How Long Does it Take to Learn to Sing?
The question, "how long (or how many lessons) will it take until I can sing?" is an extremely popular one.
I wish there was a one size fits all answer I could give you but unfortunately it depends on a number of factors.
So rather than wasting your time and simply telling you "it depends", let's talk about what questions you might want to consider to give you a better idea of an answer.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE?
Maybe you're convinced you can't sing in tune, making your goal to sing on pitch and hit all the notes within a certain range.
Perhaps you are frustrated that you seem to "flip" into a totally different voice partway through a song and want to smooth that out and create a more consistent voice.
Maybe you just want to be able to learn one simple song and sing it well enough that you won't be mortified in front of your friends at karaoke.
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Whatever your end goal is, this will determine how long it may take you to improve to the level that you're wanting.
The following are estimates based on weekly lessons with a fab singing teacher and regular practice:
Tuning and pitch problems can often take a few months to correct;
Strengthening your lower range will come relatively quickly;
Smoothing your break may take a few months; and
Developing your voice to professional level (including belting and mastering tone) most certainly takes years.
HOW OFTEN ARE YOU PRACTICING?
Be honest. I have a few students that sheepishly come to me week after week who they admit they haven't been practicing between lessons. They still make progress but it's of course slower than it would be if they practiced more often.
You can learn a lot through weekly singing lessons, singing courses or YouTube videos but you need to continually use the methods and techniques in order for your muscle memory to kick in. We need to kick the bad habits to the curb and create shiny new ones!
It's similar to driving a car - the more driving you do, the easier it is and eventually you don't even have to think about the correct way to do it. Once you train your voice to sing with correct technique, the muscles will start to remember how you've been teaching them to work to create a specific sound.
I suggest that students try to practice every day, even if it's just a little. Warm up your voice with scales/vocal exercises targeted to the technique you're working on every day (perhaps 15 - 20 minutes) and practice for longer with a song or two in the mix at least very second day (if you can't manage it daily).
Pssst! Please don't practice for more than an hour as a beginner as you may not have developed technique to protect your voice from fatigue yet.
ARE YOU HAVING LESSONS WITH a TEACHER? if so, how often?
Singing with a teacher one on one certainly isn't the only way to learn how to sing but it can speed things along to have someone adjusting your technique in real time.
If you prefer to work on your voice yourself, I do have a 6 week beginners course where you can learn each piece of the puzzle through video tutorials, download audio exercises and ask as many questions as you like which could be a good compromise.
You can check out Pimp Your Voice here.
If you are learning from a teacher, how quickly you progress also depends on how frequently you're having lessons.
Are you sensing a pattern here? Practicing your new skills frequently is kinda the secret sauce.
I suggest that students who are wanting to make speedy progress have lessons once a week or once a fortnight.
ARE YOU LISTENING?
Often students fail to realise how far their voices have come. We can be improving without even realising it! A great idea is to record your lessons or practice sessions so you can compare the way you sound every few weeks.
I also often ask my students to go back to certain songs they were singing a number of months ago in order to show them how much easier they are to sing now and the difference in tone and strength from when they started.
It's important to track it and give yourself the kudos you deserve!