As an alto for many years myself, I am a big advocate of voice lessons. Here’s a few reasons why…
Proper Technique makes for Longer Life (of the voice, that is)
When we are taught the proper way to sing, it is proven to prolong the life of your vocal chords. One of the reasons I believe this is so important for an alto is simply because of the natural low register of their voice. When we sing with a “heavier” sound, or even in those lower tones, it can be natural to force the vocal chords in the throat. Getting the pressure off the chords by switching to a “head voice” relieves the pressure on the chords and lengthens their viability. Proper technique makes sure we are not damaging the chords and causing that raspy sound that becomes natural for so many singers who are out there singing with improper technique. Raspy might sound good for a bit, but when it becomes permanent, that is not so appealing!
Voice Lessons Help Stretch the Range
Another benefit of voice lessons for an alto is to have a limited vocal range. Vocal range is something very important to an alto and any other singer because there is a wide vocal range in many many songs that are popular today, as well as many of the classics. If you have a five to eight note range, that just isn’t going to cut it. Vocalizing with a voice teacher will help you reach up to notes you might not have thought possible. When the top of your register is opened up, you will be amazed at how much more you are freed up to sing. So many more songs are parts will be available to you when you broaden your range as a singer.
A Voice Teacher Hears what You Don’t
When you are listening to yourself sing, you are hearing it from inside your head. While it is fairly accurate, the sound coming out of your mouth and heard by those outside your head will be a little different. A voice teacher hears these things and can help to correct the little flaws that come out. Whether it is a slight pitch problem (many altos can tend to be a little flat), or just the enunciation of the words, a voice teacher will be key to hearing these things and giving the singer pointers to correct the problem. Believe me, if everyone had a completely accurate view of their own voice, the first half of American Idol would never be on TV!
Voice Lessons Can Even Help with Harmonizing
A key thing for all altos to know is how to harmonize. As you are learning this skill, you need someone to help you. A voice teacher is great for that because they can even sing and give you that other voice to harmonize along with. A voice teacher can help you pick out the parts of a chord and train the ear. Having the ear and skill to harmonize will be key in your success as a benefit to your choir, group or duet. Work on the skill, and know the guidance of a voice teacher, even in this area, will be invaluable.