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    Angie QuidleyOffering private lessons in
    Ocala, Florida
    About MeContact MeBlog

    Teaching voice lessons
    Posted by Angie Quidley - January 9, 2018 - 8:52 AM

    I have been teaching weekly lessons and coaching voice students for auditions and competitions for over 15 years. It is my passion to bring out the character and personality through singing and see self esteem and confidence grow in my students. I just want to share with other instructors how I do things in case someone is struggling with how to start or how to collect tuition and such.

    I do lessons in 4 week packages and charge a registration fee. The reg. fee is credited back after 3 months of lessons/3 packages. Students pay every 3rd lesson in order to give me one full week notice if not continuing into the next package. Everyone's 3rd lesson is different times of the month though and it's based on when they start lessons. You have to keep good attendance records for it to work. I also require a 24 hour notice in order to receive a make up lesson. Students have to make up the lesson during their current 4 week package and cannot extend lessons. However, if I'm out for any reason, I offer a credit, makeup, or extension at their convenience. I offer 30 min lessons for $100 a month, 45 min lessons for $160 a month, and 1 hour lessons for $200 a month all for the same student. If 2 students/siblings halfing up 45 mins or 1 hour, I do 45 min at $150, and 2 hour at $180. I do not put these rates in writing anywhere. I always make sure I talk by phone and explain it over the phone and follow up the conversation with an email or text with the rates and policies.

    They bring a signed tear off sheet from the policies and keep their copy of the policies. I have their signature to hold them accountable to my policies in case I need to collect past due tuition. But due to no longer taking checks I don't really have a problem with collections anymore. If you LLC your studio, you have a better chance at collecting according to their signed copy of understanding your policies.

    The reason I do the packages, is because it keeps me from collecting tuition from everyone the same 1st week of each month. It is a little more work with the bookkeeping, but worth it because tuition comes in all different times of the month. This way, if someone cancels or no shows the same week their tuition is due the first of the month, it doesn't affect the income so much. As we all know, students have a tendency to no show or cancel on a tuition payment day. So if you are collecting tuition the first or last week of each month for all your students at the same time, and have 3 absences, it's like your boss coming to you to say your paycheck will be short this week. But you budget for a certain amount and do not get it.

    However, if you have 3 absences in one month on different weeks of the month you don't feel it so hard. I also charge a late fee if they do not pay on the tuition due date even if it is an excused absence. I accept debit/credit and cash only, no checks. I also have PayPal where they can pay. PayPal helps me collect in advance before the first lesson in order to hold their lesson day/time for a fee. If they wait and pay the first lesson they are risking losing the lesson day/time.

    I believe in sitting down with the student and setting short term and long term goals. For example, a short term goal could be getting ready for an audition or competition. A long term goal might be one day auditioning for THE VOICE, going on Broadway, being a recording artist, part of a band, or a singer/songwriter. I also believe it's important to ask the vocal student what artists and genre music they listen to regularly. Because this will shape the type of singer they want to be. I don't train all vocal students on classical music. However, if their goal is to one day get a college scholarship for voice, then I certainly add classical introduction to Italian or French Arias the year before they go to college.

    My older son grew up doing musical theatre in my shows and then continued in college doing musical theatre and training his voice. He is no a singer/songwriter and plays guitar and piano and started his own band who plays all over central Florida. Because their original music is so good, I really think they have a chance to make it big one day. The music industry has changed so much though and it's more competitive than ever with all the social media where you can put anything out there. Look up his band called, "Humans In Disguise" and look at their website and facebook to see what you think. Some of my students actually get up and sing with my son's band sometimes which gives them a chance to perform in a different type of venue.

    I also do a Fall and Spring Recital and give out gift certificates for one free lesson. The recital is not mandetory, but encouraged and the free lesson certificate helps motivate the parents or whoever is paying.

    If students listen to hip hop, rap, or country or anything else I explain these are not good songs for technical training. In order to train vocally, there are some major areas to develop.
    1) Pitch
    2) Range
    3) Proper Breathing and Breath Support
    4) Placement of Tone and register transitions
    5) Projection 6) Stage Presence and Confidence
    6) Connecting with the audience through the lyrics

    I explain that in the lesson or coaching times, we may work on songs they may not necessarily like or perform. But the technical skills we will learn in these songs can be used to help with the types of songs they want to use. In other words, the more versatile you are with your voice to sing different genres, the more skill you have because technique is technique.

    I have taught in my own private studio as well as in the classroom for choral directing. I have also choreographed and directed musical theatre shows during the past several years and watched even my own 2 boys grow through music. When I was a child I had music in school every day in elementary and then in middle school I was in band playing flute all the way through high school. I took piano from 3rd grade to 8th grade, but my singing took over and I thought I didn't need piano. But...in college majoring in music, they made me choose a 2nd instrument and I chose piano so....had to take 2 years of classical college piano. During college I was focused on performing and never realized how much I would love teaching.

    So if you sing, it is very useful for you to learn piano in case you teach one day so you can play to accompany your students, or play for yourself. Otherwise, you'll always be hiring someone to play for you or your students will have to pay someone to accompany their lessons. I just can't stress to you if you are a singer how important it is to play piano. If you don't really like piano and just can't get into it, learn guitar. Later this will help you because you learn chords with guitar and can pick up piano chords later very easily.

    If this has helped you in any way I am so glad to have helped. You are welcome to share it as an article on the website here.

    Have a blessed new year!!!!!

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    Teaching voice lessons
    January 9, 2018
     
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