Singing Lessons F.A.Q. 

Here are top 35 most frequently asked questions that my New York City students ask me about singing lessons (voice lessons) and vocal coaching (voice coaching) with me.

Q: How long will it take for me to learn how to sing?

A: It depends on the level of singing that you wish to achieve. Most of my students in NYC are professional singers or are looking to become such. Almost all of my students hear a very noticeable improvement in every lesson. They also improve on a weekly basis if they practice for 30 minutes to 1 hour a day. If you have a trained musical ear and want to sing basic contemporary songs (Rock, Pop, R&B etc), it usually takes about 3 months of consistent voice lessons with me in order to sing in tune with a pleasant vocal tone. If you want to learn how to make your voice sound more beautiful or sing higher or reach a professional level, it may take more time.

Q: Can you teach me how to sing in tune while performing live and in a recording studio?

A: Yes, I can teach you how to sing in tune in any setting - live and in a recording studio. A lot of my New York City students are recording artists or are looking to be such. They bring the material they are looking to record in the studio to their singing lessons. I show my students how to fix their pitch, placement, nasality, diction and more. I teach my students how to develop a personal style and a unique vocal tone.

Q: How can I fix my pitch issues?

A: Pitch is the most common issue that my NYC students address. Pitch is a variable of many factors all of which I go over in your private singing lessons (voice lessons), which include vocal coaching (voice coaching). If you are hearing the melody correctly in your head, but are unable to execute it in tune, this means that there are physical things with your body that you are doing incorrectly.

Q: What styles of singing do you teach? 

A: I offer voice lessons and vocal coaching (voice coaching) in all styles Pop, Rock, Alternative, R&B, Jazz, Blues, Gospel, Classical, Heavy Metal, Country, Musical Theater and more.

Q: I have a low voice - can you help me sing higher?

A: Yes. There are many things you can learn and apply in order to sing higher such as breath support, placement, vocal resonances, singing on the vowels and more. In addition, there might be things you are currently doing that prevent your voice from reaching high notes such as vocal abuse. I will let you know in your private voice lesson what the best strategy for you is. A lot of my New York City students perform exercises that go up to C7 in their private lessons and in group lessons.

Q: My voice goes hoarse after 2 hours of singing - can you help me?

A: As I mentioned earlier, most of my students in New York City are professional singers and have to sing for many hours every day. Yes, I can teach you how to be able to sing 8 or more hours a day without going hoarse. In fact, if you're following my technique exactly, your voice should be getting better and better as the day goes on.

Q: Starting what age do you teach kids?

A: On average, children can start singing lessons with me starting at age 3.5 years old. Sometimes I accept kids who just turned 3. The ability to read is not necessary. It's best to start training children as early as possible. Most of the children that I teach in NYC are professional singers and actors. I coach them on how to sing the material for their auditions.

Q: My child loves to sing but has a poor natural ability. Can my child be taught how to improve?

A: Absolutely. Singing is not a talent it’s a skill. On the technique that I teach, the way I teach it, you should hear an improvement in your child's voice in every lesson and on weekly basis with daily 1-hour practice. Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey learned the same vocal technique that I teach starting at age 4. Here is a link to a video where Mariah Carey briefly discusses her vocal training that she received from her mother https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzvaBifa2vo.

Q: I haven't had any singing lessons, voice lessons, or any kind of vocal coaching as a child. I am in my 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's etc. Is it too late for me to start now?

A: It's never too late. Singing is a skill that you can learn at any age. Adults typically improve quickly if they are consistent with taking weekly lessons and practicing every day.  I’ve taught students ranging from 20's to 80’s with remarkable improvements. The key is to be consistent with your voice lessons and to prioritize good habits.

Q: Do you accept hobby singers?

A: Yes. 

Q: I think I have vocal nodules (vocal nodes) - do you teach singers how to recover from this condition?

A: Yes, I teach singers how to recover from vocal nodules and how to sing around them while maintaining a professional career. In most cases, nodules will dissipate in 3 to 6 months. The recovery from vocal cysts and vocal polyps is more complicated. So many of my NYC students come to me with nodules, cysts, polyps or any combination their of. It's always best to learn a healthy vocal technique early on in your career. The recovery time varies greatly.

Q: Can you tell me if I have vocal damage or vocal abuse?

A: Yes, I would have to hear how you sound in a private lesson.

Q: Who taught you how to sing and what is your musical background?

A: I've taken lessons in various techniques with various teachers since age 4. I know all major vocal techniques and use the most effective one.

Q: Can you teach me how to sing contemporary songs in Spanish?

A: Yes. I teach singers how to sing specific songs of all genres and opera pieces in Spanish. Although I am not a native speaker. 

Q: Do you teach Opera and in what languages can I bring the material?

A: Yes. I teach my students how to sing Classical repertoire in Italian, Spanish, French, Russian, German and English.

Q: What can I do to prevent vocal damage?

A: Here are some things you can do to prevent vocal damage:

  1. Avoid speaking and singing with glottal strokes or vocal fries. 
  2. Avoid abusive vocal techniques. Certain vocal techniques and aspects can cause vocal abuse.
  3. Avoid doing lip trills of the Speech Level Singing Technique. Lip trills are vocally abusive due to the fact that you’re hitting your vocal chords against each other while singing them.
  4. Avoid repeating “kah” exercises designed to raise your soft palate in order to sound dark. The dark sound is outdated and repeating "ka" directly causes vocal nodules, vocal cysts and vocal polyps over time.

Q: My producer wants me to sing with vocal fries, also known as glottal strokes and glottal fries, on my recordings. Is there a healthy way of singing with vocal fries?

A: No. There is no healthy way of executing vocal fries, glottal strokes, or glottal fries. Once you learn proper technique, you should be able to record studio vocals in a few takes during which you can choose to glottal stroke for the stylistic benefit. However, when you are performing live, it's best to avoid vocal fries. 

Q: I've had Bel Canto lessons before, but still have vocal issues. Is this technique right for my voice? How many lessons would I have to take in order to hear an improvement?

A: A lot of my NYC students had Bel Canto lessons before with other teachers and experienced minimal results as compared to what they could've been. Some teachers only say they teach Bel Canto but don’t actually teach it. Students who experienced it, usually have a tremendous improvement when they come to me for voice lessons. Other vocal coaches teach a partial version of Bel Canto or elements of it. As a result, their students may have numerous vocal issues that need to be corrected. Lastly, there are many different variations of the Bel Canto technique. I know all the variations of Bel Canto and the version that I teach is the most effective. I can go over all the main versions of Bel Canto in your private singing lessons.

Q: Is there a specific tea or type of food that helps improve the voice? 

A: There are some drinks, such as coffee, that dehydrate singers and should be avoided in large amounts. While other drinks, such as orange juice and milk, may cause phlegm and are not recommended. I do recommend eggs or other sources of protein to enhance the benefits of a proper vocal technique since singers have to engage their abdominal muscles in order to sing. 

Q: Will doing cardio help me sing better?

A: If you combine cardio with a proper vocal technique, then yes. Doing cardio without improving your skills will have a minimal to no effect.

Q: Does drinking olive oil improve your voice? I heard Selena Gomez drinks it to improve her voice.

A: No, olive oil does not help singers improve their singing ability.

Q: Is coffee bad for your voice?

A: If you stay hydrated, one cup of coffee is fine in my opinion. 

Q: Is alcohol bad for your voice?

A: In my opinion, beer, wine, and champagne are fine in moderation while hard alcohol should be avoided. In New York City, a lot of my students work as bartenders while pursuing professional singing careers. I definitely see a correlation between drinking too much too often and vocal abuse and vocal "weakness." Alcohol relaxes the muscles that you need to engage for singing. A lot of my students say that they feel heavy drinking effects them for up to 72 hours and, I have to say, I agree.

Q: I have no talent for singing. Is there hope for me?

A: Singing ability is not a talent. It's a skill that you can learn at any age. About one in ten thousand people are tone deaf - they can not be taught how to sing, to my knowledge. As long as you are not a mute and are not tone deaf, you can learn how to sing on a professional level. 

Q: How long before taking a singing lesson should I eat (breakfast, lunch, dinner)?

A: You can eat 30 minutes to 2 hours before your voice lesson - that would be best.

Q: Do I have to know how to read sheet music in order to take singing lessons or vocal coaching lessons with you?

A: No, ability to read sheet music is not required for vocal coaching (voice coaching) or singing lessons (voice lessons) with me. 

Q: My child doesn’t know how to read. Can she/he still be taught how to sing?

A: Yes. Reading ability is not required for singing lessons with me

Q: What should I bring to my first singing lesson?

A: You can bring lyrics to any song that you need help with or desire to learn how to sing. 

Q: How often should I take singing lessons with you?

A: Vocal coaching is a process and should be done on regular basis. You should take vocal coaching lessons, or voice lessons, once or twice a week. 

Q: My voice has no vibrato - is it something that you teach your students how to create?

A: Yes, I can teach you to sing with a vibrato. Anyone can develop a vibrato. In New York City, there are a lot of singing teachers, voice teachers, vocal coaches and voice coaches that teach other techniques which don't help students produce a vibrato. Some of these techniques result in a tremolo they these teacher call vibrato. I teach how to create the real vibrato.

Q: My vibrato is too fast or sounds goat-like. Can it be fixed?

A: Yes, I can show you how to fix it. What you are referring to is called a tremolo in Bel Canto, which is a mistake in your vocal technique. The vibrato that I teach my students how to produce sounds like Whitney Houston's vibrato. Male singers can refer to Italian Trio called IL VOLO for an example of a male vibrato that I teach how to create. 

Q: Am I tone deaf? How do I know if I’m tone deaf?

A: One of in ten thousand people are tone deaf. Tone deaf people don't have inflection in their voices when they speak. This means that they don't bend pitch when they speak since they can't hear it. When you ask a question, your pitch goes up on the last vowel bending it upward. For example, when you say "really?" as a question, those who are not tone deaf will bend the last "ee" upward. If you can bend the "ee" upward, then you are not tone deaf. 

Q: Can you teach me how to sing R&B riffs?

A: Yes, anyone can sing R&B riffs with proper vocal training. This general rule excludes those who are mute and or tone deaf. A lot of my NYC students are professional R&B singers or aspiring to become such. I cover all aspect of professional R&B singing and vocal coaching with them.

Q: Can I take only your Voice Building Group Class without private lessons?

A: Yes. However, you should take at least one private singing lesson with me first so that I can teach you a proper breath support. Most of my New York City students are professional singers and some of my group classes are meant for professionals only.

Q: What kind of set-up and equipment do I need to have in order to take my voice lesson on Skype?

A: You need a cell phone and one of the following: a desktop computer, or a laptop, or an iPad.