I am often asked the question, how long (or how many lessons) will it take until I can sing?
Unfortunately there is never one answer that fits all when it comes to singing and a student’s improvement. Here are some questions and factors that will affect the amount of time it may take you.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE?
Maybe you cannot sing in tune, making your goal to sing on pitch and hit all the notes within a certain range. Perhaps you are frustrated with your vocal break and want to smooth that out and create a more consistent voice.
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 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 come to me week after week and wonder why they’re not mastering the techniques, and then they admit they haven’t been practicing between lessons.
You can learn a lot through weekly singing lessons, but you need to continually use the methods and techniques in order for your muscular memory to kick in.
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 drive a car. 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, just a little. Warm your voice up with scales and vocal exercises every day (perhaps 15 – 20 minutes) and practice for longer every second day. Do not practice for more than an hour as a beginner as you have not yet developed technique to protect your voice from fatigue.
HOW REGULARLY ARE YOU HAVING LESSONS WITH YOUR TEACHER?
I suggest that students have a regular lesson once a week. This is to ensure that the student’s technique is monitored and adjustments are made often to protect the voice from bad habits or strain when practising. They also get much faster results than students who have a lesson every now and then.
ARE YOU LISTENING?
Often students fail to realise how far their voices have come. A great idea is to record your lessons or practice sessions so you can compare the way you sound every few weeks.
I sometimes ask my students to go back to certain songs they sung 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.