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Your voice is able to awaken over 300 muscles.
Officially designated UNESCO City of Music for its legendary music scene, Glasgow is famous for inspiring and harbouring artists from across the musical spectrum, from urban and hip-hop, to electronica and indie through to classical and celtic. The city hosts about 130 music events a week, which generate about £75 million a year to the city’s economy.
Among the musicians and bands that hail from the city are Franz Ferdinand, Primal Scream, Travis, Teenage Fanclub, and The Vaselines.
With a city like that, who can’t resist whistling a happy tune (or singing one, altogether)?
Glasgow music schools and the national conservatoire
Glasgow has the highest density of higher education institutions offering courses in music, and the largest population of music students in all of Scotland.
Ranked among the world’s top 10 performing arts centres, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is nestled in the heart of Glasgow. The school houses students of dance, drama, music, production, film and performing arts education, all under one roof.
With over 500 performances throughout the year, the RCS encourages its students to practice their skills from the get-go, offering multiple performance opportunities, not only on campus, but also throughout the country and internationally. The teaching staff also gives students the chance to get a sense of the professional world, as most of them combine teaching with their own musical work. And numerous industry specialists visit the campus as Visiting Artists for special lectures to provide students with real industry experience.
The conservatoire also offers classes for adults throughout the year, from beginners courses to short study courses that coach those who wish to integrate the conservatory and embark upon a career in the arts. The Lifelong Learning department offers courses in a range of different topics, from Piano and Conducting Skills, to more specified courses like Composition, Audition Preparation, or even Introduction to Sitar, for adults wanting to learn something new or perfect their skills further.
By way of example, a full day audition preparation course costs £85, while a week-long full time summer school course can cost anywhere between £520 and £550.
Other music schools, such as the Glasgow School of Music, offer lessons in singing, as well as various instruments, such as guitar, piano, and violin. Singing lessons focus on using vocal exercises and practicing the appropriate techniques to promote voice projection.
Music schools may be the ideal solution for you if you’re thinking of combining your newfound gift of song with a particular instrument.
If what you’re looking for is to truly focus on your voice, a better option could be a more specialised singing school.
In Glasgow, several independent schools scattered throughout the city centre offer voice lessons to children and adults alike. Unlike some music schools, there is no audition required - everyone is welcome! All you need is motivation and a passion for singing.
One such school, the Singing Fiddles, offers one on one tuition to hone in on students’ individual goals, whether they are preparing for an audition, practicing their singing to eventually perform onstage or at karaoke, or just wanting to become more confident singers. Beginners are more than welcome, as no previous musical knowledge is required to take lessons, and the school offers low-cost trial lessons, so you can give it a go before committing to the standard lessons.
Another singing school in the area, Happy Voices, was founded by singer and actor Hannah Howie, a Royal Conservatoire of Scotland alum. Hannah places confidence and health at the centre of her lessons, teaching her students how to find their voices in a happy and healthy way. She starts her lessons with multiple vocal exercises, some of which are even available on her website, such as the Lip Trill. This exercise works to mimic the vocal cords coming together in the larynx, ensuring that your air flow is consistent, your diaphragm is busy working and that your body is relaxed.
The Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland (TMSA), founded in 1966, is a membership organisation open to all that works to promote Scotland’s unique musical heritage. The association allows anyone and everyone to participate in various cultural traditions, both as performers and as audience members, by running festivals, concerts, workshops, tours and competitions throughout the country. Different branches, located in various Scottish cities, are also responsible for promoting the specific musical traditions of the area.
Shapenote Scotland is an informal association, created by people who like to sing, workshop, and promote shapenote music in Scotland. Shapenote music includes unaccompanied three- and four-part harmony pieces, typically religious in nature, dating back to eighteenth-century America. The association meets in Glasgow on the first Friday of every month and holds annual All-Day Singings, as is the tradition in the United States, where anyone is welcome to come sing.
Another option to let out some energy through song is to join one of the many choirs that call Glasgow home.
The Glasgow Phoenix Choir, for example, is one of the oldest established choirs in the UK! With about 120 members of all ages, the choir covers titles ranging from musicals, Scottish opera, sacred music, pop, and everything in between. Beginners are welcome, as the group doesn’t require previous musical knowledge (many of its members don’t necessarily know how to read music). Even if you cannot actually sing, but you are interested in forming part of a larger group of music enthusiasts, you can also join the Glasgow Phoenix Choir as an Associate Member.
Other choirs, such as the City of Glasgow Chorus and the Glasgow Contemporary Choir, have more specific repertoires, although both are also open to all, with no audition required. The City of Glasgow Chorus, one of the biggest independent choral groups in Scotland, focuses on less familiar, mainstream choral pieces. They also partner with several different orchestras across the UK, and work with them for many of their concerts. The Contemporary Choir was launched in Glasgow in 2014 to allow people with no musical experience to come together, meet new people and perform in public. With no sheet music, they sing contemporary songs accessible to all, and they hold about four performances per year. They also offer free taster sessions, so you can even see what’s it all about before signing up to become a member (for only £25 a month!).
Many different online platforms can now put tutors in touch with students from all over the country needing extra help in a particular subject.
One of these platforms, Superprof, has identified over 3,200 instructors offering singing lessons throughout the United Kingdom, with about 15 of them based in Glasgow. The average hourly rate for these tutors is £25, but certain variables, such as experience or the degree the tutor holds, will influence the final price. For example, an hour-long lesson with a self-taught tutor or a current student will likely cost less than a lesson with an instructor who has over 20 years of professional singing experience.
Contrary to singing in a group, which we covered above, a private tutor will help you work on more technical and precise topics, and, above all, will focus on your specific goals. It’s also important to note that it’s possible to take lessons online, thanks to our instructors who are available to teach via webcam.
Another advantage of Superprof is that most of our instructors offer their first trial course for free, which can turn out to be extremely useful to assess the tutor’s teaching methods and style.
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