Teens in Seattle often want to follow in the footsteps of the famous singers that have gotten their musical start in the Emerald City. With Seattle singing idols spanning across all genres such as jazz great Ray Charles, rock legend Chris Cornell, country star Brandie Carslile, and grunge icon Kurt Cobain, it’s easy to find inspiration no matter what type of music inspires your teen! Taking private voice lessons in Seattle is one of the quickest ways to learn how to sing the right way and to help your teen realize their dream. However, with today’s teens breakneck schedules it’s sometimes hard to keep private lessons on the calendar. The good news is that the focus for any good music teacher is to pass on the tools required for their students to eventually shift to teaching themselves new music. Once a vocal student has mastered the key skills for controlling their voice as their instrument they will be ready to healthily tackle any new piece of music that comes their way. Here are seven points you want to make sure your teen has mastered before they retire vocal lessons from their schedules.
Don’t Forget to Breathe!
The number one skill singers need to master is their breath. Seattle voice teachers will teach their students how to breathe horizontally as opposed to using the vertical breath that is most commonly used in everyday life. Every vocal lesson will include breathing exercises to strengthen and increase the breath as well as to strengthen the abdominal muscles that control horizontal breathing. When the breath is mastered the student is able to connect their voice to their core muscles and to control the airflow that allows them to push through long phrases and into new dynamic ranges. This is important because breathing is one of the three fundamental principles to singing.
When speaking of music lessons we are referring to learning to play an instrument. But what about vocal lessons? In vocal lessons, the body is your instrument and needs to be cared for as such. Although everyone can sing, it’s important to note that learning to care for the body as your instrument is an important concept to vocal lessons. Vocal students will learn how to stretch and hold their bodies from head to toe in order to get the best possible sound they can from their voices.
Head, Face, Chest, and Tone!
An important concept that all vocal students need to learn is how to allow sound to resonate in different points in their bodies. Just as the body of an acoustic guitar vibrates to amplify the rich tones produced from vibrating guitar strings, our bodies act as points of resonance for the sound vibrating from our vocal chords. In vocal lessons a student will master which pitches will vibrate in either their head, face, or chest as well as locating the sweetest spots of resonance to produce the tone they desire.
A very common misconception is that it takes a lot of effort for singers to reach for those big bold notes. Relaxing into your singing is probably one of the most important concepts taught through vocal lessons as it is how singers protect themselves from vocal strain and voice injuries. Vocal teachers will show their students exercises to relax the tissues used for singing, how to keep them relaxed during a performance, and how to relax into those hard to reach notes instead of straining to reach for them as many novice singers do.
Every Good Boy Does Fine!
One thing that really sets apart formally trained vocalists from untrained singers is their understanding of basic music theory. Building up a student’s ability to read notes, rhythms, and other music annotations from sheet music is a huge focus for vocal teachers. These are skills that translate easily into every other instrument since music theory is universal and allows a singer to communicate and work with musicians of all types.
Vocalists who have had good ear training are able to match pitches more easily or to recognize intervals allowing them to find harmony lines. Having “good ears” is actually a skill that music teachers train their students in. Which is a good thing because not everyone is born with that ability!
One of the best skills a teen can learn from vocal lessons is self-confidence. Having the self-assurance that they have a voice that should be heard is a skill that goes well beyond a music lesson. Vocal lessons and recitals provide the platform for a teen to be heard and good teachers are constantly setting achievable goals with students to boost their sense of self confidence.
Keep these concepts in mind before your teen decides to lay to rest their private music lesson experience. By ensuring that these concepts are mastered during your child’s youth you are helping them to protect their vocal health and to fill their toolbelt with the skills necessary to enjoy singing over the course of their entire lifetime. Whether they end up following in their idols footsteps onto historic Seattle stages like Benaroya Hall, Columbia City Theater, Central Saloon, or even just onto their neighborhood highschool auditorium they can master the vocal skills now that will bring them a lifetime of enjoyment.
If your child is interested in taking up music lessons, we could help set you up with a wide array of teachers. They can either come to your home to teach or can also provide online music lessons. Our virtual music lessons are taught by local music teachers who plan their lessons to suit your child.
By Sandi Fernandez