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#1
Old 01-10-2006, 03:52 PM
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Minneapolis
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Anyone taken singing lessons as an adult?

I just had a brief evaluation with a local music school to find a voice coach today. They asked my learning style, my musical genre interests, and previous experience and are going to get back to me with a compatible teacher. I'm 32 years old now and hoping that "I'm never too old to learn" so I'm wondering if anyone else started learning to sing as an adult?
#2
Old 01-10-2006, 03:53 PM
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I'm not, but I'd really like to. Could you shoot me an email and tell me a little bit more about where you're going? Looks like we live in the same area.
#3
Old 01-10-2006, 03:54 PM
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Technically, not an adult, but...

I did mine for a mostly classical repetoire of songs. The teacher was really sweet and patient, and we mostly did vocal workouts--there'll be scales, breathing exercises, articulation--and practiced the arias.

La-aaa!...

#4
Old 01-10-2006, 03:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beadalin
I'm not, but I'd really like to. Could you shoot me an email and tell me a little bit more about where you're going? Looks like we live in the same area.
I've got a friend who's a choir teacher over at Eagan HS, he recommended MacPhail. Here's a link to some more info. They're right over in downtown Minneapolis by Buca's.
#5
Old 01-10-2006, 04:10 PM
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Location: Sydney, NSW, Australia
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Yes. I took lessons for about 5 years in the 1990s and I've recently started taking them again to brush up my technique a bit. I had never had singing lessons as a child.
#6
Old 01-10-2006, 04:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cunctator
Yes. I took lessons for about 5 years in the 1990s and I've recently started taking them again to brush up my technique a bit. I had never had singing lessons as a child.
Any advice you can offer or experiences/hurdles you've had?
#7
Old 01-10-2006, 05:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stpauler
Any advice you can offer or experiences/hurdles you've had?
I suppose my main pieces of advice would be:
- to get a good teacher;
- to get clear up front with your teacher what it is you're trying to achieve;
- to be realistic about how much time you're prepared to devote to it; and
- to remember that if you want to get reasonably serious about the whole thing you'll need to study at least basic music theory too.

The good teacher bit is obvious I know, but very important all the same. You have to be comfortable with the techniques that your singing teacher is teaching you and what he's doing to your voice. From what I've seen, even though experts have been studying the human vocal physiology for years, there still doesn't seem to be much consensus among singing teachers about "how it's best done". I've heard different teachers describe completely contradictory techniques. It's easy for a bad teacher to ruin your voice. So get someone you like and with whom you feel comfortable. I sing in a large symphonic choir here in Sydney, so it's not hard to get advice and recommendations from other singers. If you've already been dealing with a local music school or Conservatorium then you should be fine stpauler. Another option would be to contact any large choral societies in your neighbourhood and see whether they can recommend a teacher.

Secondly, be clear about what you're trying to achieve and what sort of music you're likely to be singing. Do you just want the satisfaction of having a better voice? Do you want to be able to join the local church choir, or are you looking to get work as a professional entertainer? Is it just for fun so that you'll sound better at the local karaoke evenings? Have you suddenly discovered a voice that you never knew you had and you're intent on breaking into the world of grand opera? Any teacher will need to know these sorts of parameters in order to construct a satisfactory learning regime.

Finally, like anything else, improving your singing voice requires practice. The more you practise, the better you'll get. Are you prepared to spend an hour a day practising? More? Less? Discuss this with your teacher up front.

My own experience: I come from a totally non-musical family. I didn't really discover that I had a good singing voice until later in life. I sang in a rather desultory way as a boy soprano at school but I was never really any good. When my voice broke I became a tenor. One day at mass in the local church I was singing along during one of the hymns. The woman next to me leant over after mass and told me that she was a singing teacher and that she thought my voice had "promise". She offered to give me some free lessons and suggested that I join the church choir. I did and took her up on the lessons as well. She introduced me to the basics of singing technique and then I started taking "proper" lessons with her. My voice improved tremendously very quickly to the extent that I was able to successfully audition for the choir in which I currently sing. After a while she suggested that I move onto another, more advanced teacher. I did, but I didn't like the new one, who seemed intent on changing the basic quality of my voice, rather than improving the way I used what I already had. We soon parted company. I've since found a third teacher who I think is very good. I do a lot of singing with the choir as well as reasonably regular gigs with small semi-professional groups. I can't imagine my life without singing in it.
#8
Old 01-10-2006, 05:38 PM
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Yes. I was asked to sing at a friend's wedding, several years ago, and took about 6 months of lessons in preparation. Thinking of taking them up again sometime too.
#9
Old 01-10-2006, 06:01 PM
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I had singing lessons for six months, once a week, but I wasn't willing to put in practice time. During my lessons, I always watched my teachers toes. (He wore socks) If they cringed, I knew I was off key.

I stopped singing after those six months. Years later, a friend of mine who makes radio-commercials for a living, asked me to be his "voice". I agreed. I've now done that for over a year, and we have great fun taping the commercials and infomercials. It is a kind of " melodious voice-acting" that gets me immediate results. I recommend everyone in this thread with good voices to enroll in a voice-casting agency.

But my fiancÚ has a lovely (singing) voice, and I'd love to take up singing again, with him in the next few years.
#10
Old 01-10-2006, 07:37 PM
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I've been toying with the idea of taking singing lessons. The reason: My singing voice sucks, but I love music and I'd love to be able to sing.

I had a coworker who was a semi-professional singer (along with his wife). They even tried out for American Idol when the auditions came to our city. I picked his brain about learning to sing, and here's what I learned:

1) You can learn to sing well as an adult, but like playing the violin, you'll probably never become a true virtuoso unless you've been studying since childhood. Voice training involves learning to control and exercise many different muscles in your throat and chest that you normally don't use very often, and if you haven't developed good habits as a child, it can be nearly impossible to "un-ruin" your voice as an adult.

2) Men have it way harder than women. (I think it's a puberty thing.)

3) Some people are just born with bad singing voices, and there's not much that can be done to change it. With hard work they can learn to disguise the uglier facets of their voice and sing passably well (think Kevin Kline in "De-Lovely"), but there are limits. On the plus side, some really great musicians have technically bad voices (Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Neil Young, Jimi Hendrix, Mick Jagger), but it didn't stop them from achieving great musical success.

4) Conversely, some people have naturally beautiful singing voices and can learn to sing very will in a short period of time. Hope you're one of them.

5) And the obvious: find a good teacher. Most will be willing to work with you whether you sound like Pavarotti or a dying horse. It's all money in their pocket, and some of them enjoy a good challenge, as long as you're willing to do your share of the work.
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