Winds Of Change In Voice Training

The prevailing pandemic is changing the World – and also voice training. Practicing social distance is not just a passing thing and it has its effects also on teaching singing, even if contact teaching were to become possible in the near future. Therefore viewing voice training in a new way is needed. Vocal educators need to find new means in order to provide quality teaching while also keeping contact teaching at minimum.

Contact Teaching Or Online Teaching – Or Both?

Exactly the same things cannot be done during distance singing lessons as what many are used to doing during “regular” contact or face-to-face singing lessons. On the other hand, online or distance teaching opens up new possibilities for singing training that have not been utilized in face-to-face teaching. When the best parts of both contact and distance teaching are combined into multiform training the whole concept of voice training can be lifted onto a whole new level, from which both the singing students and singing teachers benefit.

What To Do In Contact Teaching? What To Do In Online Teaching?

When avoiding contact teaching one must start with thinking about what ways can be used well during online teaching, and which ones work better when teaching face-to-face.

One could also start with thinking about different things that can be studied individually or in group, because these aspects are usually the ones that can be accomplished also via video connection or through independent introduction by reading or watching videos. This standard is also a natural way to introduce the student to utilizing flipped learning in vocal training. This means that new ideas and aspects of singing are first studied independently, and then the time with a voice teacher is used for deepening and applying the knowledge gained during self-study.

One could also ponder how often is contact teaching needed in the first place. In some cases it can be left out completely, as some of those who have taught or studied through a video connection may have noticed. Could every other weekly voice lesson be carried out online, and every other face-to-face, as a “regular” contact lesson? Does learning take place mainly as online teaching and more randomly as face-to-face teaching, or what is the ideal proportion between the two?

Autonomy Of Learning And Collaborative Learning As Leading Clues Of Online Teaching

Distance teaching automatically adds to the autonomy of the voice student as it makes it crucial to reflect their own learning more – and invites the student to take more responsibility in their own learning. This aspect often improves learning results but it could also be felt as distressing if the student feels they are being forced to self-learning.

This may come out as quite a challenge depending on what kind of voice student we are talking about. More active responsibility-taking is expected from a voice student doing their professional studies. A student who sings as a hobby is probably rather looking for more joy and empowerment provided by singing than goal oriented learning. Attention must be payed that a singer who sings for hobby is not left out with their singing education goals when doing online teaching.

Distance singing teaching (and contact teaching, if unnecessary contacts can be avoided) can also be accomplished in group teaching which enables collaborative learning in several ways. One useful means is using collaborative music apps, like video applications called Acappella and Letcappella or “cloud studios” called Soundtrap and BandLab.

Benefits Of Face-To-Face Teaching

Vocal contact teaching is mostly implemented as private teaching, but partially also as group teaching. Face-to-face teaching’s strengths are f.ex. natural communication, stronger senses with hearing and sensing and guiding the student via physical touch.

Also contact lessons are not affected by student’s or teacher’s technical appliances or skills to use them, or internet connection. The quality of audio and video may change, which has a big impact on perception. Face-to-face lessons do not have this problem, yet neither does online lessons, if the appliances and internet connection are in order.

Face-to-face teaching also enables to make music live together with the teacher of an accompanist. Recorded accompaniments or band parts do not match up to live situations, but they still are an excellent aid in individual practicing and distance teaching.

Benefits Of Online Teaching

Online or distance teaching is a lot more than just voice lessons given via video connection. In addition to that it can also be implemented as video reviews and feedback, online lectures and online workshops – and through applications that enable collaborative working.

As mentioned in the beginning, many good aspects that work well in online teaching are often the same ones that can also be implemented as group learning (the part of which is still rather small in voice training). Many aspects of singing can be learned both in groups and online. These parts include f. ex.:

  • Anatomy and physiology of singing
  • Singing technique
  • Music styles and their characteristic features
  • Knowledge of repertoire
  • Performance protocol
  • Musical skills (music theory, ear training etc)

Why Is It A Good Idea To Study Singing Online?

Many of those who take voice lessons have put lessons on hold for the spring thinking “I’ll be taking them again after the worst crisis is over”. However, it seems that the prevalent standard will go on quite long, only with minor changes. At the same time this is a possibility to change one’s singing hobby and voice training into a different one while avoiding unnecessary risks of infection.

Why Is It A Good Idea For A Voice Teacher To Keep On Going With Online Teaching?

Decreasing the risk of infection is alone a good enough reason to going on with online/distance teaching. At the same time this is a great opportunity to develop one’s teaching into a direction where the contact time spent with a student serves the student in the best way possible. Anything that can be taught in another way than private lessons is worth to implement in another way. This saves both time and money for everyone involved.

Tools For Online Teaching

Here are some of the most typical tools for distance / online learning.

Teaching via video connection

  • Zoom
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Messenger
  • Google Hangouts

Video Communication

  • Marco Polo
  • WhatsApp

Transfering files

  • Google Drive
  • Dropbox
  • WeTransfer

Collaborative Working

  • Soundtrap
  • BandLab
  • Acappella
  • Letscappell