The best way to improve the sound quality of your voice is to take voice lessons. First, you have to set your musical goals. Why do you want to sing? Do you need it for a play in your school, or do you want to become a professional? Will you eventually be a music instructor yourself? Do you just want to improve certain aspects of your singing like breath support and control?
Next, you have to choose the right teacher for you whose expertise matches your musical needs and desires. This is crucial so that your expectations are met and success will be made easier. A good voice teacher will be easy to find: Ask your friends if they know anyone, look it up in your Local Directory, search up the internet. There are also bulletin boards in music stores that keep lists of music teachers and where some instructors themselves post their contact information. Some of them might even belong to the music store’s staff.
Music departments in universities and colleges can also help you in your search. One requirement in some universities for advanced students to finally complete their degree is to have teaching experience. If you choose to be their private student, you will learn while helping them out. Professors also accept private students but since they already have the experience, they most probably will charge a higher fee.
When talking to your instructor for the first time, be ready for questions about your goals and past experiences in music. You should also prepare some questions for him/her regarding their methods in teaching, expectations like practice time and whether you will be asked to have a recital, fees and his/her own qualifications.
If you seem to have a good fit, you can now schedule your first ever lesson. Be sure to ask your teacher the things that you need to bring. Minimum, it will be a notebook and pencil. You may also be asked to show examples of the songs you have sung before or those that you would want to sing and a recording device to record your session.
The first few voice lessons you will have with your teacher is almost like a job interview wherein he/she will get to know the extent of your singing abilities. You may be asked to sing your favorite song while your teacher observes your breathing and posture. You will also get to vocalize using different vocal exercises to get your resonance and range. Of course, the teacher will share his/her feedback about your strengths and points of improvement. An instructor must always be sympathetic and not too critical because he/she was also in your position before, a student.
Most voice lessons follow a pattern after the first few lessons. Usually it starts with a review, your progress and then tips on how to improve on your weak points. You should have several exercises to choose from in case you find a particular exercise a bit difficult.
After the vocalization or warm-up exercises, you should be working on one song or more for the rest of the class time. You and your teacher should agree on the songs that you will work on because the teacher should respect your choices. You, however, should also understand and consider your teacher’s knowledge and experience when he/she has suggested materials.
Learning a new song will follow a similar process for all types of materials. Initially, you will be asked to sing the melody on a single syllable like “va” or “loo” for you to remember it. The lip roll or buzz, a sound produced by the vibration of puckered lips, can also be used to replace words in the song’s melody to improve breath support. Songs will multiple verses and refrain will be tackled one part at a time.
Once you are comfortable with this, you will then begin to sing the song using the actual lyrics and will start working on the dynamics (loudness and softness), right emotions to convey and diction.
For some classes, you will get to have classmates. This is a chance for you to enjoy your lessons more because you know there are other people who may be experiencing the same struggles as you in singing.
A lot of teachers hold recitals for their student. This will be a demonstration of all the things you have learned in class and also a way for you to deal with stage fright. Don’t worry though, you’ll be fine.
With a good teacher, you can definitely go a long way in your singing career.