AFD Vocal & Performance Coaching

Layla Takes the Stage and Wins First Place at the Northumberland Star Live Final

Congratulations to Layla on her well-deserved win at the Northumberland Star Live Final claiming the £250 prize. It’s always great to see my students excelling and achieving their goals! Layla has been working so hard on her vocal technique and performance leading up to the competition and I am incredibly proud of her!

However, Layla wasn’t the only AFD student to shine at the competition. The other students who made it through to the final also put on an exceptional show, showcasing their musical abilities and impressing the judges. It’s clear that these students have a bright future ahead of them in the music industry, and I couldn’t be prouder.

AFD Vocal & Performance Coaching is dedicated to helping students grow and develop as performers and vocalists. I believe in nurturing their creativity and providing them with the tools they need to succeed as artists. Competitions like Northumberland Star are a great way for our students to showcase their talent and gain valuable experience in performing focussing solely on ability, technique and performance.

A big round of applause also goes to the other  successful students; Kate Gowan, Olivia Rose Sexton, Jessica Yiting Deng and Addie McIntyre who made it through to the live final after getting through the first round. It’s clear that everyone put in a lot of hard work and dedication to get to this point, and they should all be proud of their achievements.

The Northumberland Star Live Final was held in aid of HospiceCare North Northumberland, a charity that provides specialist palliative care to people with life-limiting illnesses and support to their families. We are proud to have been a part of this event and to support such a worthy cause.


Two AFD Students To Study At The BRIT School and Access Creative College In London

I am thrilled to announce that two of my students, Ellie and Addie, have both been accepted into prestigious colleges to pursue their musical dreams. Ellie has gained a place at The BRIT School to study Musical Theatre, while Addie has secured a place to study Music at Access Creative College in London.

Both Ellie and Addie have worked extremely hard to get to where they are today, and I couldn’t be more proud of their achievements. I have had the pleasure of coaching them throughout their audition process, helping them to prepare their audition material and develop their skills as performers/vocalists.

Ellie’s talent and hard work has paid off with her acceptance into The BRIT School, which is renowned for producing some of the most talented performers in the UK.

The BRIT School is a world-renowned performing arts and technology school located in London, UK. The school offers a range of courses in music, theatre, film, dance, and digital media, and has a strong reputation for providing high-quality education and training to students.

Many famous artists have attended the BRIT School, including Adele, Amy Winehouse, and Jessie J. These artists are a testament to the school’s commitment to nurturing and developing talent in the creative industries. The school has also produced successful actors, filmmakers, and digital media professionals, making it a top choice for those seeking a career in the arts.

Addie’s passion and drive for music has led her to Access College, where she will have the opportunity to develop her skills as a vocalist and pursue her music career.

Access Creative College is a leading institution for creative industries education in the UK. The college has a strong reputation for providing hands-on training and real-world industry experience to students.

Several famous artists have studied at Access Creative College, including Ed Sheeran, Rita Ora, and Jess Glynne. These successful musicians are a testament to the quality of education and training provided by the college. In addition to music, the college also offers courses in film, TV, and games design, among other creative industries.

I truly believe that with dedication, hard work, and guidance, any student can achieve their dreams. I am thrilled to have played a part in Ellie and Addie’s journeys and wish them all the best as they embark on this new chapter of their lives. AFD is here to support and guide all of their students, helping them to reach their full potential and achieve their goals. Congratulations, Ellie and Addie!

Are Singing Lessons Worth It? Find out why Singing Lessons are Important

  1. Confidence: Singing lessons can help your child build confidence in themselves and their abilities. By learning proper vocal techniques and performing in front of others, they will gain the confidence to take on new challenges and feel more self-assured in their everyday life.
  2. Discipline: Learning to sing takes discipline and dedication, which are valuable skills that will benefit your child in all areas of their life. With regular practice, they will develop the discipline to set goals and work towards achieving them.
  3. Creativity: Singing lessons can foster your child’s creativity and imagination. They will learn to interpret music and express themselves through song, which can be a powerful outlet for their emotions and ideas.
  4. Communication: Singing requires good communication skills, both in terms of expressing oneself through song and working with others in a choir or performance group. Your child will learn to listen and work with others to create beautiful music.
  5. Health benefits: Singing is not only good for the soul but also for the body. It can improve breathing, posture, and overall physical health.
  6. Career opportunities: If your child is interested in pursuing a career in music or the performing arts, singing lessons are an excellent starting point. They will gain the skills and knowledge necessary to pursue their dreams and stand out in a competitive industry.

Enhancing Your Child’s Vocal Training At Home: Why SOVT Exercises Are Important

SOVT stands for “semi-occluded vocal tract,” which refers to exercises that partially block or narrow the vocal tract while singing. These exercises are designed to help singers develop better vocal control, breath support, and resonance.

Here are some of the key reasons why SOVT exercises are important for young performers learning to sing:

  1. They improve breath support

Breath support is a crucial aspect of singing, as it enables singers to sustain notes and phrases without straining their vocal cords. SOVT exercises can help children develop a more efficient breath support system. By partially blocking the vocal tract, they encourage singers to use their diaphragmatic breathing correctly and other supporting muscles to control their breath.

  1. They improve vocal control

SOVT exercises can also help children develop better vocal control. By narrowing the vocal tract, they help to focus and refine the singer’s tone, making it more precise and controlled. This can be particularly useful for children who are still developing their singing technique and are working to eliminate any vocal inconsistencies.

  1. They promote healthy singing technique

One of the most important benefits of SOVT exercises is that they promote healthy singing technique. By encouraging singers to use their breath support and control their tone, they can help prevent strain and damage to the vocal cords. This is particularly important for children, as their vocal cords are still developing and may be more vulnerable to damage.

  1. They can be fun and engaging

SOVT exercises are often seen as more playful and engaging than traditional vocal warm-ups. This can make them a great way to get children excited about singing and help them build a positive association with vocal training. By incorporating SOVT exercises into your child’s vocal routine, you can help them develop their singing skills while keeping things fun and engaging.

Some examples of SOVT exercises that children can try include lip trills, humming, fricatives, sirens and straw phonation. These exercises can be easily incorporated into your child’s singing routine and can be done at home or during singing lessons. All AFD students are supplied with plenty of SOVT exercises during lessons and are given tasks to do at home in order to improve their technique.

Unlock Your Child’s Vocal Potential with AFD Vocal & Performance Coaching

Looking for singing lessons? Aspiring young performers can benefit from the exceptional vocal coaching provided by AFD Vocal & Performance Coaching. Whether they are a beginner who want to learn the basics of singing or an experienced vocalist looking to refine their technique, AFD offers tailored lessons to suit unique needs. With a highly experienced vocal coach, AFD ensures that your child receives top-notch training that is personalised to their specific vocal and performance goals.

Building a Strong Vocal Foundation

One of the key reasons to choose AFD Vocal & Performance Coaching for singing lessons is the commitment to helping students build a solid foundation in vocal technique. Using correct vocal technique is crucial for singers to avoid strain and injury to their vocal folds and to achieve a clear and resonant healthy voice. Some areas of focus are; breath control/support, vocal placement, pitch accuracy, using their mixed register to avoid pushing chest voice too high. Helping students develop a strong and healthy singing voice will serve them well throughout their musical journey.

In addition to technical training, AFD also emphasises performance skills and stage presence. Working with students on stage presence, microphone technique, and acting through song/interpreting song lyrics to help them become confident and strong performers. AFD believes that singing is not just about hitting the right notes, but also about connecting with the audience and conveying emotion through performance. With  guidance, students learn how to engage with their audience, captivate them with their voice, and deliver a memorable performance on stage.

Supportive Learning Environment: Encouragement and Improvement

Another compelling reason to choose AFD for singing lessons in Newcastle is a supportive and nurturing learning environment. AFD Vocal & Performance Coaching creates a positive and encouraging atmosphere where students can feel comfortable expressing themselves and taking risks with their vocal abilities. It is important as a vocal coach to be patient, understanding, and skilled at motivating students to push their boundaries and reach their full potential. I believe that everyone has a unique voice and I aim to bring out the best in each student by providing constructive feedback, encouragement, and guidance along the way. Lessons are results based and I ensure that each student progresses each week.

AFD Summer Showcase at The Little Theatre, Gateshead

On Saturday 6th August, the AFD students performed at The Little Theatre in Gateshead and they all were fantastic! Not only were their performances brilliant but they also conducted themselves really professionally backstage. They all had to be in charge of their own radio mics, hair and makeup and quick costume changes. On the day the students had a tech run where they all practiced on the stage. During this, we made sure all of the lights and sound were working and the students could get used to organising themselves. We were all very impressed with the professionalism and dedication from them to make the show run as smoothly as possible.

After the tech run was finished, the students had a small gap before the audience came into the theatre. After their break everyone got in position and the show commenced at 7:30 (right on time!). All of the students had a solo in the first act with a few group songs and a solo in the second act with a group song finale.

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.

Want to Take Vocal Lessons? Here’s What To Consider

You’ve decided to take vocal lessons! This is the actually the first step in becoming a better vocalist and performer so congratulations! Before you can launch into your first set of vocal exercises and start belting out your favourite songs, it’s important to consider some of these areas first to ensure you make the right choice.


You should consider your motivation for taking vocal lessons. Why do you want to take them? What are your goals? What do you want to achieve? Do you have a career path in mind or any specific direction that you want to take? All of these questions are very important when choosing a singer teacher/vocal coach and your answers will help your teacher guide you in the right direction.

You should also think about what style of singing you would like to focus on for example; musical theatre, pop, rock, opera and so on. You don’t need to be completely sure about what genre of music you want to sing, but it helps to have a rough idea. This will make it easier for your vocal coach to create a training plan for your vocal/performing arts studies.


If you’re serious about taking vocal lessons, your first step should be to finding a good quality vocal coach. You can do this by looking at different vocal coach’s websites to find out more information about what they offer. You can also ask on local social media groups dedicated to performing arts/music for advice from other people in the industry. Once you’ve got a good idea of which vocal coach you would like to start lessons with, it’s time to ask yourself: can I commit to this?

Your commitment will involve more than just attending a lesson once a week. It also includes committing to practicing on your own at home so that by the next lesson you have a better understanding of what you have been working on with your vocal coach. This makes sure you get the most out of your lessons and the time with your vocal coach is more efficiently used. This applies to all ages, even the younger students!

Practice regularly

In order to become a better singer and performer, you have to practice. Practice regularly and do so for a minimum of three times per week. When practicing, it’s important that you use up to date and correct vocal technique exercises in order to improve your technique and range.

It’s important to put effort into developing your voice outside of your vocal lessons so during lessons you can focus on learning and at home, practicing what you have learnt. This will help you develop your voice at a better pace as your teacher can focus on teaching you inside of your lessons becoming focused on practicing what you already know.

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.