- What style do you teach?
- What is the Institute for Vocal Advancement (IVA)?
- How can you help me?
- How do IVA Technique lessons work?
- How do I book a lesson?
- What is your cancellation policy?
- When do you teach?
- Do you teach children and students?
- What do Skype lessons consist of?
- How many lessons do you suggest having, and how long should I practice for?
- So, what’s the difference between you and the all the other teachers I’ve had lessons from?
- “I can’t read music or play an instrument, so I’m not sure if I can take singing lessons”
- Is singing a natural gift or can anyone sing?
- How long will it take for me to be a really good singer?
- How can I keep my voice in good shape?
We don’t teach a specific style – we believe that each person has their own unique style and personality as a singer. We teach the IVA Technique which will give you the tools to develop your voice in a way that is comfortable and natural to you. We understand that every singer is unique, so we won’t teach you to be a clone of ourselves; we’ll help and encourage you to find your own voice.
IVA was founded by a group of world-class teachers of singing who have over 125 years of combined experience training singers and teachers of singing. The founding members have dedicated themselves to learning the best method for training the voice, and to pass this knowledge on to others.
The IVA technique is based on 17th and 18th Century principles of singing developed by the Old Italian School of Singing. The goal is to train voices to sing in a free and natural manner, smoothly, from the bottom of the range to the top with no breaks or sudden changes in quality.
Training in this technique has been used to help improve a singer’s range, stamina, breath control, vocal strength, access to dynamics, flexibility and vocal quality. This can then be applied across any style of music without fatigue or damage to the voice.
Find out more about the Institute for Vocal Advancement.
Whether you have had lessons before, or are a complete beginner, the IVA technique is for you. It takes singing right back to the basics, and focuses on what the vocal folds are doing, rather than how to achieve a certain sound using facial expressions, external muscles, or exaggerated breathing. It will balance the voice, and allow you to sing freely and without strain throughout your natural range.
As the technique is not focused on a specific style, it allows you to develop your own style and sound, so you will be able to sing anything from Beyonce to Avenue Q, and everything in between!
In your first lesson, we’ll have a discussion about your goals and aims, and conduct an assessment of your voice. We’ll tailor your lesson to what we hear during the assessment, and explain more about the technique as the lesson progresses. In subsequent lessons, we’ll continue building upon the foundations we laid in the previous lessons and iron out any problems you may currently be experiencing. We’ll also hear the songs you’ve been working on and give you tools to fix anything you may be struggling with. Your lessons will be recorded onto a CD that you can take away and listen to and practice with so you know that you’re singing as you did in your lesson.
It is usually a good idea to bring a bottle of water with you to your lesson, as well as any songs you are working on, or want to work on. We usually prefer to work with tracks, but you can bring sheet music if you prefer. We are currently building a sheet music library for the studio and we do have internet access in the studio so we can find songs if necessary.
Please see our About Lessons page for more details on teachers, lesson rates and block bookings.
We operate a strict 48 hour cancellation policy – cancel 48 hours before your lesson and you won’t be charged. Cancel between 48 and 24 hours before your lesson and half the lesson price will be charged. Cancel less than 24 hours before your lesson and the full lesson price will be charged.
Unfortunately, teaching time is limited, and there will be no exceptions. If your instructor has to cancel or reschedule a lesson, you will not be charged and there will be a reasonable amount of notice given to any students affected. Full terms and conditions are available.
Please see our about lessons page for each instructor’s teaching times and rates. Lessons will not be offered outside of the times stated, unless there are extenuating circumstances surrounding the instructor themselves. The instructor will then contact you directly to discuss the options.
Yes, both instructors offer lessons to children and students aged 14yrs and up. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss lessons for children or students.
Skype lessons are conducted the same way as a lesson in person. The only difference is that in a regular lesson, the scales will be played for you in full – this is not possible over Skype due to the slight delay in transmission so you’ll get a key played for you instead. Students who can consistently sing on key will benefit most from Skype lessons – if you are a complete beginner we recommend coming for a lesson in person.
It is advised to have a high quality webcam and to wear headphones to get the full benefit from Skype lessons; a room where you can have your lesson without being disturbed is also recommended.
Normally we would suggest a lesson a week, but we are aware that this may not be affordable for everyone. We would, however, suggest at least one lesson per fortnight to progress at a reasonable pace.
When it comes to practising, little and often is the key. 10- 15 minutes a day is a good guideline – and if you can manage another couple of times for 5 minutes each throughout the day then that’s even better.
Frequency is much better than duration; you’ll make much more progress if you do 15 minutes of focused practice as opposed to 60 minutes of distracted practice! Your lesson CD will help you practise as you’ll be able to dial into the feeling you had during the lesson, and know that you are practising just as you vocalised before.
The IVA Technique is constantly evolving to include the latest useful methods in teaching and instructing. So, we’re expected to take regular lessons with instructors at a higher level than ourselves and study with the IVA Master Teachers to make sure we are up to date with these latest developments.
As instructors with IVA, we are committed to studying for two years before we become officially certified, and it takes a further two years of study at each level before progression to the next. It takes a minimum of TEN YEARS commitment to achieve the highest level of the instructor program, so you can be sure that we are well equipped to help you be the best singer you can possibly be.
You don’t need to be able to read music or play an instrument to be able to sing. As long as you can sing along with the piano there won’t be a problem. If you do struggle with singing along to the piano, we’ll help you with it as part of your lesson goals. There will also be plenty of tracks to choose from when you are picking songs so you won’t even need to look at a piece of sheet music unless you choose to do so.
This is a hard question to answer. To an extent everyone can learn how to sing, and to be a better singer but it all depends on your background, your musical history and abilities. Some people are naturally better than others, but other people have to work at it. We do believe everyone can learn how to sing, and at YVS we do try and equip you with the tools to be better singer.
During lessons we’ll often work on (where appropriate) rhythm, ear training and general musicianship. Even great singers, whom you think were born with the voice they have will need help with their voices. Good singers are like Olympic athletes. They should constantly be training and developing their voice no matter how advanced they may be. Others will disagree with these statements but these are from our personal experience as singers and teachers.
Many people can expect an immediate improvement in their voice with the IVA Technique. But, the voice is part of the human body and as such we cannot offer any guarantees or time scales on how long it will take. It really does depend on your voice – whether you have any bad habits, are a regular performer, your health; vocal health, the list is endless. It is totally individual to each person.
Regular lessons from a good instructor and a regular practice schedule will help the most. Drinking plenty of water and getting plenty of sleep will be beneficial too. It also helps if you don’t smoke, do drugs or drink to excess either! Any time you perform or sing, make sure you warm up your voice beforehand, and warm it down afterwards too!
Treat your voice like any other muscle – and you’re on track for a healthy voice.