Voice lessons just for fun

My mom always kinds of jokes about wishing she could sing (she grew up listening to alot of Motown “girl groups” and being quite envious of the backup singers) and laments how she doesn’t think she’s a good enough singer at church.

She doesn’t really have any hobbies except church and crocheting - and as a fairly vibrant 50-some-year-old, i fear that’s too much on the quick path to old lady-dom for her.

So I thought maybe for her birthday I’d try to hook her up with some voice lessons. But I’m not quite sure if it’s acceptable for someone to get a voice teacher without a “goal” in mind such as a career in music or even to be in the chorus in a local musical. I’m guessing she’d probably like a chance to learn a little about reading music, projecting her voice correctly, learning her “range” and whatever else comes with taking voice lessons.

But I don’t want to offend any serious teachers by sending them a very non-traditional student who just wants to try it out and have some fun. I can’t imagine someone who is a local opera star wanting to teach a middle-aged lady to sing doo-wop.

Is it something I could pursue for my mom, or would it just be too silly to try?

It’s not silly at all. You can check out http://www.privatelessons.com/ for some help. Also, look in the classifieds and yellow pages. Some churches have small music schools.

When calling, be sure to mention that this is a gift for your mom and see how much they’ll charge per lesson or for a set of 10 lessons. Ask specifically about adult lessons in Popular or Gospel. And steer clear of those who stress Art Songs or Classical. They tend to look for professionals to train.

This really sounds like a wonderful gift!

It’s not silly at all. The assistant music director at our church gives voice and piano lessons, and she has quite a few adult students, often church members, who take lessons for fun.

You might ask the choir director at her church to recommend a voice teacher, as a matter of fact. If someone at the church teaches as a sideline, it’s often very inexpensive (my kids’ piano lessons are only $15 a week each).

So what kind of things would she be learning in these classes?

DeVena - checked out that link, thanks. Unfortunately no one in our area who teaches pop. Just classical.

When I was 13, I took some lessons in guitar just for fun. I’ve always loved metal and the blues, and I wanted to know how to play them. I wasn’t intending to try and replace Kirk Hammett or anything.

Besides, the voice teacher you pick might find it refreshing to teach someone who wants to know just for the love of the music. I say go for it.

**InternetLegend ** had a great idea to contact the church choir director. They’ll definitely know local people who teach.

OK I’ve not taught for years but here are the basics…

First lesson, the teacher is trying to find the student’s voice. What are her limits of singing comfortably (range) and breath control (wind). Hymns and old songs are easy to use for this. She’ll probably be taught a few simple drills (there are *always * drills) and the importance of warming up before you sing. She’ll probably get assigned a simple song to learn for the next class, if she doesn’t already have a song in mind. I had one man that just wanted to learn to sing “My Way” well.

Second lesson, drills to warm up (and to get her used to drilling). Then she’ll sing the song and the teacher will correct posture, phrasing, pitch, etc.

And so on and so forth. Basically, she’ll learn how to sing without straining and hurting herself, how to control her breath, and how to know when she’s on pitch. Everyone can sing; some are just better at it than others. The more confident she is, the faster she’ll learn and the more fun she’ll have. I only had one student that was truly “tone deaf” and couldn’t find a note with both hands and a flashlight, but he was still a blast to teach because of his great attitude.

And don’t have your mom worry about the church choir. Church choirs are for people who want to “make a joyful noise.” You can learn a lot in a good church choir.

Not silly at all. I’ve just started singing lessons for essentially the same reasons - I love music, and I love to sing along with stuff, but I’m really terrible at it - and I’m having a great time.

So far I’ve only had four lessons, but already I’ve made a lot of improvements. We’ve mainly worked on getting my breathing right (breathing from the diaphram, rather than high in the chest) and doing exercises to get me to use the right areas of my mouth and nasal cavity. My teacher is very physical, has me doing strange exercises while lying on the floor or standing in the bath, or making funny noises with my nose while I sing, but its working well and I’m really enjoying it. The first time I sang a scale properly - pitched correctly and sounding smoooooth - I nearly exploded with joy. I could just feel how right it sounded.

When I started, I (only half-jokingly) told my teacher that my entire aim was to be able to sing along with everyone down at the pub when Bohemian Raphsody came on, and not have everyone tell me to shut up. I’m already doing better than that. In fact, I went along to a karaoke night last week and managed to get out some not-altogether-terrible versions of The Carpenter’s Superstar, and Prince’s Raspberry Beret. At least, no-one died.

I think it’s a great idea for a gift and I’m sure she’ll love it.

I took voice lessons for fun once and it was a blast. My teacher was a former student of mine who was majoring in voice, hence my suggestion as to where to look for teachers: your local college or university. If they have a vocal music department, they will have voice majors who are dying to give lessons for extra cash.

I just noticed your location–you could give her the present at the Rock and Roll HOF. :slight_smile:

Aweome guys, thanks for all the replies!

I’ve talked to a couple people who are going to put me in touch with teachers they know and I’ll go from there.

Sounds like she’ll have fun! :slight_smile: