I've finally taken the plunge and booked a singing lesson.

I wondered what I should do to prepare for it, what questions I should expect to be asked, etc?

I enjoy singing but am not particularly great and am very self-conscious. I'm a little nervous that I'll lose the ability to sing in front of a stranger - would it be worthwhile recording myself in a more relaxed setting so I can at least show the tutor what I can sound like?

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    Your prospective teacher should have already given some ideas as to what to expect, and what to bring to sing - a party piece, et al. An experienced teacher will know what the stress level is like for a first timer, and adapt accordingly.
    – Tim
    Nov 20, 2015 at 11:14
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    Just saw the last sentence of your question, you shouldn't show your teacher what you can do, you will not and shouldn't try to impress him. Show him where you have your problems and try to impress him with fast learning and fast improvement. A teacher is not there to be impressed, he is there to show you how to improve. Nov 20, 2015 at 12:37
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    For a first lesson a teacher will not expect you to do anything. Every lesson after, your teacher will expect you to prepare / do what they asked you to do. When it comes to private lessons, think of musicians as like doctors - we've seen / heard it all before, so, you really can't overwhelm / surprise us. Also, you're paying us to help you improve, so it's not like we're going to make fun of you (nor would we even if you weren't paying us). Also remember that your singing doesn't reflect who you are as a person - an undeveloped voice is just an undeveloped voice. Be open to the experience. Nov 20, 2015 at 13:32

7 Answers 7


As a guitar teacher, here is what I have always wanted students to be able to do in our first lesson:

  • Tell me or at least know for themselves something about why they are learning guitar. The answer, "I'm not sure, I just like it" is actually one of the most promising answers, as opposed to "Well there's this girl, see?" which does not bode well, in my experience. (To be fair, I learned harmonica 100% because of a woman.)
  • Tell me why they are taking lessons (as opposed to learning on their own) and what they hope to get from them. I know what lessons are good for, but I want to make sure I know what students will think is an appropriate benefit in return for what they are paying me. Not knowing where to start, wanting to learn faster, wanting to avoid bad habits, and wanting break through a plateau are the best answers here, IMHO.
  • Tell me what music they like and what specific songs they would like to be able to play. I like to make sure my students are engaged and having fun. Forcing them to learn Sweet Child o' Mine or even Hey Jude would not likely be fun for either of us. Usually if a student can't name any song they love and/or want to learn, it's a problem tied to a bad answer for the first bullet point above.
  • Bring a six string guitar that can be tuned to standard tuning. This isn't an issue for voice lessons, but for completeness I put it here. Students bringing ukeleles to a guitar lesson (which hasn't happened, thankfully) would be pretty awkward.

Notice that I don't care much about what a student is currently capable of. If the student isn't an absolute beginner, I do want to hear and see them play something, but it doesn't have to be of any particular difficulty level or anything like that. Overall skill level and bad habits come through regardless of the difficulty of the material, in my experience, and I expect that applies to all instruments and voice, more or less.

Regarding being nervous, I assume that what I'm seeing my student do is their worst case scenario, just like me when I'm nervous at a gig. I figure students are often doing better at home alone, so I mentally compensate. And I certainly don't care whether they are particularly good or bad, only whether they are enjoying themselves at all and whether they are improving at least a little bit after a month or so.

I suggest having the song that you most enjoy singing ready to sing. Don't worry about showing your range or abilities or anything like that, the teacher will either detect that regardless of the material, or work with you in specific ways to establish where you are.


I don't believe you should worry too much or think about it excessively. I know from personal experience that going to your first voice lesson can be more nerve-wracking than going to your first guitar lesson (or any instrument for that matter) but you're there to learn and your instructor knows that.

When I went in my first voice lesson the first thing my instructor asked me was to sing anything A Capella. I never thought he would ask me to do such a thing but I just had to do it. He then stopped me before the chorus even started and told me my technique wasn't good and that we would have to work on that; and so we did. Probably if I knew he was going to make me sing first thing, I would have prepared way too much for something which wasn't going to be good anyway because I didn't have the technique.

I didn't stick around too long because of other reasons but I would have liked to learn more on the craft of singing. Don't worry, you'll do fine.

One thing he did tell me was to bring a bottle of water (not cold, not hot) to every class in order to clear my throat (don't do the ahem, they say).

Good luck!


what you should do is book lessons with 2 or 3 more teachers.

don't just pick the first one you come across.

pick the teacher you "click" with the best. That matches your personality and goals in music best.

other than that, just tell them what you want to do with music, what you like, etc. don't fret about how well you're doing right now.

  • You can arrange to observe a lesson from each candidate. There would be no charge for doing this. Some teacher are skittish about being observed; that can help you narrow the field. Nov 21, 2015 at 3:49

It doesn't matter that you are not great at the moment, if you were, you wouldn't have to take lessons, right? =)

It is an opinion based question, but I like it, so I try to give you may impressions.

One thing is to prepare one or two songs, maybe two quite different songs, which represent what you want to sing in the future. If you want to sing Rock/ Metal, you wouldn't prepare a hip hop song, unless you want to sing that in the future, so that should be clear anyway.

Besides that, there is no really preparation needed. I assume you already had a trial? Most schools in my country give you an hour for free to get to know the teacher and his concepts, also there he gets to know you. If not, it is really important that you get to know the teacher and he gets a feeling for your level. If he is a good teacher, than you don't have to worry about anything, he sets the course of your lessons and with more experience you will encounter problems or things you want to solve/ try. Bring your songtext and chords/ sheets for your songs, that way he can accompany you on a piano or something like this, makes things easier to practice. But if you are a beginner, you will propably start with breathing, posture, facial expressions, tongue position and basic exercises.

Most important thing for me is that my teacher knows his stuff and that I like him on a personal level. You don't have to become best friends, but if you feel uncomfortable in his presence, lessons will not go that smooth and won't be fun. Also, if he is too fast, or is expecting too much from you, tell him. He should know what he can expect from you (after a few lessons) but if he doesn't notice you are unable to cope with it, tell him.

One important questions is to set your expectations. A teacher won't make you a great singer automatically, they can only show you how to get better. So, there is still effort involved. They can show you how to improve aspects or your technique and everything, but they can't rework your voice completely. Also, there are a lot of things to be learned which are important for different styles. So try to get an idea of what you want to achieve and then work on the points needed to get there.

The best feeling you can have is during the lesson, that you think "Wow, I didn't know I could do that", then you know that you are on the right track. But you also have to prepare for phases where you think you are advancing too slow. Don't get upset and immediately change the teacher. Speak with him. That may be intended because you maybe have some deficits you have to work out in order to advance further. But a teacher should be able to tell you what is wrong and why you are not advancing further. Also it takes time. Prepare to take your lessons for at least a few years if you are serious with becoming a good singer. Because some things have to become subconscious in order to concentrate on other things while singing. I had my first concert and I couldn't take lessons two months earlier. I had some problems on that gig, and as I found out later, I made a lot of mistakes because I didn't remember some things from the lessons, they were not subconsious and I did things wrong, which resulted in a bad performance. So, prepare to take your time. =)


Your teacher might do things slightly differently, but here are the teps that are typically followed. First, you will have an initial phone interview with te teacher to discuss preliminary things, such as a convenient time for the lesson, whether or not you need to prepare a song (most likely you won’t have to). This is the time to tell your teacher anything you feel they should know about you, such as any medical conditions you may have, etc. On the day of your lesson, you will start by having a conversation about your previous musical experience, whether you play an instrument, whether or not you can read music (don’t worry if you can’t), what your goals are, and what style(s) of music you are interested in singing. Then, the teacher will introduce you to basic concepts, such as correct posture, breathing, etc. You will then be guided through several vocal exercises. These are designed to warm up your voice as well as allow the teacher to determine your current vocal range and tone quality. Your teacher may stop you to address any technical issues. Sometimes, you may sing something really simple at the end of the lesson, but this is not always the case. I know in my particular case, I had a choir audition coming up, so the teacher worked on the song I had to sing at my first lesson. And that’s it. The first voice can be nervewracking, but the process is usually very simple, so you have nothing to worry about. I’m saying this from my own personal experience; I’ve changed voice teachers three or four times, so I’ve had to go through the dreaded first lesson quite a bit. Onceyou get through the first lesson, it really isn’t that bad. I hope this helps. If you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to reach out.


Take a song that you enjoy singing, that uses your whole functional range. If it's a long piece, just choose a page or two.

Take a spiral bound notebook for assignments and practice notes. If your teacher doesn't write in it, then you should do so.

You might want to take a tape recorder, and tape the lesson, so you can remember better what and how you are to practice.


What I would recommend is to bring your Ipod or similar device with you and play the voice teacher some of the music you enjoy and ultimately would like to be singing.

It takes a while to discover a new singer's voice but if your teacher knows whay stylistic goals you have then it will aid them tremendously.

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