Any questions? Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about singing lessons.
If you have any questions which aren’t answered here, please use the comment box at the bottom of the page to ask!
Are you still teaching during the Covid-19 pandemic?
Yes! Lessons are available online via Zoom, or you can now book face-to-face lessons if you are local to Edinburgh. The studio has been changed slightly to ensure social distancing, but no face coverings are required.
Can I take singing lessons online?
Absolutely. Online music lessons can work very well for many students. If you don’t live locally in Edinburgh/Midlothian, you can sign up for lessons via Zoom.
Why should I start taking singing lessons when I’ve never taken music lessons before?
Everyone can benefit from singing lessons. While not everyone will go on to have a career using their singing voice, or indeed in music at all, learning to sing brings a range of other benefits. Singing can help increase confidence, making it less daunting to face that big presentation at work. Lessons will also help you to keep your voice healthy, meaning less of that hoarse feeling, whether you’re a lifeguard or a teacher. Studying singing also provides very tangible rewards, whether it’s learning that song you’ve always loved, or receiving your first exam certificate.
I already learn an instrument. How can singing lessons help me?
Singing lessons are a great boost to general musicianship for instrumentalists. I use lots of practical exercises to help students of all ability levels with music reading and aural skills. If aural tests and sight-reading fill you with dread, singing lessons can help. Learning to perform as a singer can also help to improve your performance as a musician. Coming from a background in theatre, I use a range of drama games and techniques to help students connect to their repertoire in ways which can easily be transferred to instrumental music.
Do you offer exams in singing?
I offer exams in singing and music theory. I usually submit students for classical singing exams through Trinity College London and musical theatre exams through LCM. I find the Trinity theory syllabus is much more logical and progresses better than other boards, so I usually put students through their Theory exams. I have also submitted students through ABRSM for theory and practical exams. As an alternative to the grade 5 theory requirement for ABRSM’s higher grades, I also prepare students for practical musicianship exams. You can find out more about the exams I offer here.
I don’t want to take exams, is that ok?
Absolutely! There’s no requirement to take exams, and it won’t stop you from progressing really well if you don’t do them.
In general, I do encourage students to take exams, as they provide clear markers of your progress. I have chosen the exam boards I use because they provide accessible, flexible qualifications that work well for all ages. The reward of passing formal tests is also unequalled!
For some students, time constraints are a problem, and for others, exams can be too daunting. In recent years, video submission exams provide a great alternative for those who can’t or don’t want to do a live in-person exam.
My eight-year-old really enjoys singing. Can s/he take lessons?
Yes! Singing is something anyone of any age can enjoy.
With younger pupils, lessons focus on play-based musicianship and simple, age-appropriate repertoire from across a range of styles. Activities are, as in all my lessons, tailored to the age, ability and personality of the student.
What styles of singing do you teach?
In the early stages, good singing technique is more or less the same no matter what genre you intend to focus on later on. Beginners will be given the chance to sing a range of music including folk songs, art songs and songs from the shows. Even up to diploma level, there is no requirement to specialise and many of my students succeed in both classical and musical theatre exams.
At the more advanced level, I teach primarily classical and musical theatre repertoire, rather than pop and rock, folk or jazz. If you have a serious interest in these areas, I will do my best to recommend a teacher who specialises in these styles.
Can you teach me to sing like Adele / Kristen Chenoweth / Pavarotti?
In a word, no, and I wouldn’t want to even if I could. Part of discovering singing is discovering your own unique and beautiful sound. Everyone’s voice is different (even if we do sound like our parents on the phone sometimes…) and so I don’t want to teach you to sing like Adele. I want to teach you to sing like you!
Do I have to learn to read music as part of learning to sing?
If I say yes, it sounds dull, right? Not with me! Reading music is just as important for singers as instrumentalists, so we will explore music notation through a creative and fun programme of musicianship as part of our lessons.
Do you offer gift vouchers for a block of singing lessons?
I’m sorry to say I don’t offer gift vouchers. My schedule is very full so the recipient could easily be waiting several months to find a suitable slot for them. Short term bookings are also more difficult to accommodate. I also believe that singing is a long-term commitment and it is very difficult to improve someone’s skills in any meaningful way over a short period of 6 or 8 weeks, let alone in two or three sessions.
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