When confronted with the prospect of writing about singing lessons in Nottingham, the first thought that came to mind was the 1890s smash hit Daisy Bell (a Bicycle Built for Two) that was written by British songwriter Frank Dean, which went on to become a global sensation.
Mr Dean was not of Nottingham and, by all accounts, had never been there. However, the Raleigh Bicycle Company is based there and the song makes reference to a bike...
It is a deceptively simple song but tricky to sing nevertheless. One could not render it faithfully unless able to sing, an assertion that leads to the conclusion that, short of being naturally talented, singing lessons would be the order of the day.
Where is a Nottinghamian to turn for voice training? Must there be formal conservatoire lessons if the intent is to enjoy a night out with mates at the karaoke bar?
Today, your Superprof prowls the streets of this multicultural city to find formal, informal and casual outlets where you can train your voice.
Sing with a Choir
In spite of the impressive number of music acts, both bands and solo singers who originated from the Nottingham area, not everyone who lives there wants to cultivate their soaring vocals so they can climb to the top of the pop charts.
Indeed, a number of singers simply enjoy raising their voice in fellowship. After all, singing can be a social occasion as well as a vocal training session.
You may find no better confirmation of that assertion than with the Fun Chorus.
Many prospective singers baulk at the idea of auditioning for a place in such a group. If you are among those numbers, there is no need to fret; the Fun people do not require you to audition prior to joining them.
Furthermore, you don’t have to have a repertoire or even know your vocal range: those choir directors have a knack for placing complementary voices close together.
You will be pleasantly surprised to find that their songbooks consist of popular melodies chosen by the choir members themselves; perhaps tunes you’ve sung along with on your commute to and from work, in the privacy of your car. What a great way to calm those beginner singer nerves!
You may join them at any of their five locations throughout the city – Gelding, Carlton, Kimberly, Bingham and Bramcote or attend all of their evening meets; one for each night of the week.
The cost for joining them is a reasonable £50 for 10 weeks, which affords you the privilege of attending as many sessions as you’d like. They also offer a part-time membership for £30 per term.
The Tuneless Choir
If ever there were a singing group to report on, this one would be it.
The Tuneless Choir originated in Nottingham, started by a group of people who are aware that singing brings a host of physical as well as emotional health benefits.
Founded on that philosophy, you can imagine that they would not wish you to incur any stress; therefore they will not ask you to audition... and nobody gets turned away!
If you feel the pressure of your workday getting to you by midmorning, you don’t have to wait till evening to blow off any steam; Tuneless meets at lunchtime, on Goldsmith Street, at the St. Andrew with Castlegate URC Church.
You will be asked to part with £5 each session – not a high price to pay to take a midday stress break!
Nottingham has so many choral groups, it would be impossible for us to feature them all.
Whether you like musical theatre or wish to tune your pipes to the classically trained singers of the Bach Choir, you will certainly find a singing group or two to suit your tastes in Nottingham.
Take Singing Lessons with a Voice Coach
As mentioned before, singing – even if just for fun, offers many health benefits.
While you may reap some of those benefits from singing informally with a choir, they would be magnified if you learn how to sing with a singing coach.
You may think that voice lessons are all about opening your mouth and letting it rip, hopefully finding your confidence along the way. In fact, singing is a very technical endeavour involving parts of you that you might not have thought would matter to your ability to belt out a tune.
For starters, your posture will fall under scrutiny.
Have you ever noticed how famous singers keep their head high and shoulders pulled back? You may have to undergo physical conditioning to emulate their stance!
To be a better than average vocalist, you must learn proper breathing. To that end, your singing teacher will demonstrate breathing techniques and breath control.
Ear training is another vital aspect of learning to sing. Indeed, an untrained ear my keep you from distinguishing pitch and tone, causing you to sing off key.
While your voice teacher lays down the physical aspects of singing, s/he will also teach you how to read music and a bit about music theory.
You may wonder why you need to dive so deeply into music studies when all you want to do is sing. You need to know about music theory so that you can competently speak the language of musicians.
What is the difference between a baritone and a tenor? What key is that piece written in? What tempo?
You needn’t worry that voice teachers are really college professors in disguise, intent on hammering home a bunch of theory. They are really more interested in imparting vocal techniques and seeing to your vocal health by making sure you avoid straining your vocal cords.
Those listed in this table are among the best voice teachers in Nottingham but, as mentioned before, this being such a musical city, by no means is this list all-inclusive!
|Name||What they teach||Address||Phone||Website|
|Serena Lindsay||Rudiments, breathing techniques, voice control, exam prep||Lessons are in your home||0771 316 6559||http://www.serena-voicetraining.net|
|Sarah Carlin||Music theory, beginners through advanced; exam prep||Ravenshead||0792 119 2319||http://sarahcarlin.com|
|Alan Johnson||Rock and pop singing, show tunes, opera, classical||Arnold|
|0115 920 0417||https://www.musicteachers.co.uk/area/nottingham/singing/teachers/|
|S. Angell||Beginners to advanced singers|
|0743 556 1994|
|Colin Reed||classical, opera, musical theatre, choral music||Newark-on-Trent|
|0797 395 2447|
Why not see what Belfast has in the way of singing teachers?
Take Private Lessons with a Tutor
The opportunities for learning how to sing so far are with a choir – among groups of admittedly friendly and enthusiastic people, and with the vocal coach of your choosing.
Both of those options call for several criteria to be met: you must feel confident enough to step out of your comfort zone and subject yourself to critique. In taking voice lessons with a music teacher, you may be subjected to far more knowledge than you wanted to learn just to pursue your desire to sing.
What if we told you there is a third option; one that might circumvent the need to sing in front of people who are not yet friends?
Singing tutors, people who have studied music theory and quite possibly are vocalists in their own right, might be the best of both worlds.
Such singing teachers have both the training and experience of a voice coach but, rather than you going to their music studio, they would come to your home and instruct you on your own terms.
To be sure, you will still have to mind your posture and do breathing exercises; you might even sing scales to warm up your vocal cords, just like you would in a voice studio.
After that, you get to call the shots. Your tutor will impart singing techniques suitable to the musical style you wish to sing, from contemporary music to jazz vocalising.
And, if you did want to delve deeply into musical theory, s/he should be able to tell you everything you need to know!
Engaging a private tutor for vocal lessons would be especially great if you are a student planning to register at the University of Nottingham music study programme and join their choir!
Check out this list of voice tutors in Edinburgh!
What to Look for in a Voice Tutor
So keen might you be for singing tuition that you could neglect to ask your prospective tutor the most salient questions:
- What training have you had?
- What experience do you have teaching others how to sing?
- Do you have any references? May I see them?
- What is your preferred style of music?
- Have you ever performed before an audience?
Technology makes finding tutors very easy: you may consult Freeads or Gumtree or any such advert site and run across any number of people offering private lessons in voice training.
Or you could just head to Superprof.
The advantage of Superprof is that each tutor has their own page to list their credentials, experience and teaching methodology. You can read testimonials from other students that the tutor has worked with and even estimate how much your lessons will cost.
Superprof has 10 singing tutors in Nottingham; most of whom provide their initial lesson at no cost. In addition to them, Superprof has countless more who will be happy to teach you how to sing via webcam.
So, if you have a big do coming up – maybe you’ve been invited to sing at a wedding or anniversary party; whether you’ve signed up for a karaoke contest or you just want to have fun, Nottingham provides plenty of opportunities for you to cultivate your singing voice.