AFD Vocal & Performance Coaching

The Benefits of Singing Lessons for Young People

  • Developing Confidence: Singing lessons provide a safe space for young people to express themselves creatively. As they learn to control their voice and perform in front of others, they gain confidence in their abilities, which can extend to other areas of their lives.
  • Improving Communication Skills: Singing requires careful articulation, breath control, and projection. Through vocal exercises and practicing songs, young singers enhance their communication skills, including clarity of speech and expression.
  • Enhancing Emotional Expression: Music is a powerful medium for conveying emotions. Singing lessons encourage young people to tap into their feelings and express them through song, fostering emotional intelligence and empathy.
  • Building Discipline and Persistence: Learning to sing well takes time, patience, and consistent practice. By attending regular lessons and dedicating time to vocal exercises and repertoire, young singers develop discipline and persistence, valuable qualities that translate to other areas of life.
  • Boosting Cognitive Skills: Singing involves coordination between the brain, voice, and body. Studies have shown that engaging in music education, including singing, can enhance cognitive skills such as memory, attention, and problem-solving.
  • Promoting Physical Well-being: Proper singing technique requires good posture, breath control, and relaxation of muscles. As young people learn to sing effectively, they also improve their physical health and well-being.
  • Fostering Creativity and Self-Expression: Singing lessons encourage young people to explore their creativity and develop their unique voice. Whether interpreting songs or composing their own music, students have the opportunity to express themselves authentically.
  • Cultivating Social Connections: Participating in group singing activities, such as choirs or ensembles, provides young singers with opportunities to connect with peers who share their passion for music. This sense of community fosters friendship, teamwork, and a supportive environment for learning.

Why Singing Lessons Benefit Competitive Dancers

Song and Dance

Singing lessons can elevate your child’s performance in song and dance, setting them apart from the rest. With improved vocal technique and breath control, they can seamlessly blend singing and dancing, creating a standout performance. A skilled vocal coach can also assist in selecting the perfect song, enhancing both their voice and dance routine.

Vocal Sections 

At some dance competitions, there’s a section for vocal performances. While it might seem intimidating, it’s actually a great chance to showcase new skills. In today’s performance world, being skilled in dance, singing, and acting is highly valued. Taking singing lessons helps students excel in these areas by providing guidance on song selection and stage presence.

Emotion and Expression Through Dance

Singing lessons are invaluable for helping dancers grasp the emotional depth of music. Expressing emotion is crucial in dance routines like tap, modern, ballet, and jazz, where captivating the judges’ attention is key. Through singing lessons, dancers learn to act through song, convey emotion through facial expressions, embody characters, and interpret lyrics, enhancing their overall performance quality.

Troupe and Group Pieces

In group performances, solo singing opportunities often arise, especially in troupe pieces. Singing lessons can significantly boost your confidence and increase your chances of securing these solo parts. With improved vocal skills, you become a valuable asset to your dance troupe, allowing your teacher to feature you more prominently throughout the piece, showcasing your abilities in singing, acting, and dancing.

5 Ways Singing Lessons Can Help Emotional Well Being in Children and Teens

  1. Language Development: Singing aids in the development of language skills in younger children. Through singing songs with rhymes, repetitive phrases, and varied vocabulary, children learn new words and improve their language comprehension.
  2. Emotional Development: Singing helps children and teens develop emotional skills by providing a safe and creative outlet to express their feelings. Whether they’re singing along to a sad ballad or belting out an up tempo musical theatre song , music allows them to explore and process their emotions in a constructive manner.
  3. Empathy Building: Music fosters empathy by exposing children and teenagers to a range of emotions and situations they might not encounter in their daily lives. This exposure helps them develop emotional intelligence, enabling them to pick up on cues from others, respond appropriately, and navigate their own feelings with greater insight.
  4. Mood Elevation: Music has the power to lift moods and change emotional states. Upbeat songs can energise and uplift a child’s spirits, while calming songs can promote relaxation and reduce stress. Scientific studies show that music triggers the production of serotonin and adrenaline, hormones associated with happiness and energy.
  5. Identity Formation: Music plays a crucial role in shaping identities as they grow and develop. Early signs of identity emerge as children become more aware of the music they enjoy and start asserting their preferences. Whether it’s a passion for pop music or a love for musical theatre, musical tastes often become a significant part of a child’s identity. From the way they dress to their personality, music influences various aspects of their lives, including their social circles and friendships. Shared interests in music often serve as the foundation for new connections and friendships, highlighting its importance in identity formation during childhood and adolescence.

Preparation Advice For Drama School Singing Auditions


Selecting Strong Singing Repertoire: One of the first steps in preparing for your singing audition is selecting the right repertoire. Choose songs that showcase your vocal range, acting ability, and most importantly YOU as a performer. Avoid overdone songs and consider the context of the audition—opt for pieces that align with the style and tone of the school (you can do a little bit a research on this by looking at their social media accounts). Be mindful of accent or dialect changes and ensure your selections are diverse and contrasting. Remember to include at least one pre-1960 musical theatre piece and a pop/rock song in your repertoire.

Preparing Sheet Music: When organising your sheet music, ensure it is neatly taped and in the correct key. Many schools prefer sheet music to be taped rather than placed in a folder and the music should never be stapled!. Avoid clicking the tempo to the pianist—simply sing the first bar or so quietly to establish the tempo. If you’re asked to perform a cut, mark the sections clearly using a pencil and brackets to indicate the cuts.

Acting Through Song: In addition to vocal technique, remember that acting through song is crucial in a drama school audition. The panel isn’t just looking for technical perfection—they want to see how you interpret a character and convey emotion through your performance. Focus on storytelling and connecting with the lyrics to bring the song to life authentically.

Preparation in Advance: To feel more confident and prepared for your audition, it is crucial to take singing lessons to improve your vocal technique, breathing skills, and acting through song. Working with a vocal coach can help refine your performance and alleviate nerves on the big day. While dance is not encouraged during your songs, incorporating body language and gesture can enhance your performance and captivate the panel.

Audition Attire: When it comes to audition attire, opt for something smart and comfortable that allows you to move freely. Avoid wearing costumes or anything overly flashy—instead, choose an outfit that reflects your personal style and professionalism. Keep makeup and hair natural and neat, and consider adding a subtle accessory like a coloured hairband to make a memorable impression.

Preparing for a drama school singing audition requires careful planning and attention to detail. By selecting strong repertoire, organising your sheet music, focusing on acting through song and preparing in advance, you can present your best self and leave a lasting impression on the audition panel. Remember to stay confident, authentic, and true to yourself throughout the process. Good luck!

Children’s Mental Health Week – Express Yourself Campaign

The theme of this year’s Children’s Mental Health Week is ‘My Voice Matters’.

Place2Be explains “My Voice Matters is about empowering children and young people by providing them with the tools they need to express themselves. When we feel empowered, there’s a positive impact on our wellbeing. Children who feel that their voices are heard and can make a difference have a greater sense of community and self-esteem. This year, we want children of all ages, backgrounds and abilities to be empowered to work together to create a positive change for their mental health and wellbeing. During Children’s Mental Health Week, we want all children and young people to be able to say – and believe – “My Voice Matters.” ”

From 5th – 11th February 2024, AFD Vocal & Performance Coaching will be joining the cause by taking part in the ‘Express Yourself’ campaign. As part of the Express Yourself campaign, students are embracing a unique challenge – singing “Expressing Yourself” from Billy Elliot the Musical in their lessons, all while showcasing their individuality through outrageous attire! Whether it’s sparkly tutus or silly headbands, they’re encouraged to express themselves freely. If you’d like to support their creative endeavour, donations can be made through the provided JustGiving link


A Quick Guide to Music Theatre Exam Success


  1. Pick the Right Grade:
    • Consult with your vocal/singing teacher to find the grade that suits your current level best. Strike the right balance—neither too easy nor too challenging. Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to start at grade 1!
  2. Diverse Song Selection:
    • Select songs that comply with your exam board’s guidelines while also allowing you to showcase your skills as a vocalist and performer. Some exam boards require you to select from a set list whilst others have more of a free choice. It’s always best to include a pre-1960s piece (golden age) alongside contemporary pieces that explore various characters and emotions. Most exam boards will not allow you to sing more than 1 song from the same musical or composer/lyricist.
  3. Nail Your Introductions:
    • Memorise compelling and informative introductions for each piece. As a rule of thumb, the higher the grade, the longer the intro should be. The introductions should include; title of song, the musical it is from, what year the musical was written, who wrote the song, what is the name of your character and some facts about either the character, show or composer/lyricist.
  4. Early Written Programme Prep:
    • Most exam boards either require or like to see a written programme. Prepare your written programme well in advance. Include facts, rehearsal notes, and details about your learning journey to showcase your dedication. For the younger kids, photos and drawings are a great idea!
  5. Understand Assessment Criteria:
    • Familiarise yourself with what the examiners are looking for—vocal technique, interpretation, and communication. Ensure your performance meets these criteria. A well trained singing teacher or vocal coach will be able to help navigate this for you.
  6. Stay Organised:
    • Keep everything in a tidy folder ready to take with you to the exam. Have your ID, sheet music, and written programme easily accessible for the exam rep and examiner to look at. Most exam boards will not allow you to take the exam if you forget your ID!
  7. Acting Through Song:
    • Connect with the lyrics and bring your characters to life. Show emotion and authenticity in line with your character. Your singing teacher/vocal coach will work with you to explore characterisation and bringing the lyrics to life. The examiner will give you extra marks for using appropriate movement and blocking. Remember to use the space and try to include props if needed.
  8. Strong Vocal Technique:
    • Showcase your skills with strong vocal technique, emphasising breath support/control, pitch accuracy, use of different vocal registers and qualities. Make sure to practice in between lessons at least 2-3 times a week to improve your technique. Make sure to do the exercises that your singing teacher/vocal coach has given you as they will be specific to your vocal journey.
  9. Check Exam Board and Set Songs:
    • Confirm which exam board your singing teacher follows, and be aware of any set songs or requirements. The most popular exam boards are; LCM, Trinity and LAMDA.

Navigating musical theatre singing exams can be tricky, especially if your are new to it all! Your singing teacher will make sure that you are fully prepared, so worry not!

A Guide on Choosing Songs for Vocal Competitions

  1. Age-Appropriate Selections: One of the fundamental considerations when choosing a song for a vocal competition is ensuring that it is age-appropriate. The lyrics and themes should be relatable to the performer, allowing them to connect with the material. This connection not only enhances the quality of the performance but also creates a more authentic and engaging experience for the judges.
  2. Avoiding Overdone Songs: While classic songs have their place, the true magic happens when performers pick a lesser-known treasure. Steer clear of the overdone and explore songs that may not be on everyone’s radar. This not only makes your performance more memorable but also allows for a fresh interpretation that can set you apart from the competition.
  3. Pop Perfection: In the pop category, the key is to strike a balance between familiarity and uniqueness. Opt for songs that showcase the performer’s vocal range and stylistic versatility while avoiding the overly mainstream tracks that everyone has heard a thousand times. Remember to make the song your own. The judges want to hear your version. Look for hidden gems within an artist’s discography or explore indie and emerging artists for something unusual.
  4. Musical Theatre Magic: For the musical theatre category, the emphasis should be on storytelling through song. Choose pieces that allow for emotional depth and character portrayal. Lesser-known musicals often offer hidden gems that can evoke powerful emotions and showcase the performer’s acting skills. Remember, it’s not just about hitting the right notes but about conveying a compelling narrative through your voice and physicality.
  5. Importance of Vocal Technique: Regardless of what material you decide on, make sure to use good vocal technique such as; breath support, phrasing, avoiding strain, using different vocal registers and qualities. The judges want to see how well you can deliver the song whilst using proper technique.
  6. Seek the Guidance of a Vocal Coach: To further refine your song selection and enhance your vocal performance, consider seeking the assistance of a vocal coach. A professional vocal coach or singing teacher can provide valuable insights, help improve your technique, and offer personalised guidance.
  7. Read the Rules: Before finalising your song choice, carefully read the rules of the competition. Are there any time limits for performances? Can you use a microphone? Is movement allowed? Understanding these guidelines ensures that your performance not only showcases your talents but also aligns with the competition’s expectations, giving you the best chance to shine.

AFD Summer Showcase 2023

I believe that every student should have the chance to perform solo!

The AFD students blew me away with their wonderful performances on Sunday 10th September. Each student had the opportunity to perform at least one solo piece alongside taking part in multiple group numbers. Every student who attends singing lessons at AFD Vocal & Performance Coaching has the chance to steal the limelight during the showcases!

Hard work, dedication and commitment.

Each and every student who took part in the showcase worked incredibly hard during their one to one lessons and group rehearsals to ensure that they were ready for show day. From learning lyrics to applying performance technique, the AFD students worked their socks off during lessons. Not only did they have to focus on their solo pieces but also on working as an ensemble. Working together as a collective is just as important as performing solo and the AFD students certainly pulled together to support each other during rehearsals and on show day.

Congratulations to everyone involved!

A huge well done to all the AFD students who took part, you were all phenomenal:

Anya Brookes

Catherine Ma

Charlotte Baird

Constance Choi

Eddie Warnock

Emma XiYue Ma

Georgia Lowther

Jessica Yiting Deng

Layla McPherson

Kate Gowan

Olivia Rose Sexton

Poppy Harvey

A massive thank you to everyone who came to support the talented students of AFD Vocal & Performance Coaching. Your ongoing support means the world to myself and the kids. Also, a very big thank you to The Little Theatre in Gateshead for providing us with such a beautiful performance space!

What’s next for the AFD kids?

The students are now working very hard towards their singing exams. This exam season I have students taking grades from Step 1 all the way through to Grade 8. AFD has a 100% pass rate with the vast majority of students gaining high distinctions.

Once again, well done to everyone for their brilliant performances. You are all stars!





10 Ways One-to-One Singing Lessons Can Benefit a Young Performer

  1. Personalised Attention: In one-to-one singing lessons, students receive individualised attention from the vocal coach, allowing for tailored instruction based on their unique needs and goals.
  2. Focused Progress: With the spotlight on your child, one-to-one lessons enable a more targeted and efficient learning experience, as the coach can address specific areas of improvement.
  3. Increased Confidence: Without the presence of others, students tend to feel more comfortable and confident to explore and express their vocal and performance skills freely.
  4. Customised Lesson Planning: In one-to-one singing lessons, the lessons are tailored to match the student’s specific interests and goals, allowing for a more personalised and engaging learning experience with better results.
  5. Greater Feedback and Correction: With the coach’s undivided attention, students receive immediate and precise feedback, helping them refine their techniques and improve at a faster pace.
  6. Building a Strong Foundation: The dedicated attention in one-to-one lessons ensures that students receive a solid foundation in vocal technique, which is crucial for long-term growth and vocal health.
  7. Support for Shy or Introverted Students: One-to-one lessons can be particularly beneficial for shy or introverted students, providing a safe space where they can gradually build confidence and express themselves without the pressure of performing in front of others.
  8. Greater Room for Questions and Exploration: One-to-one lessons provide ample opportunities for students to ask questions, seek clarity, and explore different aspects of singing and performance, fostering a deeper understanding and development in their training.
  9. Faster Learning of Complex Techniques: With personalised instruction, students can grasp complex vocal techniques more efficiently, as the coach can break down intricate concepts and guide them through the learning process step by step.
  10. Focused Audition Preparation: If a student has auditions or competitions, one-to-one lessons can hone their audition skills, selecting appropriate repertoire and perfecting their performance for an impressive audition.

Get Ready For The AFD Summer Showcase: Encore!

AFD Summer Showcase “Encore!” at The Little Theatre in Gateshead on September 10th, 2023.

It’s that time again! The AFD Summer Showcase is fast approaching and rehearsals are now in full swing! Every student at AFD Vocal & Performance Coaching is offered the chance to perform solo in the showcase meaning that the spotlight is totally on them! Students also take part in big ensemble numbers meaning they have to perfect skills such as harmony, blending and group performance. After last year’s success, we are back again at The Little Theatre in Gateshead and the students cannot wait!

What Do The Students Gain From Performing Live On-Stage?

Performing live on-stage offers the students at AFD Vocal & Performance Coaching an invaluable opportunity to gain authentic industry experience, which nurtures their growth as confident performers. Stepping onto the stage in front of an audience allows them to develop essential skills in conquering stage fright and nerves, as they learn to channel their emotions into captivating performances. Moreover, they gain hands-on experience in managing their own microphones, props, and costumes, fostering a sense of responsibility and self-reliance. Working together as a team during rehearsals and performance encourages them to collaborate, communicate, and support one another, cultivating a strong sense of camaraderie. Through this process, the AFD students not only discover the joy of performing but also develop essential life skills that will benefit them far beyond their musical journey. The AFD showcases becomes a platform for them to shine, building a sense of achievement and instilling in them the courage to embrace future opportunities with confidence and enthusiasm.

Celebrating Young Performers: Showcasing Progress at AFD Vocal & Performance Coaching.

At AFD Vocal & Performance Coaching, showcase events offer the perfect opportunity for friends and family to witness the brilliant progress made by the young performers during lessons. With excitement and pride, AFD presents opportunities that showcase their newfound confidence, refined vocal techniques, and artistic growth.  The showcases celebrate the magic of music and the dedication of talented students, leaving everyone inspired by the transformative power of singing and performance.

How Do I Purchase Tickets?

Tickets are now on sale and you can purchase them by clicking here.