Are Voice Lessons Worth It?
One of the most common discussions I always hear around community theater is whether or not voice lessons are worth it. And my answer to that is ABSOLUTELY YES. Now, I know that is a very bold statement, however I’m not telling you that you have to go find a voice teacher right now and spend hundreds of dollars or you will suck at theater. NO that is not the case. Some people can totally get by without them. However, if you do plan on pursuing theater professionally, vocal training is definitely necessary. And even if you do not plan on professionally pursuing theater, the tools and tips you learn in vocal training will still benefit you in the long run.
If you are just starting out in the theater world, then obviously you don’t need to go find Natalie Weiss or Colleen Ballinger right away. When I first started out, I trained with my school’s chorus teacher once a week. Just after the first few months, I noticed a HUGE difference in my confidence and vocal performance. Now that I am working professionally, I train with a more advanced teacher in Boston. Since she only trains professional singers, obviously her prices are very high. But, like I said, I did not start with her until I began working professionally. So there is NO NEED to jump to the top right away! Work your way up.
BENEFITS OF VOICE LESSONS:
1. Builds Strength- Since taking voice lessons, my chest voice, belt and overall range have become so much stronger. A vocal coach will teach you the proper breathing techniques to improve these skills. It will be so much easier for you to hit notes and successfully sing your favorite show tunes.
2. Speech- One of the MAIN reasons I say that voice lessons are worth it is because they teach you so much more than just singing! They teach you pronunciation, projection, and how to incorporate personality, all skills that are crucial to your acting and speaking. Regardless of your profession, at some point in your life you will probably have to talk in front of a large group of people. Development of your speech through voice lessons will definitely come in handy throughout your life!
3.Opinion- I never sing a song without consulting my voice coach about it first. I know that she will give me an honest opinion on what fits my voice. Having a voice coach, means there is ALWAYS someone there to help out with picking audition songs. Instead of wondering if a song is right for you or struggling through a piece, you have someone to help you out!
4. Proper Technique- VOCAL NODES. I know you probably just screamed even just seeing those words. Every theater kid’s nightmare! Well, having a voice coach will prevent these terrible things from happening! They will teach you the CORRECT way to sing so that there is no possible way of straining your voice and having any scary nodes creep up on you.
5. Confidence- This is probably the most important thing I have taken away from voice lessons! Before I started, I wouldn’t sing for ANYONE. I was so quiet you probably needed twelve hearing aids just to hear a note come out of my mouth. But, once I started voice lessons my confidence and performance got so much better! The girl who used to sing in whispers was now being told by the sound guy “um so we have to turn your mic down cause we are scared your belt will blow out the speaker” Yes, that actually happened. Take voice lessons and you will turn into the loudest, most confident singer ever.
Like I said at the beginning of the article, I’m not trying to force you into voice lessons by any means.I just wanted to share my side of the argument and provide you with some of the benefits that I’ve taken away from being trained. Voice lessons have definitely been one of the most important steps in my career, and they have gotten me to where I am today.
Though I feel very strongly about my opinions on this topic, I would love to hear what you all think! Comment your voice lesson experiences or whether or not you think they are necessary below!
Photo: Margaret Carpenter rehearses with music professor Dr. Nancy Walker