The Truth About Singing Lessons (You’re Gonna Hate Me!)

Here’s the lowdown on singing lessons – they suck! Unless you get the correct ones. If you’ve ever played sports or learned any coordinated motor skills, you might feel like trying and UNLEARNING a wrong habit you learned from a shitty coach, lack of knowledge, whatever. But the point is, you’ve TAUGHT that action to your body and it WILL RESIST you as you try to reprogram yourself. Welcome to Suckville, populate it.

There is much an excellent teacher can do to help you improve your singing, while a bad teacher can seriously ruin your voice both in terms of learning bad habits and the actual physical damage that can occur to your vocal anatomy if you practice bad habits. .

However, I am going to make a bold statement: learning to sing cannot be taught. Not fundamentally. YES, your teacher can point out things that you are doing wrong, YES, your teacher can suggest a corrective course of action, but everything they tell you is also fundamentally inaccurate. Why? Because singing is invisible. Sense, it is primarily a kinesthetic ability.

“Kinesthetic” refers to the perception of your own body and its movements, both internal and external. In the same way that a musician develops his ability to hear musical details that the layman will not notice, a singer constantly strives to develop a “body map” or an interior, self-consistentrepresentation of your own physiology. This includes learning how to control muscle contractility, how to coordinate extremely fine muscle groups in the larynx, how to breathe correctly (a study in itself), and a million other things that no one else can see (not completely, anyway) but that YOU can learn to FEEL completely. It’s weird because we don’t normally think of this as one of our senses. We say that “touch” is a sense, but actually touch is only a small part of body consciousness.

So when a teacher gives you some kind of advice, you have to try it, see how your body interprets and implements that suggestion, TRANSLATE it into your body language so that it is internally consistent, and be willing to constantly review it as your body provides you with feedback. Your teacher cannot see this. Even a biofeedback machine can’t see this, but you have this incredibly sophisticated biofeedback device that tells you exactly what’s in your body, so learn how to operate it; it will take your singing to a completely different plane.

The best place to look for a vocal coach is in the music program at your local college or university. The reason for this is that many professional singers are on staff at a university to help supplement their income and give them some kind of job security. Your chances of finding a really decent vocal coach here, unlike on some flyer, are high.

When you go to meet your potential new vocal coach, you should ask him a lot of questions about his credentials, experience, and even ask him to sing for you. I can’t tell you how many singing teachers I see that when you ask them to sing something they sound like shit. Out of tune, poor tone of voice, bad diction, whatever. If you come across this type of teacher, stay away because they don’t know what they are doing. Trust your instincts. If they don’t sound very impressive, they just can’t help you. If they react defensively or evasively to your request for them to sing, tell them directly: I am not taking lessons with anyone until I hear them sing. Don’t say it like an idiot, but be direct; it’s your time and money and remember the saying “garbage in, garbage out.”

I want to leave you with a thought that my grappling coach likes to remind us: you can watch videos, come to class, learn from a teacher, blah blah blah, but ultimately the responsibility to do well falls on you. Only you can make it happen. Get a partner, practice one move a hundred times, then do it 100 more on the other side. Your coach or teacher could be world class, which of course is better than studying with a bum who doesn’t know shit, but I bet my money on the guy studying with a bum and I own the speed of his progress versus the guy. falling. $ 250 an hour with a Met singer for a decade where the student takes no action to get the results.

When you realize, not intellectually, but on a deep level that you literally feel in your stomach, that it is solely up to you to make it happen in everything you do in life (being good at singing is no exception, of course), that it’s the day. you will be free. Because as long as you count on others to achieve your successes for you, you will be angry, disappointed, and a failure.

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