Sing Your Heart Out!
“Singing lessons are like body building for your larynx.”
~ Bernadette Peters
An experienced teacher and classically trained lyric soprano (Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance, The Boston Conservatory), I provide private voice lessons to adults and young people (ages 13+).
Study voice/singing technique including…
- breath-control and endurance,
- anatomy of the voice,
- vocal quality, strength and stamina, and
…in order to develop your singing voice and learn how to avoid causing damage to your voice.
The languages included in my coaching repertoire are English, French, German, Italian and Latin.
For more information, please contact me:
Susan Dunning Richard
“Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.”
~ Victor Hugo
“Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend.“
~ Ludwig van Beethoven
Lessons are available in half-hour and hour time slots and can be scheduled weekly or bi-weekly during established evening or weekend time blocks.
The one-hour interview and introductory lesson for new students is $50. After the introductory lesson, the studio rates are as follows:
Payment by cash or check is due at the time of the lesson; credit cards are not accepted. Checks should be made payable to Susan D. Richard.
Cancellations must be made by phone at least 24 hours in advance of the lesson. For example, if your lesson is at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, you must cancel before 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday. If a lesson must be missed and you have provided the required notice, the lesson can be rescheduled.
Payment is due for missed lessons or lessons canceled without the required notice. All missed lessons are charged at the full rates. If there is an outstanding payment for a missed lesson, additional lessons will not be scheduled until payment is received. In addition, you may lose your scheduled time slot.
(Exceptions: personal and family emergencies, weather emergencies, extraordinary acts of nature, alien abductions, etc).
Please do not come to your lesson if you are sick (cold, flu, respiratory illness), for your sake and mine! I will make every effort to reschedule your lesson.
It is expected that you will arrive to your lesson on time, lightly warmed up and prepared to sing, with any assignments completed. If you arrive late for a lesson, I will not extend your lesson beyond your normal time slot.
It is expected that you will bring to your lessons a pencil and paper with which to take notes and any assigned music (in a three-ring binder without page protectors).
It is expected that you will vocalize/rehearse at least 15-20 minutes each day.
It is expected that you will make every effort to maintain vocal health (see below Top Ten Tips for Vocal Health).
Dress comfortably for your lessons in clothes that allow you to breathe and move. Singing is an athletic endeavor!
Bring a tape recorder to record your lessons. Playing it back during your rehearsals between lessons will aid in your progress.
10. Do not smoke (anything!) and avoid inhaling any kind of smoke in your environment. Smoking causes throat and voice irritation and dries out the mucous membranes lining your nose and throat. This adversely affects the health of your throat/vocal anatomy and your production of vocal tone.
9. Keep your mucous membranes moist. Drink at least eight glasses of water each day. Keep the air moist – use a vaporizer during the dry winter months. Beware of and compensate for dry air in offices, classrooms, dormitories, hotels, and planes.
8. Do not consume excessive amounts of alcoholic beverages. They act as a diuretic and cause dehydration. This suppresses mucous secretions.
7. Stay healthy. As much as possible, prevent colds and other upper respiratory infections (URIs). Keep the humidity above 40%. When mucous membranes are dry, you are much more susceptible to URIs. Get plenty of rest – at least eight hours each night – especially before a performance.
6. Avoid taking certain over-the-counter medications:
- Aspirin promotes capillary fragility, which may increase the potential for small hemorrhaging in the vocal cords. Use an aspirin substitute like Tylenol (acetaminophen).
- Antihistamines dry out the mucous membranes. If allergies require the use of antihistamines, know the results – inhale steam and drink a lot of water to counteract the drying of the mucous membranes.
- Cold remedies usually contain both aspirin and antihistamines.
- Anabolic drugs and androgens, which include some oral contraceptives, can create a hormonal imbalance which often deepens the voice and makes it difficult to control pitch. These symptoms are sometimes irreversible even after the drugs are discontinued.
5. Take care of your voice.
- Most damage to the speaking and singing voice is caused by overuse. Save your voice for performing.
- Do not try to sound like someone else – develop your own unique voice.
- Avoid habitual throat clearing and coughing.
- Treat your speaking voice as carefully as you would your singing voice – give it as much breath-support as if you were singing.
4. Speak at a natural volume. Never scream – not a sports event, not even for joy! Avoid a too boisterous laugh – it slaps the vocal cords together violently. Avoid talking over loud music or noises (traffic, vacuum cleaner, car engine, etc).
3. Speak at a natural pace. Speaking rapidly causes tension of the throat muscles, which in turn causes a high larynx position – a disaster for a singer, because a low position is essential for correct singing and speaking.
2. Do not drink milk or eat chocolate/other dairy products before rehearsing or performing. It causes excess secretion of mucous.
1. Speak and sing only in the correct tessitura (pitch range). When you are tired or have a sore throat, your voice will sound gravelly. There is one pitch (fundamental pitch) that you use most in speaking – the pitch which is produced with the least amount of energy and sounds clear. You must not let your pitch drop even if you are tired, depressed or ill.
– Susan Dunning Richard, soprano
B.M. Vocal Performance, The Boston Conservatory