Category :

Career Advice

How To Tell If You Need Singing Lessons

How To Tell If You Need Singing Lessons

Lots of my clients ask me about how far someone’s “natural” singing ability can be improved or how someone who seemingly “can’t sing” could find that they could sing reasonably well after all. How is it possible that we are so convinced that a naturally gifted singer has nothing to learn and someone who’s never taken any lessons is right in assuming they are ‘no good’ at singing?

The first rule with any question like this is – test your theory. For example, if I am convinced I cannot sing but have never had lessons, where am I getting my information from? How can I be convinced of something I’ve never tried? Or worse still, how can I be sure I “can’t sing” purely from my conclusion about what things other people (who also have never had singing lessons) have told me over the years? The only answer is to go and have some lessons with different teachers, assume that I know nothing about singing and see what happens.

So, if you have an un-tested theory about your singing, that’s one good reason to have singing lessons. Another is, if you have been struggling in some way with your singing and you can’t seem to fix the problem yourself. For example, if you have trouble finding enough breath to get through your favourite but challenging song at the original tempo, maybe you have some bad habits with your breathing technique for singing. On the other hand, if you’re having breathing trouble and you’re a smoker, you may just need to quit smoking and that will fix 99% of the problem. If you’re not sure, hire a singing teacher and find out!

QuitSmokingAlso, if you are someone who finds it hard to motivate yourself to practise but you are enthusiastic about improving your singing, it can be beneficial to work with a voice coach just to get into a systematic pattern of singing practice and learning new songs to build up your repertoire at the same time. By having regular lessons booked in advance, you commit to having this month or two to focus on singing as your main goal, which is key in making progress. Only consistent practice with a clear goal in mind will help you make progress quickly but solidly.

If you have other milestones on the horizon such as a performance or audition, it can also be incredibly helpful to have singing lessons in the lead-up to it, in order to help build your confidence and stamina for the kind of work you’ll need to be able to do under the pressure of a live audience. (And remember – even in the studio, you have the ‘live’ audience of the sound engineer to sing in front of, so it’s advantageous to get to the point of feeling comfortable singing in the presence of other people.)


You may also need help in choosing the right kind of song to sing for an audition and a vocal coach will probably have a wider knowledge of suitable songs than you.

Where it can be unhelpful to have singing lessons would be when you’re too busy to fit in regular practice between lessons or where you’re embarking on singing lessons with a teacher who teaches a completely different genre of singing than the style you’re aiming for. Sometimes it can be useful to get a different perspective, but if you have a clear idea in your head of wanting to be great at singing jazz ballads, then you’d be disappointing yourself and probably your teacher too, if you’ve signed up for opera singing classes. Be aware of what you want to get out of the lessons. The more you know about what you want to be able to ‘walk away with’, the more you can weigh-up the offers the vocal coach has displayed on his or her website or advert and see if you’d be a good fit for each other.

Additionally, if you’re quite happy singing along to the radio while you’re doing the washing up or driving in your car but you’ve no particular goal in mind of wanting to improve or sing other songs, then it’s perfectly ok to leave things as they are. Speaking as a vocal coach myself, there is nothing wrong in using singing in your day-to-day pottering about without having to go to a teacher for lessons. No good vocal coach would want to teach a student with no goal in mind other than to just ‘continue singing’. If you’re already doing that without problems, what’s the point? If it ain’t broke…



Rowen Bridler is a singer-songwriter, actress and voice coach. She currently lives in South West England, but coaches clients all over the world via Skype. She specialises in coaching singers and actors to build their confidence, take risks in their performances and quickly fix any song or speech problem areas using simple and systematic techniques. She recently acted in the Ole Bornedal ‘1864’ film playing the role of Johanna von Bismarck, speaking in German, and shot her latest music video for her next single release in Prague. In her spare time, she can be found wearing Cookie Monster t-shirts, performing her ‘tea and chat’ mini-concerts for subscribers and reading old copies of British Vogue.


5 Mistakes to Avoid When Preparing Your Demo

Everything You Need to Know About Branding

How to Sell More Music as an Unsigned Artist

Musicians, the gig economy, and online learning... a happy (but dysfunctional) family.

If You Want to be a Recording Artist You Need the Right Development

15 Things You Must Do to Make it in the Music Industry

Saying no to everything else

Managing Expectations

Consistency Equals Success

How To Get Better: Practice

Separate The Emotion From The Event

Turn it down a few notches, please!

Are You Taking Ownership Of Your Songwriting Success?

The Shawshank Songwriter

Show Me Your Songwriting Friends, And I'll Show You Your Future

Getting out of a bad place

Taking your Music From a Hobby to a Career

How to change or build your career


4 important qualities of a band manager

Touring Advantages/Disadvantages From Less Than Jake

What musicians can learn from Joan Rivers

What you can learn from Bob Dylan's Career

Yes You're Talented, But Remember This…

Two Things That You Can Do to Start Making Music Industry Contacts Today

Promoting Music Internationally – The Right Way

How to Sell More Merchandise at Your Show

How To Reach The Best Music Business Contacts. Period.

4 Ways To Be A Boss A$$ Indie Artist

Are you over looking this strategy to becoming a better musician

Why You Should Be Doing House Shows

It's All of Your Business

Don't Buy Your Own Tunes

What If You Didn't Need Money or Attention?

Why Bands Need to Stop Bitching

What's In Your Toolbox?

Why You Need a Live Music Producer (And Don't Even Know It)

Many Eggs, Many Baskets: How to Make a Living as a Musician in 2014

Your Music is Just a Hobby. So What? Part 1 of TBD

Defining Success And How To Achieve It With A Career In Music

Why Talent Isn't Enough

Why You Need Your Own Superhero Alter-Ego

How To Make It In The Music Industry

What If The Label Says "YES"?

How to Avoid Artistically Starving to Death

20 Worst Indie Artist Mistakes

Why Your Most Important Tool In Being A Successful Indie Musician Might Actually Be Your Day Job

The Importance of Branding as Recording Artists

Why Bad Days Can Do You A World Of Good

How To Ruin Your Music Career In 10 Easy Steps – Part 2 (Steps 6-10)

How to Stay Motivated to Make Music

The Self-Promotion Tactic that Fails Every Time

3 Important Lessons In Success From Bob Dylan

Sell 1000 CD's In a Weekend

Music Licensing – 90 Day Challenge

Superfans: The Key to a Sustainable Music Career

A Solution To The DIY Artists Biggest Challenge

How To Ruin Your Music Career In 10 Easy Steps – Part 1 (Steps 1-5)

What to Look For In A Distributor

Does 99% of Jazz Suck? – The Jazz Kickstarter That Seduced 870 Backers

Are You Making These 9 Band Rehearsal Mistakes?

Enhancing Your Music Marketing: The Ultimate Guide to Creating Press Kits for Musicians

7 Important Aspects to Getting Noticed in the Music World

7 Tactics to Double the Size of Your Fanbase

Why The Vocals On Your Track Are Vitally Important And How You Can Improve Them

Top 3 Tips To Find The Right Singing Teacher

Some Will Always Say You're Wrong

That Time'n Thang

Leap Of Faith


Question & Doubt

Eat Lighting

Connecting With People In The Industry

Five Reasons You're Not Licensing More Music

The Importance Of Following Up In The Music Licensing Business

How To Fund Your Band's Kickstarter When You Have No Fan Base

Human Intervention as a Competitive Advantage

A Quick & Dirty Guide to Branding

Why it Pays to Replace Self-Promotion with Selflessness

Rules for Confronting a Difficult Band Member

Valuable To Others, or Only You?

It's All Who You Know?

Ignore Your Website & Social Networks and Your Career Will Suffer

Three Intelligent Ways to Make a Living as a Musician

What Musicians Should Carry at all Times

Sometimes Big Promo Doesn't Work

Avoid Band Drama: Be Up Front

How To Effectively Handle A Flaky Band Member

Why No One Is Listening To Your Music

Establish Your Blueprint

How To Avoid Serious Mistakes When Choosing An Agent

Managing The Fear of The Unknown In The Music Industry

How To Balance A Family, Your Music Career, And Your Stresses

MusicPreneur - The New Music Industry Mindset

Band Leading 202 - Gigs

How Does An Independent Artist Stay Relevant While Creating New Music?

What It Takes To Be A Successful DIY Independent Artist

Band Leading 101 - Rehearsal

How To Make Lots Of Money Selling Your Merchandise

Why You Need Great Pictures As An Artist

Overnight Success - Does That Happen?

The Power of Positive Thinking

Goal Setting Tips That Work

Easy Tips For Engaging Your Fans

Getting Things Done As A Team

4 Common Newsletter Mistakes You Should Avoid

Creating Your Social Media Image

Effectively Utilize Your Youtube Music Videos

Tips For Building A Bigger Fanbase

How To Build A Professional Music Team

The Top 5 Ways To Get Noticed in Today's Music Industry

Why Radio Spins Matter And Tips On How To Get Them

Networking Essentials For The Music Business

Why You Should Be On Pinterest

Signup Free