They say practice makes perfect right? Well, this well-known phrase can be applied to a world of different affairs but it is certainly most applicable when learning a new language or picking up a guitar for the first time.
Before acknowledging where and how to find the best vocal coaches, we must begin to consider some of the fundamental principles in learning a new skill.
Some of us may be aware of Anders Ericsson and Malcolm Gladwell's book 'outliers' which focuses on the time required to master a new skill. Well, they continue to relate to what is called the 10,000-hour rule.
The studies and academic principles associated with their work acknowledge that any skill requires an element of consistency when it comes to the exertion of time and mastery.
If you don't want to be just good at something, but instead wish to achieve a level which can be recognized as world-class or mastery, the 10,000-hour rule should be implemented. This, therefore, means a significant level of hard work and dedication should be maintained within your area of expertise.
However, singing lessons aren't known for their cost-effectiveness. If we say that on average a one-hour singing lesson will set you back 40 dollars, and you planned to accumulate this time solely on singing lessons, this would cost you exactly 400,000 dollars - a sum of money unmanageable for most.
So, what could be a possible solution to this predicament? Well, given the rather astronomical fee previously mentioned, it is certain that the 10,000 hours of practice could not be under the instruction of someone else.
Yet, embarking upon your own singing practice without the help of a trained professional may potentially generate some bad habits - and this can be carefully avoided because of the number of trained coaches you will find across the United States.
The importance of regular singing lessons is paramount to an individual's development - so to illustrate this importance, we have identified a list of potential occurrences that can arise from not seeking help from a professional.
The Bad Habits Explained
A vocal coach will soon point out any negative signs they may recognize within your singing, and this can be physical habits to potentially damaging vocal techniques.
Bad Posture: Often overlooked, a slouched posture and singing whilst sat down reduces the range and overall volume whilst singing - so, if you want the best possible performance, ensure both back and neck are straight and your shoulders are aligned with your hips.
Inappropriate Breath Support: This can lead to poor recovery when preparing for a change in vocal melody, thus leading to an increased chance of not reaching the correct note and vocal depth.
Glottal Attacks: This relates to the level of harshness a singer approaches delivering their vocal melodies. If untrained, it can lead to damaging a singer's vocal folds.
Vocal Abuse: A common occurrence for singers who have received no instruction on how to sing. If undesirable techniques are continuously used during performance and practice sessions, this can lead to long term damage of the vocal cords which can then have a direct effect on a singer's range and overall quality of tone.
Although only four examples have been stated here, there are additional influences which can negatively impact an individual's singing voice.
Therefore, it is integral that beginners seek the assistance of a trained professional as they start to learn the various techniques and strategies to form healthy singing habits.
Additional Activities Set By Your Voice Coach
The first affirmation you must reach is if your vocal coach sets additional activities for you to practice as you wait for your next scheduled session.
Treat your vocal cords as if they are your biceps or abdominal muscles, the more you work on them, the stronger and more effective they become.
So, the more you take the time to practice, the quicker you will notice developments in the proficiency of your singing voice.
In the words of Spencer Welch, an internationally recognized vocal coach:
"If I don't practice one day, I know it. Two days, the critics know it. Three days, the public knows it."
Regularity is incredibly important when it comes to singing. We must ensure that our voice is constantly being used after singing lessons because it also helps to reinforce what has been learned.
Resources At Your Finger Tips
With modern-day technology being more accessible than it has ever previously been, it is important that when learning any new skill, we analyze what resources are freely available online.
Youtube is a fantastic learning tool and it has a number of accredited singing coaches who have their own channels and post regular suggestions and singing tips almost on a weekly basis.
Dr. Dan has a huge online following with millions of views along with thousands of online subscribers. On his channel, he posts frequent recommendations all with tips on how to develop vocal techniques. Also, find here additional information on the many benefits regular singing lessons can have on a performer.
Another popular voice coach using the same platform is Justin Stoney, the CEO of The New York Vocal Coaching Academy. Each of his videos constitutes over 100,000+ views and he is widely regarded as one of the top vocal coaches in the city.
He has worked with numerous artists which have featured on live television and his teaching has been featured on various publications from Esquire, Newsweek, NME and Fox News.
As you can see, there are a wealth of easily accessible resources which can be accessed online - all you truly need is a reliable internet connection and a comfortable place to practice.
Be aware of the style and approach your voice coach uses prior to seeking online resources.
This is because there is no one simple way to approach voice coaching and various coaches often use different and varying techniques. This can, therefore, create potential inflictions so again it is important to discuss the references you plan to use with your voice coach.
Expanding Your Network
There could be multiple reasons as to why someone may be looking for a qualified voice coach - one of those reasons could be because someone is looking to harness their love of music and turn it into a profession.
This does not necessarily mean the singer of a band or the next Lady Gaga, it could be a West End show or alternatively a voice-over specialist with aspirations of voicing animated characters.
As a musician, networking is certainly key in generating more contacts and interesting leads. This could also open doors to potential collaborations with other artists!
So, upon meeting someone with similar goals, identify their musical style and singing capacity and politely ask how they prepare for a performance - are they in-fact taking lessons? If so, it would be great to work together sometime!
Prioritizing Your Commitments
We all live incredibly busy lives these days; whether that may be working or professional commitments, it is a fast-paced century and sometimes it can certainly be a challenge to maintain an element of consistency within your vocation.
Prior to reaching out for vocal coaches, it is important to explore the various options prior to paying for a group of lessons. Once you have found your ideal vocal coach, it is recommended that a consistent day within a scheduled timeframe is arranged so external commitments do not interfere.
If you pay for ten lessons upfront and each lesson takes place on a Tuesday evening between 7-8pm, you will ensure that all other parts of your life are managed around that time. Missing pre-paid lessons can be a costly process so investing in a group of lessons is often effective because people don't like to waste their money.
Paying for lessons sporadically and not structuring specified dates will result in lessons being taken within varying durations. This can be harmful to the rate of development because if you prolong a period of time until your following lesson, you may well have forgotten the techniques meaning you will be spending future lessons covering the same learning principles.