Singing 101

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

One. What is bel canto technique?
Bel canto means, "beautiful singing." Bel Canto comes from Italian opera singers and is four centuries old. Bel canto singers have range, flexibility, vibrato and unmatched beauty in their singing style.

Two. What is speech-level singing?
Speech-level singing [by Seth Riggs] feels and sounds a lot like speaking. It is natural, contemporary and powerful - but it's not belting! This healthy head-chest blend is ideal for pop, jazz & musical theater singers. It's the technique of the amazing Mariah, Whitney Houston, Kelly Clarkson & Pink.

Three. Can a singer be cross-trained in more than one genre/style?
Yes. And every singer really should be. In my studio, all students learn to sing in every style/genre. No matter what you are singing the technique is always the same, however, the diction, nuances and vowel shapes are slightly different from one style to the next. Every genre has it’s own challenges and should be respected as invaluable.

Four. How often should I practice?
Professional singers practice most days a week, which is what I expect of my advanced students. For the beginner, practice time may start at 30 minutes a few times per week, and progress from there. Advanced singers with solid technique can sing for hours upon hours with no vocal fatigue whatsoever.

Five. How long is a voice lesson?
A typical lesson is approximately 1 hour. I recommend 1-2 lessons per week. In a typical lesson, we will spend half the time on technique, and the rest of the lesson on repertoire. Students often like to include musicianship and confidence - which I am happy to do! :-)

Six. Why are voice lessons so expensive?
Simply stated, you get what you pay for. I have never heard of a qualified voice teacher charging less than $60 per hour. The market rate for an experienced, educated and knowledgable voice teacher is anywhere from $100-300 per hour. Please do not waste your precious time and money with teachers that are not improving (and oftentimes even ruining) your voice.

Seven. I've been in lessons for years, but still can't sing well. Why?
Anyone with a basic ear for pitch can learn to sing well. There are no exceptions so long as the student is working diligently and the teacher is equipped to produce results. Your voice teacher will literally make or break your chances of having a career. Get the absolute best teacher whom you can afford and watch for tangible growth in your voice. If you aren't steadily learning, improving and succeeding - it's time to find a new voice teacher.

Eight. How long does it take to learn to sing?
Learning to sing well enough to sustain a healthy and vibrant career as a professional singer usually takes 5+ years. Creating a polished voice takes around 2-4 years of study with an excellent teacher that is not wasting your time. In my case, I have been studying in serious voice lessons for over 25 years. Even after all this time, I still receive voice lessons regularly.

Nine. How do I know I am improving in my voice lessons?
You should record every lesson and every few months - check for marked improvement. Ask your singer friends to sit in on your lessons and to give you feedback. Sing for family members from time to time. When auditioning, you should be receiving more and more positive feedback. You should be steadily getting more solos/roles/gigs, and your confidence should be growing.

Ten. What kind of student is the ideal student for learning to sing?
Attitude is everything, followed by commitment, and then talent. I need my students to trust me to guide them during their lessons in a way that is best for their voice. During the week I expect them to practice diligently and then give me feedback (during their next lesson) on what they are learning and how they are growing. Dedication means everything to me when it comes to accepting new students into my studio.

If you are passionate about singing, ready to learn from an expert teacher and willing to dedicate yourself to weekly lessons/practice time, then you are ready to start the life-changing process of becoming a singer!

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Chung Music Company 2018