In this post I am going to go over what you can do to prepare for your first singing lesson with a new teacher. What you can expect and how you can best prepare. You want to use the time wisely so here are some of my top tips to maximise the class.
Think about what you would like to achieve with your singing.
You may think that vocal goals are just for the pros but I am sure that in the back of your mind you have some buried away. “I wish I could hit that note”, “I would love to sing that song” or “I just want to have fun”
You have no idea how important and helpful it is for us teachers to have your goals at the forefront of our minds. That way maybe your teacher can say, “I am the best person for you” or perhaps “sorry, I don’t think I can help you”. Being clear from the get go can help your teacher map out the road big or small let them all out!
The first question I ask new students is always, what music do you like to listen to or what music would you like to be able to sing? This generally puts people on the spot and their minds go blank answering simply with “I don’t know”.
That is just unhelpful.
If you are into Iron Maiden and I give you some Schubert you are not going to be happy, are you? So have a think about your favourite bands, artists or musical styles because that way in the beginning you can sing music that you feel comfortable with. It helps your teacher hugely if you come with a few song choices straight off the bat, say 2 – 4 that you really love. They may be too hard, too high or all sorts of things, but it gives the teacher something to work with for that first class.
Bring a bottle of water, some tissues and a sheet of lyrics of a song you know well.
You may not use any of them, but you may do.
Don’t expect to leave the lesson with 500 new things to work on but if you are prepared with simple things such as water, tissues (yes your nose may start running when you start singing) and a sheet of lyrics you are going to be half way there to a successful lesson.
Be open to trying new things, but nerves are to be expected.
Just think your teacher may be nervous too because they want to do their best for you.
This goes without saying really, but I know how it is, the first time you go somewhere you want to arrive extra early to get there and suss things out. Most music teachers work from home in some shape or form. If you arrive early and knock or ring the bell you are probably interrupting the lesson before you or their precious break time. Just chill outside, walk around the block or read in your car before ringing the bell.
You may think it is polite to arrive early, but it can interrupt the flow of the previous lesson and make the other student feel rushed to leave.
For your very first lesson I wouldn’t warm up the voice. I personally like to take singers completely cold through a series of exercises. I find you can mask a lot with a warm voice. Let them hear you without having done anything beforehand to give the teacher a clear idea of your voice. Of course for future lessons it is never bad to warm up beforehand. Check out my YouTube channel for comprehensive warm up tracks.
Basically the first lesson is always more of a “getting to know you” session. You will probably talk, discuss and go through exercises more than you will do any technique work. For me the first lesson with a student is always about seeing if we would be able to work together, if the student is a good fit for the studio and if I am able to give them what they are looking for. I will happily suggest someone works with a colleague of mine if I think I am not the right fit.
Give it some time though, after a first lesson I would always expect to have an action plan outlined or something to go away and work on. You want to have a take-away so that you can progress before the next session.
Good luck with your first singing lesson and let me know down in the comments how you get on, or how was your first singing lesson? What did you like or dislike about it?