Everyone wants a quick, easy and cheap voice lesson. Even better - learn to sing for free! Why not. Is this possible? To learn singing free of charge? We know there are cheap lessons out there - do they come with a catch?
The bottom line (which I will give you at the top, why not) is: there is a lot you can learn for free, and there is a way to reduce your signing budget.
You will have to pay some money at some point, if you really want to be good. But it doesn't have to break you (!) like it broke me financially.
As a singing student, I basically spent all my money on singing lessons, then some food, then (maybe) rent. That's not a good way to go. I was left with no savings, and barely anything to live on.
The system at the moment, from what I have observed, is to go weekly to your singing teacher (and if they cost less than 100 bucks an hour - they are no good, right?) and then pray you come out a good singer on the other end.
Thing is, some people just don’t have the deep pockets to go to weekly lessons. And the best teachers usually are not the cheapest. I told myself I wouldn’t be one of those teachers who take people’s last pennies because they want to learn how to sing so badly.
So I have to do my best to make it possible for people with less means, who are serious about studying voice, to study with me. Because if you are in, I am all in. Here is what I came up with.
Six ways to make your singing lessons cheaper
1. Learn singing basics for free
Even if you are just starting out. There is a lot to learn about the voice and a lot to experiment with that you can do by yourself. So you can learn singing at home for free, pretty much, and get to a nice foundation level.
Not only are you able to learn some vocal stuff for free, but you kinda have to:
Most teachers won’t spend your lesson time teaching you all that, but it is incredibly important. Starting off with this foundation will give you a huge advantage.
What you should learn about the voice on your own:
Some people read books about singing and vocal technique. That’s always good, but today everything is done online, right? Just by starting with the links in the list above - you are set for a few good weeks at least - enjoy!
2. Cheaper than real life lessons - a singing course!
If you find a teacher - online or offline - that you like they might have an online singing course. If you like their teaching, you’ll probably like their course, as it would be based on their approach and personality. It will be a lot cheaper than taking real life lessons, and you can have the fundamentals of what they want to teach you on video, in close reach. That’s amazing, you can always refresh your memory if needed and use it to practice.
3. Combine the online course with 1 on 1 lessons
As said, by having a course at your disposal you are off to a very good start. You can go to your teacher when you feel you need more feedback or tailor-made guidance.
In the beginning you might feel a bit clueless and will need your teacher more often. But once you'll acquire some knowledge and skills, you will be able to extend the breaks between the lessons, and let the course sustain your practice at home.
If you follow the advice on this and the next item, you will be able to thrive on one lesson a month. I have seen it happen! To be honest, with students that really followed my learning method to the T, they managed to go a few months between lessons. Because while at home - they knew exactly what to do.
Cheap or free voice lessons - you still need a job...
Listen: unless you find oil somewhere or a rich aunt dies and leaves you a fortune - you’ll have to get some money. Even with scholarships, even doing all you can to save on lessons. You still need money for pianists, recordings, travelling for auditions, working on your body, coachings of different kinds, etc.
Especially if you are young and in the beginning of your journey, hear me out: get a job. Have the income and the freedom to do the things you really want to do. Don’t sit on your hands and wait for the messiah. You’ll be able to lay off the boring job later when you are making money from singing gigs.
4. Take fewer lessons - voice lessons are suddenly cheaper!
How often should you take singing lessons? I recommend taking your time between lessons. Don’t go in there every week because people say that the most serious way to go. It’s not, if you don’t make the best out of your lessons.
While in the lesson, take notes (or better: record or film!) and then go and work on what you worked on in the lesson. Focus on one thing at a time and don’t go back for another lesson until you feel you have gained a better understanding of what you learned.
When I say gain a better understanding, I mean physical, kinesthetic understanding. Meaning, you feel the better way to sing in your body, and you have some idea what happened in your body, so you can go back to it and redo it.
The more familiarity you have with that thing you were trying to learn, the better. You can then go back to your teacher at a totally different level, and you guys take it from there. Much better, faster and more long lasting progress. And you can take lessons less often and save your money.
5. Group lessons are less expensive - did you know?
Preferably, take lessons which also give some individual attention. Think of a yoga class. You go and do yoga with a group and occasionally the teacher will go around and fix your posture. You may benefit from a singing version of that. The price will be lower and you will learn a lot. You can combine that with a systematic online course for your home practice.
6. Apply for a scholarship
To those of you who want to be singers more than anything, but don’t have the means: seek financial aid. Don’t be shy or embarrassed. Trust me, the shame is worse when the years go by and you realize you haven’t made all the effort to make your own dream come true. Start googling some options and see what you can apply for.
What I can do for you
If you happen to want to study with me, but the prices of my lessons are higher than you’d wish, there are options.
Whatever your budget is, you can learn something from me online, without taking a single lesson.
You can start with a super cheap course - Learn from the Best - which is only $5. There I show you how all the good singers basically use the same technique. I find it inspiring to see there are patterns across the board, and it’s motivating to start trying out those techniques.
Another small and affordable course you can find here is SingWell with Yoga. If you are curious about yoga or already doing it, you’d be amazed what it can do for your singing voice.
The largest, most thorough online course I have is Make Singing Click. It's about systematically diagnosing vocal pain points, finding out which solutions work best for you, and drilling those in before moving to the next. It's designed for effectiveness, for leveraging your practice hours to the max. Students get a big discount on this course. And even without that - it's at the price of a 5-lesson package and it includes personal feedback.
Combining course with lessons
In my lessons with students who do Make Singing Click, I’m able to point them to the relevant part of the course they should work on at home. These students need fewer lessons with me.
I used to have occasional group lessons, because people thought they were fun, or wanted to experience singing without the one on one attention which could be overwhelming for some.
I now am trying out regular, weekly group lessons, to see how people can use it as an actual learning and practice tool. So as fun as those lessons may be - and they’ll be a lot of fun - they will be more than just singing in a group plus voice tips. It will be a simulation of a private lesson, with actual material from my course and some individual attention.
That doesn’t necessarily replace private lessons. But it’s a good alternative to taking frequent, expensive private lessons. They can be used as your maintenance vocal coaching, with private lessons only here and there.
Remember: I was you once. I know what it’s like. If you are an aspiring singer with little means, you can contact me and you will be considered for a scholarship. Write a thorough motivation letter and tell me why you want this.
Beware: scholarship does not mean free lessons, or free courses. You have to work for it. You don't have to pay, but there is the price of dedication, are you up to it?
Bottom line (again):
Don’t let anything stop you. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s impossible.
You do need to put in the effort on your end, do the methodical practice at home (check out my article How to practice singing), get the fundamnetals and use them wisely.
Go ahead and comment if you have questions or have any more ideas on how to save money on your singing journey.
Also watch my podcast episode below which is about the topic
In the above episode, a 16-year old caller asks me the question about learning how to sing on a small budget. She really wants this but she doesn't have the money. I gave her guidelines as to how to begin. There's a lot of stuff that you can do on your own.
Getting to a good level - maybe even a professional level - will cost you money. You will need voice lessons then maybe:
- you will need to pay a pianist to accompany you and maybe even coach
- you will need photo shoots eventually applications traveling for auditions
- you will need to work on your body that will cost money as well and it's just a big commitment.
So we have two questions:
- Are you willing to commit your budget to your singing
- Are you willing to commit yourself to singing because budget is something that we can build up budget is something that we can plan for but you will need to actually go and do the work with the budget that you have!
About the author
I'm an opera singer and (online) voice teacher, based in Amsterdam. It took me more than a decade to overcome my share of mental and physical issues and reach a professional level as a singer. Because of this background, and my 10+ years of teaching experience, I believe I can speed up your learning curve as a singer.
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Eye-openers, tips and stories. Also content that I don't publish on my website.