Having run a studio for 35 years, which has seen thousands of up and coming artists passing through its doors, there is a rather sad scenario we’ve seen time and time again. A band or artists spends a fortune on rehearsals, does the circuit, gets a following and gets a deal. They do some recordings and then go out on tour. All is going well until disaster strikes. The singer loses their voice and all of a sudden the show grinds to a halt. It is only when it is too late that the singer realises they’ve damaged their vocal cords and on occasion, permanently scuppered their career. So the question is…
“Should you be considering vocal coaching or singing lessons?”
Many artists, especially on the indie scene have completely misguided fear of singing lessons, thinking they’ll lose their edge if they learn how to control their voice properly.
The thing to consider is this
When you select an internet provider, do you deliberately select one with low bandwidth because it would make you “keep your edge?”. A good vocal coach will prepare you for a career as a professional artists. This will protect your voice and make sure that you don’t damage it. It will show you the boundaries within which you can work and give you a few more tools in your box of tricks. It is up to you to decide how those tools are used. Such basic things as exercises to warm up your vocal cords are vital tools of the trade. Neglect these basics and you may find that your career is far shorter than it need be.
You will also find that a good vocal coach will help you to contribute far more artistically to the project you are working on. By understanding what you can do with your voice and how you can get the most out of it, you will be able to ensure that you give a great performance every time and when you are writing songs, you can write them in such a way as to get the very best out of the song and your contribution.
A good example of this was a talented singer I worked with a few years ago. She had been working with another band and although she had a beautiful voice, she found she couldn’t deliver the goods for the songs the guitarist was writing. She was on the verge of giving up singing altogether when I heard her singing. We had a chat and as I was on the lookout for a good singer, I hooked her up with a vocal coach I knew and asked for her to give me her opinion. After a couple of lessons, we had a discussion. We were both perplexed as to the problem, as she was a superb singer. We asked the singer to bring a recording, so we could see what the problem was. When the recording was played, the vocal coach immediately picked up the problem. The songs were in too low a key and were not written to the strengths of her voice. As I had an acoustic guitar, we tried the songs in a higher key and immediately the song sounded great. The singer simply hadn’t realised. I’d paid for the first couple of lessons out of band funds, but she ended up having them under her own steam for a year. She said that it was the best money she ever spent and she found that she was able to stretch herself far more. She also started writing songs as she had the confidence to get her point across.
We started the article by asking “should you consider vocal coaching?” The simple answer is that…
“anyone who is considering a career, at any level, in music, where they sing should have some level of tuition, as a very minimum to protect their voice and ensure that they don’t damage their vocal cords.”