Dec 21 / Molly McLinden

How Long Should My Lessons Be?

.A common question I get from first time voice students is “how long should my voice lessons be?”
This is also something many parents ask about when they first contact me. 

The first factor to consider is definitely age. My rule of thumb is that lessons for those under 12 should always be 30 minutes. The reason why I believe this works best is because children tend to have much shorter attention spans- it’s not necessary to go into as much detail regarding vocal technique and repertoire! It would be much harder to fully engage the student in a longer lesson . Also, keep in mind that they are not a fully formed instrument yet: they really don’t NEED additional time! For now, it’s a matter of teaching just the basics of both technique and musicianship, and making it fun for them as well. 

The next thing to consider are the student’s goals. Are there particular things they aspire to do, such as rock an open mic night, or start auditioning for local musicals? If so,they may want to consider an hour long lesson. Typically, I spend the first half on vocal technique, and then the second half on polishing their songs with them so they get to feeling that they’re “ready for prime time”!

But, suppose they don’t care about performing. No, not everyone who signs up for voice lessons dreams of being in the spotlight! Believe it or not, I work with quite a few adults that are terrified at the very thought of it. They take voice lessons with me just because they find it fun and consider it a hobby ! In that case, they can go with whatever feels right to them, either 30 minutes or an hour . There’s no right or wrong. There is plenty they can learn in either time frame.

Lastly, I’d say to consider how quickly you want to make progress. Even if you’re not out to perform, perhaps singing is something you really want to master, just for you. I work with some adult students who prefer hour long lessons even though they are beginners who don’t want to perform any time soon. They happen to like longer lessons because they have plenty of time to practice at home and really enjoy the whole process. Likewise, I have students who are very busy and can only fit in 30 minute lesson every other week. These students still work very hard for those 30 minutes, and make the time here and there to practice (sometimes during their work commute!). 

Keep in mind that many teachers are willing to customize for you. Maybe you usually do 30 minutes, but once in a while you have an upcoming performance you really want to make solid and would like more help with your song(s). I always allow my students to mix it up, realizing that needs will certainly change. 

So, the short answer? It’s all up to you if you’re a teen or adult. We are all different, so there is no one way to do voice lessons!

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