By Renee Grant-Williams
Fifteen years ago if you wanted to learn how to sing you had 2 choices, purchase a “how to CD” or work with a vocal coach. But, the internet has changed all that. With YouTube, Vimeo and a variety of other video hosting sites you have a veritable smorgasbord of free vocal lessons available to you.
Free singing online lessons initially sound like a perfectly sane concept. And indeed, they could be just the thing for those singers who don’t have easy access to an urban center teeming with singing coaches. These singers are forced to reach out beyond their home base in order to find good vocal teachers.
On the singer’s side of the equation, we know the price for free singing online lessons is right. Free is free, after all. Voice lessons are expensive and not all aspiring singers are living on a trust fund. So maybe free singing online lessons could be a solution to the problem of finding inexpensive voice training?
Let’s start with the discipline issue. Not everyone is a totally motivated self-starter. Learning in a vacuum via a one-way communication may not be the most realistic approach for many of us. When you have little accountability and no pressure to demonstrate progress, it’s easy to lose focus and commitment. However, you could probably use online singing lessons to good advantage if your obsession with music is sufficient.
There is also the question of which system to use. Concepts of technique and training vary widely (and wildly) from voice teacher to voice teacher. And you can bet there are about as many types of free singing online lessons as there are people to teach them. How do you know which is right for you? Yes, they are free, but you are the one who will be making a personal investment of your time — something many of us value more than money.
As you search for a free singing online vocal guru, find out the following:
What formal musical education they have had
What professional experience they have had
Whether they are used to working with beginners or professionals
If they can describe their philosophy of learning with clarity
If they can point to successful clients they have trained
Whether they have endorsers who are available to speak to you
And from your personal perspective, try to define your level of commitment:
Will you truly make time to give the lessons a chance
How you will avoid simply collecting a mish-mash of conflicting ideas
How you will evaluate your progress
How you will find and build a relationship with a musical mentor
Whether you will actually value and use something that is free
Because I travel a lot, I often find myself in the company of strangers who come to learn through conversation that I do vocal teaching. Inevitably they have questions they want to ask. I used to answer their questions freely. But, you know what? They would invariably argue with me.
So I took a new stance. Now I tell them that I would be happy to answer their question, but that first, could they give me 50 cents? Or a quarter. Or a dollar. Something — anything — that would put me in the professional position of “teacher.” Once money changes hands, people rarely argue with what I have to say.
You will need to evaluate your level of commitment. There are few totally free lunches to be had. Free singing online lessons may be the perfect plan for highly-motivated individuals, but the rest of us should look out for the slippery slope on the down-side.
Good learning cries out for a balanced synergy of student and vocal coach.
If you would like to give free online voice lessons a try here’s a link to my own Free Video Voice Lessons. Give them a try and this should help you decide if you can do well learning on your own or if you need to take the plunge and find a vocal teacher to work with.