Updated: Jun 3, 2020
You want to learn to sing or further develop your vocal talents and you are torn between vocal lessons online and seeking out a teacher at a studio.
As professional musicians and teachers, we feel that we are in a good position to research and recommend possible solutions to your problem. Below we have made some relevant comparisons between the two options, using the tried and tested Pros/Cons framework. We hope it helps you make the important decision to bring the joys and benefits of music into your life.
Bricks and Mortar Studios
You get the benefit of one-on-one tuition and if you have questions they get answered immediately.
You have the undivided live attention of the instructor for the duration of the lesson. This means that he/she can deal right away with any challenges that come up during the session such as posture, intonation or style.
The continuous live interaction between student and teacher allows him/her to constantly assess your ability and progress, and consistently offer encouragement to help your vocal development.
If you are into contests and competitions, then those opportunities are available at any time through the instructor's connections, knowledge and recommendations.
Bricks and Mortar Studios II
By the very nature of the Studio option, you will have to set aside the same time and day each week for your live lesson and travel to the studio. And if you keep changing the time and/or day of your lesson for whatever reason, you will irritate the instructor,
who after all has his/her own schedule to follow. Also, your own vocal progress will as a result, be slower.
Music teachers usually work in 30, 45 or 60 minute time slots, and the better ones make sure that they run on schedule. This can lead to unnecessary tension and stress towards the end of a lesson, for obvious reasons.
Lessons have to be paid in advance, often monthly, regardless of whether or not you attend. Make up lessons are rare these days and so if you cannot make a lesson, you could find that you are not getting your money's worth.
One-on-one music lessons can be expensive. If you take lessons say for one school year for 1 hour per week at $75.00 per lesson, then you are spending approximately $3000.00 per year for lessons.
Learn From Online Courses
The main reason people take music lessons online is convenience. Once you have purchased the course, you can work with it in your own time and at your own convenience. If you don't feel like completing a lesson on any particular day, you can do it the next day without feeling that you are wasting your money.
Cost is another strong motivator. As previously mentioned, the cost of regular private lessons can really add up and most online courses range upwards of $25.00 to $500.00 or more. Once purchased there are few other expenses involved, and often you get additional bonuses at no extra cost to you.
The better courses lay out a summary of the entire syllabus in text and/or video form for you, so you can readily see the light at the end of the tunnel right from day one.
Many courses use video, which is a great learning tool. Video enables you to get real examples of the exercises you are trying to master. Lots of encouragement should always be offered, as well as possible solutions to individual challenges.
There is usually a strong support system in place to answer any questions or concerns that you may have along the way. Skype or similar software is available to give you one-on-one time if you so desire, though that sometimes involves extra fees.
Some courses allow you to record your voice and playback the results so that you can determine your own progress more easily.
Learn From Online Courses II
The one-size-fits-all solution does not appeal to everyone. All voices are different and some more different from others! If for example, you have an unusual sound or timbre to your voice or you have a pitch problem there will be no-one there to assist you immediately. If you have a posture challenge, who will immediately correct it?
Tutors within a vocal course will encourage you most of the time. However, sometimes you need a personal live 'hug' to make you feel better about your vocal challenges.
The course support systems are in place for the better vocal courses, but sometimes you have to wait 24 - 48 hours for an answer to your question. And try asking more than one question at a time. It can seem like forever before you can continue with your online course.
One of the biggest stumbling blocks is the massive hype and claims that some vocal courses boast. "Sound like a professional in under 2 weeks". or "Even if you have no singing experience you'll sound like a pro" and other ridiculous claims such as "Earn money as a professional singer with only practicing 15 minutes a day". In fact, qualified and experienced teachers and performers all know that it takes time, consistency, patience and hard work to develop your vocal abilities to their fullest.
Beware of any course that sounds too good to be true. It usually is!
Consider All Your Options
With all the pros and cons of both options, you have some things to consider. If you are OK to set aside the same time and day each week for a one-on-one vocal lesson then maybe that is your route. If on the other hand, you would like a more leisurely approach to your lessons with the option to stop and start when it suits you, then an online vocal course is for you.
Financially, if you can afford the monthly cost of private lessons that's fine, but if you like the idea of more affordable monthly payments, then go ahead with the online option.
Should you feel that you have unique challenges with your voice, then you may want to choose a private teacher at a music studio. If alternatively, you are quite happy to go along with an online course that offers video instruction and numerous bonuses, then we would advise the online approach*.
Whatever your final choice, know that basically, you are in a win/win situation, because you are making a major contribution to your overall musical health by bringing more music into your life through singing.
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*Lynda and I have designed an amazingly simple and effective singing course for beginners that we believe will help you get the voice you've always wanted. Check it out HERE.