At an early age, one of the first musical instruments we start experiencing with are our voices. Short after we discover that we have a voice we can manage and we begin producing our first sounds with it, we start singing because we discover we can “play” with that. This is the very beginning of a singing path we may want to continue walking during our lives.
Every voice has its own melody, even when we speak -if you pay attention, you will notice each one of us has a certain cadence-. From that, it is very easy when we are kids to start trying out with our voices as if it was some kind of game. And we really enjoy it! Just look at children around you; singing is everywhere in their everyday lives. They propose us to sing early in the kindergarten when we start associating certain actions or objects with songs we learn. Singing encourages us to do and to learn things. At home, it is very common as well so we often get and are taught songs for taking a bath, for brushing our teeth, for sleeping… and the list could continue! Therefore, our voice is an important element and tool in our learning from a very early stage of our lives, not only because we start naming things, emotions and situations with it at the time we start speaking (communication, no less) but also because we start playing with the sounds we are able to produce (music). In fact, there is a theory that says that Language and Music in human beings are located in the same gen (kind of a chip we have).
Now, is singing natural? Well, although is not as natural as we believe, for some it gets natural. And if we train our voices, we can get to use them in a healthy way and to learn a technique. This is why I said before that Singing is not entirely natural; because we need to obtain certain skills in order to do it well and produce something nice without hurting or using our voices in a negative way that could lead us to larynx pathologies such as nodules, muscle tension disorder of the vocal chords and many other problems that require medical and professional help afterwards (and the truth is those treatments are usually long, tiring and discouraging, which turns out to be counterproductive in the end). Therefore, it is necessary to get proper singing education, not only because we want to sound well and wish to reach certain notes or approach certain songs we have always dreamed of singing, but also because we do not want to hurt our throats.
Finding a teacher is not always something easy. Better to say, it is easy to find a teacher, but we may walk a long way until we come upon a professional who is really able to understand our particular needs, listen to our voices and easily get their characteristics and problems and teach us in a healthy, clear and pleasant way. It sounds like too much, doesn’t it? But in fact it is the least we require when it comes to singing education. We cannot forget our body is our own instrument and if we do not take good care of it, we cannot get another at the Musical Instruments Store.
So, pay extreme attention when looking for a good teacher. First of all, we should notice that this person can name our problems or difficulties (in case we have them) and is able to offer solutions that will be tried out to find the best for us. Then, we should see in the short or mid-term that we improve. That doesn’t mean that we should immediately be able to sing an operatic aria, but we should notice a change, perhaps not a great one but something that makes you see a difference straight away. By no means should we feel that our throat hurts or is being forced or that there is tension because the teacher is urging us to reach extreme notes. We should be able to widen our voice range for singing, of course, but it should be in a gradual way. And we should feel we are comfortable in the environment that the teacher is offering for our lesson.
In a singing lesson there should be kind words and comprehension, clarity, understanding of the fears, aim to help finding the student’s musical identity. There should be effort, of course, but it must be always connected with pleasure. These are some of the keys that will make the difference when it comes to singing education.