Getting Started: Guidelines for New Voice Students

Welcome to the Voice Studio of Abigail Rowland!

First Things First

Learning to sing is a complicated process, and everyone moves at his or her own pace.  It’s important to focus on the basics first, to build a good foundation for your future singing.  Consistent, careful practice is extremely important to reinforce the skills learned in your lessons.  Remember to be patient with yourself and have fun!

 

Materials
I recommend using a 3-ring binder to hold your music.  I will provide copies of vocal warm-ups and other basic exercises.  As we progress, I will suggest songbooks to purchase that will provide a good selection of material for your voice.  You may also bring in music of your choice to work on, as long as it is an appropriate vocal range and level of difficulty.


Repertoire
I want my students to enjoy the music they are studying.  However, not all songs that you love will be right for your voice, and singing the wrong type of music can be counterproductive and even harmful.  Singing too much in a range or style that is not comfortable/healthy for your individual voice should be avoided.  I always do my best to accommodate my students’ song requests, but sometimes I have to say no.

 

Vocal Warm-Ups and Exercises
Exercises and scales are not always fun or exciting, but they an important part of vocal training.  Building basic technique creates a solid foundation, which is crucial for beginning singers.  I begin each voice lesson with a few minutes of exercises to warm up and strengthen the voice.  Students should generally start their practice sessions with the same warm-ups we’ve been working on in lessons.


Practice
How much and how often you should practice depends on your age and experience level.  For beginning singers, I recommend no more than 20-30 minutes per day.  Over-exerting your voice can cause problems and even lead to permanent vocal damage.  Knowing how and what to practice also makes a big difference, and a few minutes of focused practice is much more beneficial than just singing through songs over and over again. And, last but certainly not least, ALWAYS WARM UP your voice before singing.

Listening to recordings of songs can be helpful when you are learning music.  However, it’s very important that you don’t try to imitate another singer’s sound!  Forcing your voice to sound like someone else’s voice will cause tension and fatigue.

 

Payment

Lessons are to be paid in advance at the beginning of the month, by cash or check.


Scheduling

I respect your time and ask that you show me the same consideration.  Please arrive on time for lessons and provide as much advance notice as possible when a lesson must be missed.

For lessons rescheduled at least 24 hours in advance, a make-up credit will be issued.  Missed lessons can be made up on an alternate day or by adding time to existing lessons.  Lessons missed without at least 24 hours’ notice (except in cases of sudden illness or emergency) are forfeit.

 

My Teaching Philosophy

I believe that anyone can learn to sing, with hard work and the right training.  Some singers are naturally gifted, and the basics come easy to them.  Others have to work much harder, but through that hard work they learn valuable skills.  I expect my students to always do their best and to complete their weekly assignments.  Remember: there is no substitute for hard work and dedicated practice.


My goal is to help all of my students learn healthy vocal technique while discovering their own unique voice and style. I believe it is important to tailor my approach to each individual student’s background and goals, and I urge all my students to share any questions or concerns that might arise.

 

I am looking forward to making music with you!

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