Why I Regret Taking Vocal Lessons
When I first started learning how to sing, I put my voice in the hands of a number of different vocal coaches and took vocal lessons with some of the top singing teachers that were available at the time. I felt like they had ‘something’ that I simply didn’t possess, or they had discovered a secret that I simply wasn’t privy too – the ability to sing well. Over the course of many years learning how to sing and taking vocal lessons on and off, there was one important point I wish I had realised from day one, and this is the is the reason why I now regret taking vocal lessons.
My approach to vocal lessons was fairly similar to my approach to high school, honestly, it was kind of a lark and I thought that I would just get better at anything simply by taking a class in the subject – I had little understanding that the onus was actually on me to take my voice (and school – sorry Mum!) seriously and take it upon myself to absorb and implement what I was being taught without the attitude that I was an empty cup being filled by attending lessons, instead of the reality that I was an upside-down cup not willing or able to retain anything at all.
While not all of the vocal coaches I attended lessons with were really suited to my voice, and not every approach I tried was designed for how I wanted to sing, I was also very lucky to have a number of voice coaches who saw a small glimmer of hope in my voice and had patience enough to persist and encourage me to take my vocal health seriously. While I didn’t understand much of what was being taught in the classical lessons I took for some time, I realise now this wasn’t the material, but simply my comprehension of the concepts and approach that was being taught that was holding me back as a singer. I’ve now developed my whole approach to singing around the faith and insight these great vocal coaches saw in my voice, along with the practical understanding I’ve gained over almost 20 years of learning to sing while deciphering the more archaic and abstract concepts of singing such as Open Throat and Inhalare La Voce.
Now some 20 years down the track, I’ve taken alot of the classical approach that I was taught and actually spent time delving into the origin and intention behind techniques like Open Throat, Appoggio and even Vibrato – building my own understanding and approach to these important elements of great singing. I now sometimes wish that I was a beginner starting over again with my newfound understanding of how to learn rather than thinking that someone else, or a course, or a guru out there holds the key to my education and ability to sing.
What I Regret About Taking Singing Lessons
Singing is actually a very easy and intuitive process, but learning HOW to sing can often be a drawn out and confusing experience, not least of all because the way everyone learns is different, and the way that people teach is often very specific rather than catered towards their students. I guess this comes from a desire to teach “What worked for them” rather than what someone else might need.
The thing I regret most about taking singing lessons was that I simply wasn’t ready for the information and training that I was recieving. The process of learning to sing can and should be a streamlined and enjoyable process, not a drawn out and confusing one with so many learning curves. If I was a beginner singer now that had the resources available that are there for many singers today, my progress as a singer and learning curve would have been very different.
A great singer isn’t always a great coach
Along with the great classical coaching I received early on in my journey as a singer, I also spent some time being trained by local singers and friends that had great voices – but in hindsight had little understanding about what it took to be a great vocal coach. A great singer isn’t always a great vocal coach, but a great vocal coach should always be a great singer – this is why you need to question singing videos on YouTube that make you yearn for the ‘secrets’ that these gurus hold, instead of actually learning anything from their tutorials.
If I could start again as a beginner singer now, the process I would take would be very different to the one that I took many years ago, jumping between vocal methods and vocal coaches like they were going out of fashion without really understanding that I was actually the one causing my vocal issues. While I tried many different approaches to singing when I first started, the common thread in the approaches that I now understand to be legit are the fact that these coaches were really spectacular singers and had the kind of voices that I could only ever have dreamed of, and they were able to explain complex singing techniques like support or register release in a practical and simple manner.
Your vocal health is in your own hands
It’s important to get professional vocal coaching, and I’m obviously an advocate for guidance and training from a good singing teacher, but there is only so much even the best vocal coach in the world can do if you’re not ready to receive the information and training that they offer. The most important aspect of singing that beginner singers should be focusing on en masse is their foundation – your singing voice is only ever going to be as strong as the foundation it has been built upon.
A great place to start with your foundation is the free foundations short courses here at Bohemian Vocal Studio and the troubleshooting guides in the navigation bar to your right. When you feel you’re ready to receive the information and training that has made Bohemian Vocal Studio the premier online Rock singing studio providing professional voice coaching around the world, you can book a Skype Session and we’ll get started with your voice today – I promise you will have no regrets like I once did.
If you have any questions about vocal training, feel free to leave any feedback or questions below!
Kegan DeBoheme is Bohemian Vocal Studio’s resident vocal coach and voice expert. He teaches professional singing and voice technique to students all around the world and enjoys providing tutorials like this one on how to improve your voice.