Are you interested in learning how to sing? Taking voice lessons can be a fun way to relax and unwind after a long day of work or school. Living in the city of Chicago you are also surrounded by other music lovers and professional voice performers who may have inspired you to look into taking a private lesson or two.

There are many types of music schools to choose from - ranging from private ones that cost a fortune, to government subsidized programs as well as online lessons. Additionally, you can also choose from group lessons and one-on-one lessons, the possibilities are endless. In this article, we provide helpful tips for the aspiring singing student as well as where you can find local singing studios in Chicago.

Tips for Improving Your Vocals

When you first start singing, consider making some lifestyle changes that will make you a better singer. For one, your choice of beverages could have an impact on the quality of your vocal sounds.

man singing into a smartphone recording himself
Singing is a fun way to express yourself. (Photo by @soundtrap from Unsplash)

Do you enjoy drinking cold water? Believe it or not, it is actually better to take your water at room temperature if you want your voice to sound better. Warm drinks like tea can also help you to produce better sound, but stay away or reduce your consumption of coffee or sugary drinks if you want to keep your voice in its prime state.

Another lifestyle change voice students can make is to practice lots, or everyday if they are able to. Like with learning and perfecting any skill, it takes years of practice before one can fully master it. Even then there are always something new to learn and improve on, so make daily practices a habit early on in your musical journey, especially if you have aspirations to become a professional.

One more easy way that you can improve how you sound is to make sure you have the proper posture while singing. Make sure to stand up straight with your shoulders held back behind your ears and your chest forward. Make sure to not tilt your body to the left or right either, as that will not enhance your sound. As for your head, it should be facing forwards with your chin tilted down to help you project your voice and to give yourself more control and power.

And lastly, of course remember to breath properly! You don't want your audience to hear you grasping for air nor do you want to run out of breath in-between notes. Ideally, you want to project the maximum sound while using the least amount of air that you possibly can. Any great teacher at your music school will teach you how to use diaphragm breathing, so instead of singing via your chest muscles, you are using the diaphragm muscles instead. All classical and professional singers will do this, so if you are singing correctly it should feel like you are doing a sit-up, which indicates that your diaphragm muscles are being used correctly.

woman holding microphone singing on stage
You don't want your audience to hear you grasping for air nor do you want to run out of breath in-between notes (Photo by MD Duran on Unsplash)

Learn to Sing in Chicago

When you live in a major city like Chicago, you have the choice to take a lesson or two at your closest music school with an experienced voice teacher. Expensive private art schools also exist and you may find that you'll have many options at your disposal, so be sure to check out the reviews for each school before you pay your money to commit to a specific one. The number of students will vary depending on the school, and so will the teaching experience of the teachers at the school.

If you are having trouble finding a voice class to meet your needs in the city of Chicago, consider going online to ask for recommendations. Join local Facebook groups where you can meet people living and working in your neighbourhood in Chicago. Someone in the group may be able to recommend the right voice lesson for you. If a school or course is full, make sure you get on the waiting list even if you are not 100% sure about taking classes there - you can always make a decision later on!

There are also helpful student groups that you can find online designed for aspiring music students interested in singing or playing instruments like the guitar. These groups are a great place to make new friends, find people to make music with, as well as to ask for recommendations for good teachers doing private lessons in Chicago. Below are some local voice studios in Chicago where you can meet other singing students and improve your own skills.

Davin Youngs Voice Coaching

Davin Youngs has always loved voice singing and for a long time in his life he was singing big operatic sounds. As Davin grew older he continued to use that big performative sound as professional singer and has taken a long and winding road throughout his singing career. Today he is ready to share this with other aspiring singers and voice enthusiasts both in coaching and performance.

Some sessions you can take with Davin Youngs include voice clarity lessons where you can get honest feedback and guidelines on vocal freedom and overall ease, voice coaching sessions where you can improve on your singing techniques, and the complete voice coaching package where you spend four months working on the entire package as well as benefitting from unlimited text and email support from Davin himself.

woman singing with a crowd of others
Voice lessons can be a healing and empowering process. (Photo by One zone Studio on Unsplash)

The Voice Lab

At the Voice Lab in the heart of Chicago, every singer is encouraged to sing competently and joyfully. Voice lessons can be a healing and empowering process so the teachers at the Voice Lab take care to include personal care and establishing a good relationship with their students. The mission here is to  provide a safe and encouraging environment for all aspiring singers to find their most authentic voice.

Your voice is a highly personal instrument so the teachers at the Voice Lab are willing to take on the responsibility of the care of your voice. The teachers at the studio have proper music educations, are diversely trained, and some are voice performers themselves.

Chicago School of Music

The mission at the Chicago School of Music is to offer superlative programming dedicated to fostering each student's interest and curiosity in music as well as using their voice as an instrument. When you take voice lessons here, you are learning from highly qualified teachers who have the training and experience as well as the ability to motivate and inspire you on your learning journey.

Besides voice lessons, you can also learn how to play instruments such as the piano, guitar, and violin. Even music teachers and advanced music students can take lessons here. So don't forget to check them out as they have an option for everyone!

Even More Tips for Aspiring Singers

After you take singing lessons for a while, your skills will improve and you will no longer be a beginner singer. You'll know your range and how to control your breath properly during a song as well as hit some notes that are not in your vocal range. With your tutor helping you out along the way, you may even have performed a show or two with instruments like the piano and the guitar, live! Here we have some more tips for you as an advanced voice learner.

Improving Your Tones

Having a good vocal tone doesn't necessarily mean singing load. Instead, it means that you can sing it at a medium level of volume using the right amount of air. To do this your vocal folds have to be strong enough to allow for a good closure. With having too much air giving you a breathy sound, and too little air giving you a nasal sound.

Using Vibrato

This is a technique that’s used to enhance a note and is done by vibrating one's voice to add effect. However, keep in mind that vibrato is often over-used as people like to put them into every note. But when you listen to the pro singers perform, you will not hear much vibrato, only at specific key notes, ideally on the last note at the end of a phrase.

Performing Live

When it comes to live performances, quality is everything. You want to give your audience a captivating experience that will make them remember you, your voice, and your emotions. The best way to practice before a live performance is to practice, practice, and practice. Until you know the song inside out, you will not be ready to stand in front of a crowd. If you memorize the piece of music you will be performing well, it also makes it easier for you to add in your emotions to the song and focus your energy on other aspects such as the style and tone.

Finding Your Signature Sound

If you are serious about performing professionally, you'll need a way to make your performance memorable! There are no better way to do this than to get your very own signature sound. For example, think of your favourite pop star or singer, does he or she have a memorable sound? Chances are, they probably do and you will instantly recognize their sound when you hear their song on the radio.

Before you can develop your own unique sound, you'll have to master the fundamentals of singing though. You also need to have the confidence to play around with the sound of your voice and practice until you find a sound that you like the best and that works to your tastes and the pieces of music you like to sing. Let these characteristics shine through in your sounds and you'll be making a big impact in no time.

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Former high-school tutor with a passion for science and technology, I now work in the software industry and enjoy reading and learning about all kinds of topics.