WHAT’S THE POINT OF VOICE LESSONS?
I’ve heard this question posed many times throughout my career. In conversation with other singers in my early career, or posed to me by parents whose teenaged kids wanted to study with me. It is a great question, and a logical one. Singing is in our DNA. For generations, we have sung songs to celebrate birthdays, pay homage to our countries, worship our gods, and soothe our babies. We know how to sing, innately, just like we know how to run. But think of it this way: If we are running to catch a bus, or away from danger, we are using pure instinct. It doesn’t require us to have perfect form, we just think “go fast”, and we go! However, if you want to run a marathon, or an Olympic sprint, you train. You make sure your form is right so you can run time and time again, and safely challenging your body to reach new levels of speed at race time. You want to streamline your form to get your body in shape for your sport.
The main reason you train in a sport, however, is to prevent injury. It is the same when you study singing. Just as in running, freak things beyond your control can occasionally go wrong (illness, abnormalities in the vocal chords, dehydration, etc), but the chance of injury lessens exponentially when you develop a healthy technique. When you are a professional singer, or even a passionate amateur, you use your voice a lot, sometimes multiple hours every day. If you start to build up tension, it can lead to injury that can stunt your career, or worse. The point is not to manipulate, or change the natural sound of the voice, but to free it, and to give the singer road map they can come back to.
There are other wonderful reasons to study your craft: It is rewarding to reach goals, fun to learn new music (and different languages, if you study classical voice), it challenges the mind, helps grow confidence, and lifts spirits. It can provide scholarships to college, and help you reach your dreams. Whether you are destined for Madison Square Garden, The Metropolitan Opera, or your local community theater, find a voice teacher in your community with a good reputation, and with whom you personally connect, and start building a technique that you can rely on. Happy singing!