Below is information that applies for everybody, as well as students who have specific needs. Choose what is right for you:
For beginners/ hobbyists/ first timers (but anybody might find this interesting!)
For beginners/ hobbyists/ first timers
The first lesson
I meet with students for private voice lessons on a weekly basis in my home studio in Brooklyn. These are private lessons, and therefore tailored to each student’s level and goals.
In the beginning of our first lesson I will ask you to sing a bit from a song you know well. This is not an audition! I just want to hear your voice so I’ll know where we should start.
In the first half of the lesson we will do breathing and vocal exercises. Our goal is to develop awareness and control of the different parts of our body, and learn how to use it as if it was an instrument. We’ll try different things with our breathing, posture, pronunciation and muscles and see how actions change the way we produce our voice.
In the second half of the lesson we will work on performing a song. First we will learn the music and lyrics and spend some time getting comfortable with our chosen song. Then we will try to implement the technique we worked on during the first half of the lesson. This is, of course, a process. During the first lesson students usually start to develop some awareness of their voice, but being able to control it consistently takes time and practice. Be focused and patient, spend some time practicing at home and allow some time for the new information and habits to “sink in”.
What to bring
Bring yourself- if possible, well rested and focused. Avoid heavy meals right before the lesson.
Bring a recorder if you can. Recording the lessons regularly makes practicing much easier and more efficient!
How to practice
Try to find a time and place when you have a quiet environment, and you are able to concentrate. Work with the recording of the lesson- first go through the exercises, and try to implement the comments we talked about during the lesson. Work slowly. Instead of trying to go through many keys as fast as you can, or singing as low or high as you can, try to concentrate on performing the exercises correctly.
When practicing a song, first make sure you know the music and lyrics well. If you know them by heart, that’s even better! Print or write down the lyrics, with enough space between the lines for comments. Go through the recording of the lesson and write down the comments on the lyrics. Then try to implement them- first syllable by syllable, then a sentence at a time, then the entire song… Once in a while sing the entire song from beginning to end, to practice stamina.
What it feels like
Learning how to sing is a little bit like fixing a machine- first we take a look at our singing as a whole and see what could work better. Then we take a closer look and work on the smaller parts- a specific phrase, the way we breathe or how pronounce a certain word. Then we take a step back again, and see if it works any better. Most likely it will! But even more important- now we are familiar with the little parts that control our singing, and know how to make it better.
Work hard, try softer
Beginners can be just as passionate about singing as advanced students. Do your best, be focused, practice- but don’t be too hard on yourself if things don’t go as you imagined right away. Do as much as your work/ school schedule allows, and focus on the learning process rather than the goal.
We have student recitals twice a year, for an audience of friends and family. This is a great opportunity to gain performance experience in a friendly environment, try out audition repertoire or practice towards your own performance.
For acting students/ actors/ musical theater
Singing can be an important tool for an actor. It is another way of expression. Becoming more familiar with your singing voice and developing a solid technique will allow you the flexibility and freedom to express your ideas as an actor while singing.
Aside from working on technique, we will develop an appropriate audition repertoire. Students are highly encouraged to bring material from school/ their current performances.
For jazz students/ singers
Aside from developing a solid vocal technique, we may focus on developing a varied jazz repertoire, listening and transcribing jazz vocalists from different eras, vocal improvisation, jazz theory and basic piano skills.
Students who are applying for music schools and colleges may focus on audition preparation or recording a demo for the preliminary auditions.
You already spent years practicing and developing your musicianship. You compose/ perform your music, and you’d like to be able to sing in addition to your main instrument. You try to sing your music, but it’s just not right- your pitch is off, your tone could be better, your range could be wider, you’re out of breathe. You hear it, but you have limited control over your voice.
Your body is an instrument. Just like you spent years getting acquainted with your main instrument, you need to spend time getting to know your voice. The different physical actions we do when we sing can make everything harder or easier (hopefully, easier!). Developing a solid vocal technique will allow you to express your ideas as a musician.
For everybody else
Any questions regarding your specific goals and background? Just ask!