monday musings: How long does it take?

… Or, How fast will I progress?


This is a common question I get with voice lesson inquiries. Sometimes it’s “how long until I sound good.” Well, that’s relative. More on sounding “good” or “better” another day. I’ve had to hone in on an answer since I’m asked so often. This was my most recent inquiry:


“based on your experience about how many lessons does it generally take someone to be decent from not knowing at all. I know it’s different for every person but just... so I know how much to budget”


My best estimate is a year of almost weekly lessons for significant progress; and that’s for the most devoted/practiced singer with a history of singing or musical experience.  Maybe 2 years or more for those also devoted/practiced and at a beginner level. The less practiced, the longer. The training exists of coordinating many different muscle groups in your body (some of which is not instinctive or natural), and then to strengthen those muscles, and train for flexibility and endurance/stamina. If you've ever played a sport, run a race or tried to alter your body in some way to become stronger, faster, or more agile, you know it takes time.

Then, there is the ear training for non-experienced singers. Singers that come in with a background in singing with choirs tend to have a more developed ear and good sense for how pitch (melodic) and rhythmic patterns work, so can pick up on musical queues more readily than a singer without that history. And, then there is the singer with no formal musical background in choir or band/orchestra, but is just a naturally good mimic. They tend to pick up on the music side of things quicker.

My experience with singers of all levels is that people take lessons when/if they can afford it for as long as their interest holds, sometimes take a break, some just pass through for a few weeks or months, some stay years (I have 2 clients who have been with me for 10 years!).

One thing I have noticed in gaining strength and progress (academically/physically/musically) is that consistency helps immensely - the accountability on top of the individual focus of training. If you can afford a semester of sessions (19 in 25 weeks), let's start there! Noticeable progress should take place in that time, and then can decide what's next.

Folks will often come for a concentrated time, then back up, go to every other week, join a group class (cheaper/less focused) or take a break until they can come back.

If time is where the budget is tight, come as often as you can. Working with me is like working with a personal trainer. I will always work you out harder and more efficiently than you can work on your own, and you will get some benefit in that hour no matter how often you come.

Are you ready to start training? Book an hour to see how we fit!