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Vocal Lessons vs Music School?

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CasenW
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Hey all! I recently discovered my two favorite vocalists (Aaron Tveit and Jeremy Jordan) both went to the same music school, and I would love to go there. Unfortunately, the tuition for the school is about $35,000, and I don't think I can afford that. Could private vocal lessons with the right teacher help me just as much? For example, I'm currently trying to sing Thinking Out Loud by Ed Sheeran, and I'm doing it in Bb which is already a full one and a half steps down from the original, but I can't sing the chorus without straining. Wouldn't a vocal teacher be able to help that? Thanks in advance for the help!

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Yes, absolutely!  Your voice teacher and you!

First off, this song is a challenging one because it sits in the area of the voice where the musculature that controls the lower part of the voice and the higher part of the voice basically compete with each other for dominance.

You can certainly build a great voice, but you have to begin with the fundamentals first. It's very similar to driving a vehicle, first you have to know how things work..the gas pedal, the steering wheel, the brakes, etc.

There are many great voice teachers here that are ready to help get you off to a great start.

 

  

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Get a formal education or take lessons with a voice coach?  Those two experiences are not the same?  One is going to school where you learn how to sing... but also how to think cognitively, how to write a paper, how to do research, how to do science, how to socialize, how to chase college girls, how to drink way too much beer, how to eventually graduate and get a decent job... how to be a productive and intelligent citizen.

You question makes little sense to me... ?  I can tell you this, most voice lessons you are going to get at a formal institution are NOT going to give you what you need or want. There are some exceptions, but it is very rare. Sadly, a lot of formal education/college voice teachers are totally, utterly obsolete, arrogant, and couldn't teach you to bridge your passaggio if your life depended on it and for some music majors,... their lives DO depend on it and they still didn't learn to sing in a practical way that can enable them to make a buck/$.  

MOST vocal programs at Universities can be a waste of 5 years and $100,000 in my opinion... and btw, been there, did that... I know from experience... thankfully, I took business classes that actually meant something in the real world and can now feed myself.

The answer is... go to school, but not for voice training... go to school for life training... and then get contemporary voice lessons on the side in addition to that with a contemporary coach like myself that can teach you new, innovative ways of developing the voice for pop music... not stodgy, heavy Classical singing. 

These voice majors that spend 5 years singing German and Italian art songs that nobody cares to hear... and never learn to bridge the passaggio or do the things that need to be done to sing any other style of music other then Classical... spend $100,000 and graduate with absolutely nothing practical to use to make a living... many can't even sing in a wedding cover band because their muscle memory for singing is so heavy and bugged up from sounding "Classical" for 5 years... it is a tragedy. 

This is a good presentation that discusses the physical configuration differences between classical and contemporary.. Justin doesn't hit on the "dirty little secret" Im sharing above about the career viability... but this presentation points out WHY... when Classical trained singers go out into the real world and try to make a simple buck singing in a rock cover band, can't get the gig. Their voices are all bugged up for a different genre... Such individuals can certainly train out of that and fix the problem, but what did they spend 5 years and $100,000 for? 

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I have done both...don't bother with music school if it's just for singing. For what you're trying to do a vocal teacher will be fine and a much smarter way to start, and easily twice the bang for your buck.

​Absolutely... been there done that... Owen is doing that right now...  you don't spend nearly $100,000 and 4 -5 years of your life on voice lessons at a University... it is a total waste of time and money. Because you need to learn how to do other things in this world besides just singing and... likely the training you would get anyways is completely inadequate for most people's needs.

Seriously, you could purchase a training program like my own, or any other good program and get a good contemporary private teacher and do better in one year with $2000 invested in lessons then 5 years at $100,000.  I dare say... vocal majors programs at Universities are so inadequate for anything that it is almost unethical. I think its a sham... 

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One of the big reasons you would spend so much at a music school, especially if it is accredited in the state, is that you have to take a bunch of other courses, like social studies, literature, etcetera. All fine subjects that you could study on your own. I don't need a professor to tell me what "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" are about and mean. And having that school behind you doesn't guarantee success or even that you will be a great singer. That is, for the huge amount of money, you are getting no greater or better return than if you follow the advice of Owen and/or Robert.

Nothing wrong with lessons but the really big singers usually had single teachers to whom they went for just singing.

So, get lessons with one teacher or get Robert's program. Take the money you save and you can treat your lady friends to a really nice evening.

Short answer, yes, you can do as much or better with just one teacher and/or vocal program as you would ever do with some school. Those other singers went there and that is just fine, for them. But don't confuse their success and ability with the notion that it came from going to that school.

In a learning environment, the student is equally important to any other factor you could imagine.

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But don't confuse their success and ability with the notion that it came from going to that school.

A really good point for this post... I noticed that too. Just because these guys went to that school, it does barely means squat in regards to what you will get out of it... its not the school... more of a coincidence really that they both went to that school. 

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I studied music at University. Jazz and contemporary Guitar Performance. The singers did not improve their practical performance skills at all. No one grew their range, power, tone etc... The singers who could already sing great could still sing great... Soul and RnB singers mainly.

Jazz and Folk singers never really grew their sound at all. The teachers who taught voice were very limited as well. Good at their niche (Bossa Nova, Jazz, Art music,) but TbH they just sounded like Lazy singers. UsInstrumentalists were always pushed a lot harder to improve than our vocal counter parts. I couldn't imagine any of the singers practicing for 5+ hours a day.

Unless you need the piece of paper, find a good teacher and save your money.

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I studied music at University. Jazz and contemporary Guitar Performance. The singers did not improve their practical performance skills at all. No one grew their range, power, tone etc... The singers who could already sing great could still sing great... Soul and RnB singers mainly.

Jazz and Folk singers never really grew their sound at all. The teachers who taught voice were very limited as well. Good at their niche (Bossa Nova, Jazz, Art music,) but TbH they just sounded like Lazy singers. UsInstrumentalists were always pushed a lot harder to improve than our vocal counter parts. I couldn't imagine any of the singers practicing for 5+ hours a day.

Unless you need the piece of paper, find a good teacher and save your money.

And I thought my post was brutally candid... thanks blahblah... This is totally true and exactly what Im talking about. I am embarrassed to say that my art and profession, singing... is such a waste of time at most schools of study. This isn't because it has to be!!  That is an important point. I could develop a curriculum that could keep singers busy for four years for sure... but the problem is, the voice teachers are just ... ??  LAME!  They can't bridge, they don't know shit about any new innovative techniques, they don't sing different styles, they can't sing Classical or they can't sing Rock... its just when it comes to Classical.. they just shove everyone down this old road that is inadequate and if they try to offer contemporary vocals, then they are even MORE lost.

It is a complete waste of money and time to give a HUGE tuition to a most Universities for singing lessons. There are some exceptions, but this is the case. 

I was am a graduate of the University of Miami School of Music. I saw the same thing there... Classical voice department that was teaching people ancient art songs for what ever practical reason, I can't explain... and they had some 'rock classes" , but absolutely nothing of merit for contemporary singing. It seemed the only musicians that were really chopping and hard core were jazz musician. I actually trained my vocal techniques I brought with me from outside... my old Maestro David Kyle stuff... I would practice all the workouts I had before I went to the University and got a lot more out of that then the wasted time I HAD to spend singing art songs. Vocal programs at Universities are a complete rip-off.

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Lmao at the price, it's free in Finland. It's just difficult to get in. A MsC -type of 5,5 year deal, too, not some letter course that anyone can do. In fact, in Finland it's free to get just about all of your education up until after Uni. Studying Medicine is free too.

... You just gotta know your shit. And every year a couple of thousand applicants find out that sadly they don't.

And voice coaching is like isolating yourself to learning voice. Do you want to master the javelin or learn track and field even though you hate hurdles? Case in point.

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The main advantage in music schools, IMHO, is social networking with like minded people. I might look for a very practical program that doesn't require a 3-4 year commitment: be it some sort of modern arts school, production, sound-engineering, etc... 

I'm all for academic studies but you really need to ask yourself what you get out of the stuff you do. 

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