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When do you stop taking voice lessons?

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Hanalei
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Sorry if this isn't the right place to post this - I wasn't sure. Hopefully this question makes sense. I know what I'm trying to ask in my head but it's tough to explain in words.

I've been taking voice lessons for a couple of months now. I'm wondering how you know when you can take a break from voice lessons? When are you to the point where live performance would help more than more lessons? I know professionals don't take lessons forever. At some point, they're able to stop and go off on tours and such and just take them when they need them or whatever.

I asked my voice teacher about it, but she kind of skirted the question and she basically sounded like I should take them forever. (Obviously that's how she makes a living, but still...) I know I'm no pro, and I've got a lot of progress to make, but I can't take lessons every week for the rest of my life.

Obviously that's something that differs for each person, but is there a certain point when you're good? I've done all of the basics - proper breathing, relaxing muscles, techniques to reach higher and lower notes, posture, getting a more rock sound, etc.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

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You will know when. Don't rush it. You may continue for the rest of your life. You may just switch teachers. You may no longer have time since you're performing so much.

I've gone through this as a drummer, taking hiatuses and switching teachers. Both times, I could sense it was time to stop when the teacher/student relationship would kind of die. And your teacher will totally tell you or hint at this. They care about you and know when to tell you it's time to move on.

I don't think training ever ends unless your interest in improving does. But part of the process of becoming an expert at your craft is getting a fresh perspective by consulting different teachers. Either a few years with each, or a primary one with supplementary lessons every now and then.

It's harder to know when to start back up again if you take a break. For that you just gotta go for it when your gut tells you.

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Well speaking from experience being one of the older members on the forum and performing being how I made my living. I still study on and and off throughout every year. If you get to confident and think you know about the voice you probably don't know anything about the voice and performing. You always study and are always a student unless you are just a teacher that doesnt really want to get better or try new things. I learn something from every one of my students as well. You are never above learning. To many of the younger guys on here are quick to spout off a bunch of technical advice that they can't even demonstrate. That is a road to Self congratulatory nonsense..Learn your craft and always be open to learning from anyone and everyone. :)

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I totally get that you're always learning and should always be trying to get better. I don't disagree, and I do want to get much better. But it seems like there's got to be a point where it's better to just go out and start playing live as often as you can rather than taking lessons all the time. With guitar, everyone basically says as soon as you can do barre chords and can play a full song on your own pretty well that you're at a good point to find someone to jam with or join a band. They also say that playing with people who know what they're doing is better than learning on your own, because you learn much more much quicker in that setting. (otherwise you get kicked out of the band... ;) ) I realize this isn't the same as guitar, but I would think that there's got to be a similar point for singing, too, right?

I do feel like my current teacher may not be right for me. I took a few lessons from another teacher before this one, and didn't really care for his style of teaching. He was a theatre coach and didn't know much about rock - nice guy, but there was really no connection. This current teacher is nice, too, and I like her style better, but honestly, she's kind of a flake. Constantly changing the times she's got available. Assumed that I agreed to a lesson on a particular day when I never did. She also doesn't seem to like me singing lower notes. She tells me an F3 is very low for me, but when I practice at home I can hit a C3 and it still sounds good. She's very friendly and I'm comfortable with her, but lately I wonder...

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Well speaking from experience being one of the older members on the forum and performing being how I made my living. I still study on and and off throughout every year. If you get to confident and think you know about the voice you probably don't know anything about the voice and performing. You always study and are always a student unless you are just a teacher that doesnt really want to get better or try new things. I learn something from every one of my students as well. You are never above learning. To many of the younger guys on here are quick to spout off a bunch of technical advice that they can't even demonstrate. That is a road to Self congratulatory nonsense..Learn your craft and always be open to learning from anyone and everyone. :)

Well said.

As for as how good do you have to be before you stop paying for lessons and start singing in public? SING FOR PUBLIC while still taking lessons :P. You and your audience will know when it is time to stop and save up for next round of lessons.

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You may leave the temple (stop taking lessons) when you can snatch the pebble from my hand, Grasshopper.

Whoosh! (the sound of a pebble being snatched from the hand of master Pho.)

Care for best two out of three, Grasshopper?

I don't think there is a magical number. You will know when you need lessons and when you can work with what you have.

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dan formica gave a truly awesome reply.

may i add that lessons aren't always for getting better. they can also be for getting better as in repair.

2 months is nothing...

Yes... And to maintain... To check for problems that may appear related to technique, not health. Voices will change, everyone can get sick and it can have an effect on technique, plus no one sings in total 100% correct balance all the time, and unbalance leads to technical issues with time.

Hanalei Just 2 months? And why is it that you would stop the lessons when you begin singing with a band? Thats where technique matters most...

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I'm just trying to figure out how many is enough for the time being - when I can take a break and start again in a few months. I'm paying for these myself and I don't have a job right now...

2 1/2, technically. I know, not much. Just trying to figure this out.

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I'm just trying to figure out how many is enough for the time being - when I can take a break and start again in a few months. I'm paying for these myself and I don't have a job right now...

2 1/2, technically. I know, not much. Just trying to figure this out.

Hanalei, stop. Find a band, sing. See what happens, if things are how you like, if you want to invest more and maybe make it a profitable activity or what.

Define things better on your head from the practical experience. Then it will be easier for you to know what to expect and why. Also will make you more able to make most of the instruction you receive in the future.

Being an amateur does not mean that you cant have high quality. The real question is if you want do a great job on it and develop the skill, or sing for pure fun without this kind of commitment. There is nothing wrong with the later, but its not healthy to combine a high demand for quality and consistency on top of it, you will end up being disappointed.

So its a matter of getting things more clearly defined and doing it. And really, you MUST find a teacher that you trust.

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I guess maybe more of my confusion is I don't know whether my voice needs help or just more practice...? I try to sing every day, usually half hour to an hour, just trying to get everything I've learned together and get out of my head and just get into the song. I'm sure I could use a gazillion hours of lessons, but I just wonder if making sure I practice every day, maybe doing some lessons from online coaches on YouTube, and trying to really experiment and see what works best for me, if that kind of thing would improve my voice, or if I really just need more lessons. Does that make sense? I know lessons are always helpful - it's always good to keep learning in any category, not just singing - and I'd like to be good enough to sing professionally. I just am not sure what the best option is for me with my small budget. I'm hesitant to just to play live because I'm not real confident yet if I would do well. How much of what I need to learn will come through experience and how much will only come through a coach?

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Lessons are always worth it. Youtube videos and practice won't do much without the guidance of a great teacher IMO. In my case, youtube vids and practice did absolutely nothing to help me become a better singer, lessons helped most, of course practicing vocalizing and singing as well.

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Hanalei: A better question might be how often you need to take lessons? One lesson a month with plenty of practice in between might be better than one lesson a week and no practice in between. Or if you don't have a rehersal space you might have to use the lessons as your practices, then you need more.

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Not everyone is interested in hitting whistle notes. Build the voice you need for your music and then get out there and create your music career!

When you feel like you understand how to build the voice and are comfortable and can do what you wanted to do with it then you can leave.

Well spoken by the brutha from down undah.

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Hanalei, it's my belief that a good teacher should be equipping you with the skills you need to where you can grow take control of growing your own voice. This isn't a process that happens overnight, you get better and better at it over a course of days, weeks, months, and years.

How long you need regularly scheduled lessons for depends entirely on the student and entirely on the repertoire the student wants to sing.

So here's what I'd suggest. Start taking charge of your own development while you are taking lessons. Watch YouTube videos, read articles, read books, and try different things from all of these resources. When you're confused or aren't sure you're doing something correctly that you see in a video, article, or book write it down and bring it to your teacher. Your teacher should be able to answer your question and show you how to do it properly, possibly not on the spot but they should be able to do some research and find out if they can't.

Now they may say, "look we're not quite there yet, you need to get a little better at this other thing first but I promise I can show it to you once you do". But if they say they don't know what that is and aren't going to teach it to you, or if they say that it's some super advanced technique that you need many years to start learning, I'd say that you might consider finding a new teacher.

A teacher is an invaluable resource to help guide your vocal development. But ultimately it's up to you to develop your voice.

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I guess maybe more of my confusion is I don't know whether my voice needs help or just more practice...? I try to sing every day, usually half hour to an hour, just trying to get everything I've learned together and get out of my head and just get into the song. I'm sure I could use a gazillion hours of lessons, but I just wonder if making sure I practice every day, maybe doing some lessons from online coaches on YouTube, and trying to really experiment and see what works best for me, if that kind of thing would improve my voice, or if I really just need more lessons. Does that make sense? I know lessons are always helpful - it's always good to keep learning in any category, not just singing - and I'd like to be good enough to sing professionally. I just am not sure what the best option is for me with my small budget. I'm hesitant to just to play live because I'm not real confident yet if I would do well. How much of what I need to learn will come through experience and how much will only come through a coach?

Hanalei - I listened to some of your stuff on Soundcloud. You are ready right now to sing professionally. You've got pitch, you've got rhythm and you've got style. Your technique is not bad at all.

Based on where you are currently at - you need to go out and sing some gigs. You don't need more lessons to sing professionally (although lessons will never hurt). You now need to focus on getting in a band, or figuring out how you want to break into the "scene". That takes time and attention - you need to start focusing on that.

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I am going to trust geno here. I didn't listen myself but I'm sure geno has a good ear.

There are naturals out there, that don't really need lessons. Maybe you are one of them, in which case, now your question makes a lot more sense despite only taking lessons for 2 months.

The only issue is naturals who are unknowingly hurting their voices. You could be singing great but if it's wrecking your voice, then you need vocal lessons for a different reason than growing the voice. Instead you need them to learn how to make the necessary tweaks in order to do what you are currently doing in a healthier manner. And that kind of vocal training usually doesn't require a whole lot of lessons.

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The only issue is naturals who are unknowingly hurting their voices. You could be singing great but if it's wrecking your voice, then you need vocal lessons for a different reason than growing the voice.

That might be true in regards to less efficient technique. But in regards to hurting your voice, it's not correct.

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Wow, thanks guys!

Singing and playing along with songs, there's some small things here and there that I'll notice I have trouble with, but I've never really noticed anything major. I think the biggest thing was confidence (still working on that) and volume, which is getting better. The only thing in particular I've noticed in the last week or so is that I do have a bit of trouble going from a real high note to a low note or a real low note to a high note. It takes my voice a few seconds to adjust, so the first few words in the next note either crack or don't really come out well. I'm taking another lesson in a few days, so I'll point that out to my voice coach.

I have no idea if I'm a natural or not. By the way, how do you know if you're hurting your voice (assuming it doesn't hurt or anything?) I don't think I am, but it'd certainly be helpful to know what to watch for incase I ever start picking up a bad habit.

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By the way, how do you know if you're hurting your voice (assuming it doesn't hurt or anything?) I don't think I am, but it'd certainly be helpful to know what to watch for incase I ever start picking up a bad habit.

It's actually quite simple. If you are getting hoarse you need to reevaluate things.

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