What will we work on in voice lessons?
Whatever you want! The beauty of private lessons is that we have no set lesson plan. There is not a “at your first lesson you do this and at your second lesson you do that.” We listen to you. Do you have vocal areas that you want to improve? Do you want to sing lower, higher, louder, easier, longer? We can work on that! I even had a student once who needed to learn how to sing while juggling!
Our job is to listen to your instrument. There will be areas of technique that your voice will do naturally perfect! Even the most beginning student does certain things incredibly well! That is our starting point. From there we can explain how your body as an instrument works. Sometimes it’s just one sentence and people have an “Ah, HA!” moment. Sometimes it takes longer.
I’ve never taught the same lesson twice. Each person will hear the information differently and it’s my job to explain it in a way that makes sense to you and in a way that you can quickly translate into your instrument. Lessons are demanding, but they are FUN! Singing is fun! I promise that you will leave even your first lesson feeling better about how you make sound and with a greater understanding of this “magic” we call singing.
And guess what? It’s not magic!! Yes, it’s the only instrument that you can’t see, but it’s muscles and bone and cartilage and human structure. If it’s hard to sing, then there is tension. It’s not just a “bad voice day.” When you begin to understand how the instrument works, it will take away all the “magic” of making great sound. You will make great sound all the time! Not just once in awhile, when you wear your lucky shirt and when the planets are in alignment!
Our job is to give you the tools and teach you how to use them, so that when you are “out there in the real world” and you start feeling strange, you can say “Wait a minute! Hilerie and I worked on this!" or "What did Holly say last week?" "Caitlin helped me with this!" or "THIS is what Evan was talking about! Right, my larynx! If I think THIS, then my larynx will stay down! OH! That feels SO MUCH BETTER!!!”
Can we work on music for school? Sight Reading?
Of course! Bring in your chorus music, your part in the school show, PMEA music, audition music, audition monologues, sight reading, music theory homework…. We can help you with all of it. We WANT to help you with all of it! Learning how to carry your part in a chorus is a skill that all great musicians have. Acting is just as important as singing well in a performance. Music theory and sight reading is about learning our language! The language of music! You would never expect someone to read all of your books to you at school, so then why would you expect someone to teach you all of your music notes.
Learn how to read! It’s really not as hard as you think it is. AND it’s so much cheaper!!! As a professional singer, I constantly have to learn music. The teachers and coaches that I go to for lessons are $175-250 an hour!! Can you imagine how much it would cost me to have my teachers teach me every note! Thank the Lord that I had a chorus teacher as a child who taught me how to read. It’s truly the gift that keeps on giving!!!
Plus there is so much more to learn than just what notes to sing. We learn HOW to sing the notes, meaning, phrasing, diction and character development, to name a few. And most importantly how to make it sound good!
What vocal styles do you teach?
None. I teach no particular style. I teach healthy singing, because I know that if you can sing healthy, then you can sing whatever style you want! Whether that is opera, classical, musical theater, pop, rock, country, jazz, R&B or contemporary Christian is up to you! I have sung them all and I can teach you how to also.
No matter what you sing, the way you sing it is all the same. Healthy. As singers, we sing because we love it. How awful would it be if you had to stop because you hurt yourself! I want you singing into your 80s!!! I want you to get through your show without feeling exhausted and then I want you to be able to get up the next day and do it all over again.
As a trained opera singer, I have learned to sing over an entire orchestra for three hours at a time without a microphone, without hurting myself and with my 90+ year old grandparents in the back row of the theater still being able to hear me. To do that, you have to sing right or you will you hurt yourself. That’s all there is to it.
How much are lessons?
My current rate is $60 for a 45 minute lesson and Holly, Evan and Caitlin are $30 for a 30 minute lesson and $60 for an hour. All lessons are reserved with a credit card, but feel free to bring cash or a check to the lesson if you don't want your card to be charged.
A lesson book and technique cd are purchased at your first lesson for an additional $20.
How do I schedule my weekly lessons?
At your introductory lesson, we will look at schedules and reserve your weekly lesson time with your new teacher. From then on, that will be your lesson time! Every week, the day before your lesson, you will receive a text and/or email reminding you of your upcoming lesson.
There is a strict 24 hour cancelation policy and you will be charged for lessons canceled with less than 24 hours notice or lessons that the student doesn't show up for.
We do all of our lesson scheduling online right through the Higher Voice Studio website. This gives students and families full access to their teacher's schedule. As all of our teachers keep extra spots open each day, lessons cancelled with over 24 hour notice are to be rescheduled for the earliest convenient time. Students may opt to wave rescheduling, but payment is still expected in these instances.
For more information, read our lesson policy page.
Where are lessons?
All lessons are now in our new, beautiful building, 144 East Main Street, in the heart of downtown Carnegie. We are centrally located to Upper St Clair, Mount Lebanon, Peters Township, Bethel Park, Bridgeville, Chartiers Valley, Carnegie, South Fayette, Castle Shannon, Dormont and only 5 minutes off the Carnegie exit on I-79.
What is a masterclass?
The masterclasses are one of the best parts of taking lessons here, at Higher Voice Studio. Everyone who studies with me, Holly, Evan or Caitlin get the unique opportunity to participate in free open classes with me and various guest lecturers hosting. Subjects include performing, technique, songwriting, audience connection, acting, musical expression, audio and video recording, body engagement and all aspects that affect singers in the music world.
A lot of times, a singer will want to perform, but won't be given the chance, because they don't have the experience singing in front of other people. It's a real catch 22. You have to have experience performing to get experience performing, but you need experience performing to get the chance to perform. Masterclasses at Higher Voice Studio Recitals are how we break the cycle. They allow singers to explore their talents in a fun, safe and supportive environment. They give us a chance to get to know everyone and where they are on their journey. You will celebrate their growth along with them, as they celebrate you. This is the community of Higher Voice Studio.
When is a good time to start taking lessons?
Now. There is never a better time. You will learn no matter your age and no matter your ability. I started very young, but not all do. My youngest student was my son Nicholas who started at 5 and my oldest student was in her 70s. A lot of teachers won’t take a student as young as 5 or 6, but I am SO grateful that my parents started me when they did.
My father, who started music much later than I and earned his Masters Degree in Music Composition from UCLA, always said the biggest difference between us was that music was my first language and for him it was his second. I was blessed with fantastic teachers who never pushed me to sound older than I was or louder than I could sing, and it really gave me a leg up on my peers, especially in middle school and high school.
Remember though, some famous singers didn’t start until their 20s and 30s, assuming you want to become a famous singer. Maybe you just want to be able to sing in your car with your windows rolled down, instead of up. Wouldn’t that be nice?!?!?
Why Higher Voice Studio?
Because we know that teaching someone to sing isn't just about training the instrument. It's about the singer. It's ALWAYS about the singer. No matter what your goals are, you will only achieve them if you feel safe to do so. If you are surrounded by teachers and fellow students that appreciate who you are as a person, that cheer with you, that support you, that are with you through your journey, then and only then will you flourish. Then and only then will you sing. That's what Higher Voice Studio is all about....because everyone wants to SING!!!!!
Questions & Answers with Hilerie