Basically, singing lessons should be as long and as frequent as you can afford them!
This is true for singers, whether you’re a beginner or a touring musician.
Wait, does that mean I need to have multiple lessons every week?
No, I’m not suggesting you should have a singing lesson every day – that’s a bit much! But a lesson at least once a week is beneficial for 99% of our students.
Normally, students benefit most from a 60 minute lesson every week to work in-depth on their voice and take a look at a song at the same time. This gives the teacher, and you as the student, an idea of how well you’re practicing and progressing.
But if 60 minutes a week is not financially viable for you, it’s better to have a 30 or 45 minute lesson every week.
When you’re training your voice, frequency is much better than duration – you don’t want to form any unhealthy or bad habits!
So, let’s put that in perspective
If you’re training for a marathon, you need to go running more than once a week, don’t you? You aren’t just going to go for a 15 mile run on a Monday and not do anything for the rest of the week – any bets you’ll go for 3 or 4 runs across the week rather than do it all in one go. Marathon training requires lots of regular training with scheduled rest days; singing is the same.
So, why do you break it down into small sessions?
The more you do it, the better your stamina gets, so you can increase the pace/distance/terrain of your run each time. In between sessions you refine your technique to get a better time, protect yourself from injury and increase your endurance levels.
Singing is pretty much the same – yes, you are working with your voice rather than your body, but the basic way of training is the same. The more you can train and refine your technique, the stronger and more developed your voice becomes.
Think of each singing lesson as touching base with your teacher. They’re going to assess your progression between lessons, and will give you the correct tools to help you to continue to progress quickly and easily.
Another benefit of regular lessons is that any problems in your practise are caught quickly. Imagine if you have one lesson a month and practised the exercise wrong every day for 4 weeks. That’s now a new problem to fix, and one that you have started to assimilate as a habit in that time.
Now think of the same scenario, but its only 6 days until your next lesson, so chances are we’ll catch it before it becomes a bigger issue.
But, I’ve got a gig/concert/tour coming up, I need more than one session a week!
Trying to schedule more than once a week would be ideal. If you’re a practicing musician; for example if you have several residencies or go busking every day, then it stands that the more frequently you have lessons, the better it’s going to be for you.
Olympic athletes train with their trainers every single day to ensure they are progressing and building results and professional singers are the same.
Many singers going on tour will consult a singing teacher daily for weeks before the tour, and regularly touch base with them during the tour as well for a tune up or to address problems that came up during a gig.
Remember, it’s down to you as well
In your lesson, your teacher can only do so much to help you progress. It’s up to you to practice in between your lessons and develop that stamina and vocal coordination you’ll need to maintain your vocal health.
The more frequently you practice, the better your technique and stamina gets, so the quicker you’ll be able to master that tricky song you’ve been working on!
But, be aware!
For a vocalist, too much practicing can also damage your vocal chords. Make sure you discuss your aims and goals, as a good teacher will help you plan to achieve those goals.
The plan should not only center around the teachers scope, but a combined beneficial plan that is centers around your goals as well. Having a couple of lessons a week depending on your needs as a singer is good, but if you feel it’s not necessary, then scaling back to once a week will be advised.
So remember, singing lessons should be as long and as frequent as you can afford them – but remember that frequency is better than duration! If in doubt, consult your teacher and discuss your thoughts and concerns. A good teacher will give you advice similar to what’s outlined above, and will always have your best interests at heart.