Why do I ask for a list of songs? 

f your a first timer taking piano lessons or voice lessons with me, you might be surprised that instead of giving you some nursery rhyme to sing or play (which I may very well do depending) I ask you to give me two lists of songs.One list is songs that are comfy for you to sing (or at least on the way) and another list of songs that are aspirational. 

A student recently asked me why, and I often don’t have time in lessons to explain in depth, so here’s a just a few reasons: 

Why do I ask for a list of songs?

When we first start lessons, I will ask for a list of songs you find comfortable to sing, as well as songs that feel less comfortable or really tough to sing. There are lots of reasons behind this, but here are just a few: 

If you have a list of songs that aren’t as comfortable to sing, that reflect where you’d like to go as a singer, then…

We would be able to revisit those songs months from now and see if you notice a difference. If you are more self-aware (in a good way) when you sing, or if you feel or sound better when you sing, or all of the above. 

Your list of songs reflect the kind of singing you like to hear. If I have no idea what kind of songs you like, what singers you like, how would I help you get there? What is the point of taking singing lessons if you’re not actually singing songs in a genre you like? Many teachers require students to sing in a certain genre, (often classical) first, before they can move on to genres they like. If you have no interest in singing classical though, we’ve taken away a major motivation for singing…to sing songs you like! 

I do make one exception, and that’s certain types of rock music. Screaming, grunting, etc. can be done in a healthy way, but most beginners are nowhere near ready for that kind of singing yet. Still, we can find songs heading in that direction that are more approachable, if we know you’re wanting to go there to begin with. 

If you have a list of songs that are comfortable for you to sing…

We have a song we can work on without you running into vocal strain, or, if vocal strain is chronic for you, a place where you at least feel less strain. 

If your goal is to sing with others, or perform, or feel more confidence in your voice, then singing songs where you have ease is essential. You’re not likely to feel confident performing a song that feels uncomfortable to start with. 

Not only that, but some of the exercises I’ll give you, will be a challenge to coordinate on a single note! So we need a comfortable song where we can challenge coordination in singing, but not run into strain, or minimal strain. 

Although I have many more well-thought out reasons why I ask you to bring song lists, I’ll just mention this last one. Developing as a singer, means listening to your inner voice. You can practice listening to your inner artistic voice, by paying attention to the songs that speak to you. You can pay attention to the songs that speak to you, by having someone in your life asking you for said list of songs. I do not resonate with every song I sing, some songs though, bring me to tears, or make me laugh, or make me dance. When I choose what songs to sing, I’m revealing to myself what makes me feel like singing, what makes me feel alive. 

If you want to experience what its like to come alive, to sing and play out of your shell, to enjoy singing and playing for its own sake, to improve through less effort and more self-awareness, then you can choose your own adventure below: 

Piano Lessons (for adult beginners,  for the non-concert pianist, for the garage-jammist, for the singer-songwriter) 

Voice Lessons (for beginners wanting confidence, for adults wanting to re-connect their sense of play, for professionals wanting to experience beginner’s mind) 

The Feel Better Sing Better Class (for adult singers wanting a mindfulness and somatic-based approach to singing with the convenience of pre-recorded classes) 

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