AFD Vocal & Performance Coaching

4 Top Tips for Beginner Singers

If you’re new to singing, you probably have a list of questions about how to get started. What are the best warm up exercises? What should I sing for my first audition? How do I find a good vocal coach? While there’s no one right way to become a singer, I can offer some advice on the best way to start. Here are my top four tips for beginner singers:

Always warm up.

Most people know to warm up before they do any physical activity. If you run, stretch your muscles and jog around the block a few times before you run a marathon. The same applies to singing—you need to warm up before you sing or perform.

Warming up will help your body get into the right position and make sure that all of your muscles are ready for use when it comes time to sing!

Good Breathing Techniques.

The most important thing for beginner singers to remember is the importance of using good breathing techniques for singing. Without it, you won’t be able to sing with any power or control, let alone emotion or stamina. Using correct breathing techniques will also help you to avoid vocal strain and other bad habits.

Using correct breathing techniques when you’re singing is by engaging intercoastal diaphragmatic breathing that allows air into your lower lungs (the ones below your ribs) rather than taking shallow breaths (where your shoulders and chest rise). This will give you more endurance when singing and prevent fatigue from creeping in too early on.

How to Help your Child with Their Singing Lessons

Help your child warm up at home

Your child’s vocal coach will do lots work with the student during their lessons, but it is important that you encourage your child practice warming up the voice before singing or performing at home on a regular basis. This is to ensure that they will be familiar with them when they are needed during lessons and so that they continue to improve their technique. Make sure to ask you child’s vocal coach for some warm up exercises if they haven’t already shared them with you. Most vocal coaches will have a student portal on their website or have some other way of sharing material with you such as dropbox/email.

Set Clear Goals

The most important thing you can do to help your child with their singing is to set clear goals. A child who knows what they are trying to achieve is more likely to be successful and will enjoy their singing lessons more. It’s also helpful if their vocal coach can explain how the lesson content relates to your child’s current skills or abilities so that they stay motivated.

  • Ensure that your child understands what they are trying to achieve during their singing lessons and make sure the goals are achievable for them at this stage in their development. If necessary, consider changing your expectations about what your child should be able to do at different stages of their learning journey. Your child’s vocal coach should be able to discuss this with you.
  • Help your child to practice regularly between their singing lessons by encouraging them with positive reinforcement.
  • Have a discussion with your child about what they think they need to work on. Encourage them to make a list of things that they need to work on so that they can be discussed with your child’s vocal coach in their next lesson.
  • Set aside time dedicated to practising! Kid’s schedules can be jam packed but it is vital that students put the work in at home in order to improve.

Don’t try to correct every little thing you see

It can be hard to resist the urge to correct every little thing that doesn’t sound or look quite right. It’s good to have high standards for your child, but sometimes you need to take a step back and allow them to make mistakes in a comfortable environment.

That said, if something is clearly incorrect, don’t shy away from pointing it out in a gentle way (and make sure you tell your child why they should fix it). Some corrections may be obvious for example; a major voice crack but if your kid is hitting notes correctly and using correct vocal techniques most of the time,  and just faltering on one or two occasions throughout their practice session, leave those alone until your child’s next lesson with their vocal coach.

Understand that private lessons are not like school

Your child might be used to the structure of school. In many cases, private singing lessons are more focused and personal than a class setting. Vocal coaches have the chance to get to know their students outside of school and can tailor their teaching style based on musical/career goals and interests. Private lessons for some may feel exposing and intimidating compared to being in a classroom with other students. It’s important to remind your child that their singing lessons will feel different and that’s okay! It is also worth noting that private lessons require more one to one interaction and that they should be fully engaged with their vocal coach during their lesson.

You may find that your child has a different learning style when they take private singing lessons versus when they are in a classroom environment with other children. Your child’s vocal coach should be able to make a tailored training plan that works best for the student.

How to find the right vocal coach for your child

Every parent wants the best for their child, and that motivation carries over to any extracurricular activities they take part in. It doesn’t matter if your child is joining a sports team or taking up an instrument—you want them to be challenged, but also supported by a teacher who can help them become the best they can be. That’s why it’s important to find a good vocal coach for children singing lessons who can do just that: challenge and support at the same time during their vocal performances. So, as you search for a great vocal coach for your child, keep these tips in mind.

What would your child like to learn?

You need to know what style of singing your child would like to learn, and you need to find the right vocal coach to help them. It’s important that the vocal coach specialises in the style of singing your child wants to do, and has experience teaching it. In addition, they should have experience working with children their age. It is a good idea to get your child to write down a list of goals that they would like to achieve in relation to their performing arts training. Would they like to be a professional musical theatre performer? Would they like to enter the music industry as a singer-songwriter? There are so many options and having an idea of what they would like to focus on will make it a lot easier for a vocal coach to make a good quality training plan.

Research the vocal coach’s background

The first step to finding the right vocal coach for your children singing lessons is to do some research. It’s important to know that you are training with a professional who has lots of experience coaching young performers and ideally had graduated from some sort of drama/musical theatre/music school.

First, check out their website. What does it say about their background? Do they have any specialties or areas of expertise? Is there any mention of kids in particular? Look at their social media accounts—are they active on Instagram or Facebook? If so, what kind of content are they putting up there? Does this reflect the type of person you want coaching your child’s singing career? Finally, talk with other parents whose kids have been coached by this person if possible; ask them about their experiences and whether they would recommend him/her as well as how he/she compares with others in his/her field. It is also important to make sure that the vocal coach has an up to date DBS!

Take full advantage of the first lesson!

It’s wise to book in one lesson with your perspective vocal coach before committing to a big block of lessons to ensure that they are right for you. Every vocal coach will have different methods of coaching but if they’re a good vocal coach they will want to use that first lesson to create an effective plan for ongoing lessons.

Red flags to watch out for;

  • Letting you sing through songs for fun – Remember it’s a singing lesson not a karaoke session
  • Not finding out your vocal range
  • Not listening to your different voice qualities
  • Not giving you any new tips
  • Not asking you about what you want to do going forward

What you should bring to your first lesson

Make sure that your child is fully prepared for their first lesson. It would be a great idea to show them the vocal coaches website and explain to them about who they are and what they’re going to be doing. Make sure they wear comfortable clothing that’s suitable to move around in, especially nothing too tight around the abdomen area. You should always bring a notebook, pen and pencil, bottle of water and for the oldest students a device to record on such as a phone. In addition to this, it would be good if you bring anything related to previous experience that you think may be helpful to show your coach.

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