Updated: Aug 17, 2019
It has been my experience after training the voices of singers of all ages since 2004, that what they want to learn usually depends on their singing experience and their goals. I'll begin by presenting the top four things singers don't usually identify as an issue when they first sign up for lessons.
The number one challenge I see with singers across the board, whether they are experienced or not is poor pitch. Thing about pitch is that even with the most wonderful singing voice a singer can still be pitchy. Experienced singers with poor pitch typically hide their dirty little secret by only singing songs within their comfort zone. Songs they've memorized the melody to. Usually the singer secretly knows they have limited vocal abilities and will mention it when they hire me but still often I get singers who don't have a clue until after they meet with me and even after I point it out they are still in denial until I prove my point in a recording of their voice or challenge them to sing a song that I select. Usually the first dead giveaway for me is when they arrive thinking they'll be singing their song acappella but then I have the instrumental version ready for them to sing to. They'll typically inform me that they can sing it better without the music. Sometimes it's the other way around. I evaluate the singer singing with and without music and then I have them do my simple pitch tests. I've had singers burst out in tears during their session with me once they are presented with evidence. Pitchy singing is a huge distraction that will be noticed by an audience, industry professionals during an audition or by producers during a studio recording session. It's best to invest in correcting it right away.
The other thing singers typically fail to realize until after their first session with me is that they have an issue with enunciation. Learning how to shape the sound to produce a clearer singing or speaking voice is extremely necessary for singers, rappers, public speakers and actors. For any genre of singing such as gospel, jazz, a broadway musical, classical, country or rap where the main agenda is to communicate a message or story, learning proper enunciation techniques is a MUST.
They Just Need A Sweeter Sound
Often all the singer needs to add to their already great voice is a more dynamic sound. I call this adding sugar. Learning to control the sound and volume of the voice during a performance is everything! I often tell singers that this is how you bring emotion and feelings to the melody of a song and win over more fans. You set the tone for your performance by doing this. For me to teach this involves showing the singer how to be in touch with the different human emotions (sadness, anger, joy, inspiration) and then how to apply various vocal techniques in a way that makes the song more relatable to their listeners. If you do this well, it won't matter what language you sing in because the sound of your passionate voice is felt by everyone. As humans it's much easier to understand and feel emotion than it is to learn a foreign language. It's actually one of my favorite things to teach.
Personal Challenges Unrelated To Singing
Often I get singers who have no career goals. They just want to take singing lessons because they love to sing or because it helps them overcome challenges that have nothing to do with singing such as anxiety and depression. Sometimes even those with career goals realize during their vocal session that they have a deeper and more personal issue to address. I can't tell you how often I've had a client poor out their hearts, break out in tears and express their feelings about personal life challenges during a session. Often they've needed that release for so long and it really helps to get it out and then learn to redirect those feelings through song. That's how I know God is using me for a purpose much greater than I originally thought.
Other Things Singers Want To Learn Include:
How to extend their range.
How to belt.
How to breath properly.
How to embellish with adlibs, runs and riffs.
How to overcome stage fright.
How to transition between false and full voice.
How to perform their song live.
How to vibrato.
How to sing with confidence.
If I've left anything off this list please feel free to share in the comment box. To hire me please visit SingingFlat.com. That's all for now.
Yours in music - Sally b.