, you gotta put in the work between sessions on your own time as well. Don't expect magic to happen without practicing daily the techniques you were taught and helping yourself find opportunities to audition or perform. Each week my clients return better than the week before and I can always tell when they haven't practiced. You've selected a tough business. Nobody said this was easy but if you love it as I love it, you'll enjoy the ride and you'll want to put in the work. That's really the best way to fully benefit from your investment. Yours in music! - sb