Let’s get one thing clear. Youtube is amazing for learning an instrument.
A quick search will have you learning any instrument you like in no time at all. For FREE. Wherever, whenever you like.
Let’s make one more thing clear.
This is NOT a great way to learn how to sing.
Not because there is no one on there teaching correct technique. There are numerous very competent tutors recording very useful video lessons with excellent technical information being given.
But, and here’s the thing, even you if find the best most competent and knowledgeable teacher in the world teaching lessons through pre-recorded videos on youtube, you cannot hear what it is you are doing in response to those lessons.
Literally. You CANNOT hear what you sound like.
Have you ever listened to a voice message back and thought ‘yikes, is that what I sound like?’
You may think that you are 100% sounding awesome, that you are most definitely recreating the technique you are being shown on that video, but in reality, you have no way of knowing this yourself.
Your ears are situated right next to all your sinus passages and resonators within your skull. If you cover your ears, you sound different. If you have a blocked ear, you sound different. If you stand in a different space, or face a wall, you will hear your voice differently.
So, before you go running to youtube, believing it is your passage to being an amazing singer, please stop and think about it.
If you really want to learn how to sing, you absolutely 100% need a teacher who knows what they are listening for to be your sounding board (quite literally).
A video can never replace a vocal tutor. A good tutor will be diagnosing your voice constantly throughout your lesson. They will hear when you are pulling your tongue back, when you are clenching your jaw (if they are really good, they can hear all this without looking at you), if you are breathing too high or if you are not angling the sound where you need it to go.
So, if your new years resolution is to learn to sing, then set aside some money and find a good teacher who will actually help YOU to master those techniques being shown on the really good youtube videos.
Spend some time finding someone who really knows what they are doing. A lot of people teach singing, but tend to just teach you to sing a song in pitch, rather than really looking at what is going on for you vocally. So find the teacher who works for you.
The top things to look for in a singing teacher
- Do you get on with them?
- You need to feel comfortable enough to sound completely idiotic in front of them.
- Are they making you sing songs you don’t like?
- A good teacher will be able to help you improve regardless of what you like to sing. That said, they should also encourage you to broaden your musical listening – a good teacher has a broad variety of songs they can sing.
- Do they challenge you?
- Did you tell them you can’t sing above a certain note and they agreed? If they agree with you, you may find you aren’t going to improve very much at all. A good teacher genuinely wants you to improve your voice. Some teachers are just looking for the easiest way to get your money and would rather not work too hard for it.
- Do they test your limits in the first lesson?
- Did they encourage you to make different sounds, to try moving your larynx (or even explaining what that is) or relax your jaw or sound like a duck? If you didn’t do anything that pushed you in the first lesson, that is a good sign that you aren’t going to really be pushed as a singer with them.
- Do they explain WHY?
- This was my biggest issue with singing lessons growing up. No teachers ever really made an effort to explain to me why we were doing any of the weird stuff we were doing. It is very common for tutors to become tutors because they reach a certain grade in singing, and need to make some money and unfortunately just continue doing exactly what they were made to do as a student, without really knowing why. Thankfully, this is becoming less of a problem, but I still get students through my studio who have been learning for years and still don’t know what their diaphragm actually is, or WHY they are doing any of the techniques they have been asked to use. Knowing WHY you are doing something is KEY to growing as a singer.
Don’t be afraid to test different teachers. Remember, it is YOUR money you are spending, and YOUR voice you want to improve. Teachers are working for YOU, not the other way round.