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10 Life Lessons That I Learned from my Singing Teacher

In Guides for Musicians, Guides for Singers by Jake LLeave a Comment

Last updated on May 2nd, 2019 at 08:08 am

In the world we live in, some people are born with natural singing abilities, while others have to work harder to develop their singing voice. If you’re a singer like me, taking lessons from a singing teacher would benefit you tremendously.

To be honest, any aspiring singer, even established/professional singers would benefit from taking singing lessons as you gain valuable experience from someone who is knowledgeable in the craft while learning proper singing techniques.

While I have seen incredible growth in my singing abilities after taking lessons, I have seen even more growth as a person. Here are 10 life lessons that I learned from my singing teacher.

1. Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone

The first lesson I learned was on the first day I met my singing teacher. I always put aside taking singing lessons because I convinced myself to believe that I didn’t need it.

After much thought, I made the decision to take lessons. I was recommended to an excellent teacher by my other music teachers. This brings me to the start of my journey as a singing student.

At my first singing lesson, I was extremely nervous because this was the first time a professional singer was going to analyze my singing abilities. My teacher quickly noticed that I was nervous just by listening to my voice and seeing my body language.

To help me feel a little more comfortable, my singing teacher began asking me questions. He wanted to learn more about me to develop a personal connection. We even discussed what types of music that I enjoy singing, so he can learn a little more about my style.

He explained to me that in our lessons, we’ll be constantly stepping outside of my comfort zone. In doing so, I will be able to work on things that can use the most work, while also expanding my experiences as a singer.

This is the first life-lesson that I learned from my singing teacher. I was always the person who loved to play it safe. I didn’t like stepping out of my comfort zone. If we don’t challenge ourselves to step outside of our comfort zone, we limit ourselves to how much we can grow.

After the first lesson, I knew that this was going to be an interesting ride.

2. Don’t be Afraid of Making Mistakes

Most people don’t like making mistakes. It would be great if everything was perfect all of the time, but it isn’t like that at all.

While I was taking singing lessons, I was afraid to make mistakes because I didn’t want to be judged by my singing teacher and my fellow singing students. My fear was that people would think that my mistakes were the results of me not putting in enough work in the practice rooms.

Being so fixated on this mindset left me more prone to making even more mistakes. My mind was all over the place while performing in front of my singing teacher.

At one of my singing lessons, my teacher sat me down before we began. He told me that it was okay to make mistakes because you can learn from them.

It’s actually important to make mistakes, especially during your lessons and during any of your practice sessions. Make the mistakes now, fix them, and be more prepared for when you have an important performance.

Mistakes are important for growth because it allows us to learn from them. They also show us what we need to work on more.

I’ve learned to accept mistakes as a continuation of my learning process in anything I do. There’s always a lesson to be learned. we just need to acknowledge them when it is presented to us.

3. Know Your Limitations

Understanding your limits with imagery of a mountain as a limit for now, but a goal for the future.

We all have our limitations, which is especially true when it comes to singing. Our voices are all unique, meaning everyone has their own limitations. Some can hit incredibly high notes while having the hardest time hitting lower notes, and vice versa.

But there other limitations that we have to consider. My singing teacher told me a story about his biggest regret in his teaching career.

Story Time

My singing teacher had a student who had so much potential for singing. He wanted to make sure that this student would reach the potential that he sees in him. Even with the amazing talent and abilities that his student possessed, he was still a beginner.

One day, he asked my teacher if he should audition for a musical that just started casting. He told his student that he should definitely try as it would be a great experience for him.

After a few days, the casting results were in and his student was able to get an offer for the lead role in the musical. His student was very hesitant of course as he still considered himself a beginner. However, my singing teacher convinced him to take the role because he truly believed that this was an opportunity for him to grow as a singer.

The student accepted the role after taking his advice from my teacher. After months and months of rehearsals, the student returned with bad news. His voice was damaged and wasn’t recovering. He didn’t know what to do as he couldn’t continue with the musical if his voice wouldn’t recover.

My teacher quickly realized that even though he had an incredible talent for singing, his student wasn’t experienced enough. He rushed into a lead musical role without enough vocal training in his background.

His student’s voice was damaged from the daily rehearsals and possibly from misuse of his voice through improper technique.

Many years later, the student’s voice never fully recovered and had to give up his dream of being a professional singer. My teacher still blames himself today for allowing that to happen to one of his students.

The Importance of Limitations

This is why my teacher is strict on us when it comes to understanding what our limits are. It is possible for us to expand our limitations, but we need to make sure to do it in a safe and steady way. It really helped me throughout my singing lessons as I was able to distinguish where my limits were. From there, I could work around it or work on getting past the limitation in a safe way.

In life, there are limitations in everything that we do. Knowing our limits help us make smart decisions. If we want to expand our limitations, we have to make sure to do so in a way where it won’t backfire and hurt us.

At the same time, when we understand our limitations, we will know for ourselves when we are ready to push for more.

4. Understand Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Similar to having our own limitations, we all have our own strengths and weaknesses. Some are very obvious to point out while others are harder to distinguish.

The first thing we did in my singing lessons was figure out what my strong points were and what type of weaknesses I had with my voice. My singing teacher did this to determine what we needed to work on more.

Understanding my strengths and weaknesses helped me set up clear goals for my singing. I knew what I had to work on every time I went into the practice rooms. Knowing my strengths also allowed me to make good song choices when it came to performances that I had to do in and out of class.

I realized that understanding your strengths and weaknesses is not just about knowing what you need to work on, or what advantages you would have in a certain area.

It’s about having a better understanding of the boundaries you have within your current skill level. This goes back to the importance of limitations.

Having a clear idea of your strengths and weaknesses in any skill helps you determine the necessary steps that are needed to take to improve.

We will also be able to make better decisions when it comes to taking on challenges that will potentially help us grow.

5. Challenge Yourself Often

My singing teacher taught me the importance of constantly challenging yourself. Challenges encourage growth, especially when it comes to singing.

An interesting mindset that I developed while I was taking lessons from my singing teacher was that if I wasn’t feeling challenged, I was in a comfortable spot. The more comfortable I was, the less growth there was for me.

This mindset encourages me to seek out more challenges when it came to my singing abilities. It didn’t matter how big or small the challenges were because, in the end, it all helped me grow as a singer.

This mindset also transitioned to my everyday life. I’m constantly seeking to improve myself in all aspects of life, a challenging task if I do say so myself. Being able to push myself to overcome challenges has taught me that I’m capable of more if I actually put in the work.

6. Constantly Seek Out New Experiences

One of the most important lessons that I learned from my singing teacher is that we should be constantly seeking out new experiences. This relates to challenging ourselves, overcoming weaknesses, and everything else. The fact that I pushed myself to finally take singing lessons was my way of seeking out a new experience.

When it came to my singing, my teacher always wanted me to try out new things. We tried different singing techniques during our lessons. Some things worked out and some didn’t, but we learned through trial and error.

My singing teacher also told all of his students that we need to put ourselves out there and put what we learned in our lessons to the test. I was able to experience things I never would’ve tried otherwise.


Performing in the Evita Musical at the University of Hawaii at Hilo

Photo Credit by @jt808photography on Instagram

These experiences led me to sing classical pieces in Italian and French, obtaining a music scholarship that helped pay for my tuition, and even being a part of a full musical production at our University Theater. Singing, dancing, and acting all at the same is not easy at all, but I was able to

show myself that it was possible.

All of these experiences helped me grow as a singer, as a performer, and as a person. I’ve definitely developed more self-confidence for myself.

Now I am constantly seeking out new experiences in my life. Through this process, I am able to encourage myself to grow even more to my highest potential.

7. Be Humble in Victory and Defeat

This was an interesting lesson to learn, and it was actually learned during one of my “chasing new experiences” episodes.

Competing Against the Star

During one of our group sessions where all of my singing teacher’s students would meet up for a class session, we were all informed about an event happening on campus. This event was our University’s Annual Battle of the Bands.

At first, I had no intention to sign up because one of the star students of the class was entering with a band filled with past winners. For the sake of privacy, we’ll call him Mike.

But like I said earlier, I was all about chasing new experiences that would help me grow as a singer, so I signed up anyway, just a few days before the actual event. Mike told us good luck and to have fun!

Preparing for the Event

Our band consisted of some of my closest friends who are talented musicians. We’ve performed many shows together and have had a lot of jam sessions. We had a lot of experience performing with each other, so preparing for this event wasn’t the hardest thing to do. We literally met up to create our setlist the night before the event. Now that was a challenge.

We weren’t stressing about any of the details. Our plan was to go out there, perform our hearts out, and gain another experience for the books.


Having a fun time performing at Battle of the Bands

Battle of the Bands 2017

Battle of the Bands Night

On the night of the event, we literally told ourselves that we’re not going to stress out about anything and we’ll focus on having a fun time on stage. We performed songs that we wanted to perform without the worry of placing in the top 3.

I told some jokes in between songs and tried to interact with the audience and my fellow bandmates. We really had a blast up there and before you know it, our 45-minute set was done. The crowd also asked for an encore and boy was that another fun experience for another time.

Mike arrived after our set. He was “upset” that he missed our show, but was sure we did great.

His band was the last to perform that night, and there were definitely a lot of people excited to see them perform. In fact, the audience grew much bigger when his band arrived as a lot of them were there to watch their performance.

Watching them perform was amazing, and it actually inspired me to keep working hard.

Who Won?

At the end of the night, it was time to announce the winners of the Annual Battle of the Bands.

We were surprised to see that we made it to the top 2. Of course, we were put up against Mike and his band. The host was ready to announce which band came in second and which came in first. My band and I literally came in together and someone said, “Guys, this is crazy. We actually got second place!” It was like time slowed down for a moment. All of sudden we hear Mike’s band’s name get called for second place.

We were confused until it finally hit us. We actually WON!

When True Colors Show

I went to congratulate Mike on the job well done. It was an honor to go up against a band like his, however, this is where I saw Mike’s true colors. He said, “Congratulations, I’m sure your band did really good, but we should’ve won.” During the band photoshoots, he stormed out of the venue, telling everyone that he was not going to affiliate himself with this year’s Battle of the Bands.

I spoke to one of the judges and she told me that the reason that Mike’s band got second place was the balance of their sound. To them, it sounded like it was all over the place and some instruments were overpowering others.

The judge also told me that attitude is just as important when it comes to performing. She basically told us that Mike’s band acted like they were better than everyone and that energy resonated with the judges.

Be humble in victory and defeat. That is the lesson I learned through this entire episode. An experience that I would have never gone after if my teacher didn’t push me to chase new experiences.

8. Be Yourself

Performing at the International Night event at the University of Hawaii at Hilo

We’ve probably heard this at least a couple of hundred times in our lives before from multiple different people. Don’t try to be someone you are not and be yourself.

It was during one of our group singing classes where each student was presenting a song that we were working on in our lessons. This was particularly a song of our choice so of course many of us sang songs from our favorite artists.

There was a student in the class, we’ll call him Brad, who loved singing songs by Adele. During these class sessions, it’s our job to analyze each person’s performance so we can give helpful tips that help improve the singer’s abilities. It was Brad’s turn to sing.

Brad sang the song “When We Were Young” by Adele and it was incredible. His voice matched the song perfectly and he hit notes that surprised everyone in the class. The only person who wasn’t fully impressed was my singing teacher.

When we were asked to give any thoughtful criticism regarding Brad’s singing, the class was silent because we thought it was a perfect performance.

This is when my teacher spoke. “It was a good performance, you really sounded like Adele. But I’m not here to listen to Adele sing, I’m here to listen to Brad.”

The class grew silent and Brad took it to heart. I thought some crazy things were about to happen, but things calmed down. Every singing student in the classroom learned a valuable lesson that day.

Be yourself, not someone else.

A Few Months Later

It was another day meeting up as a class to listen to each other sing. Brad sang the same song by Adele and what happened really caught me by surprise.

It was the same song, same instrumental, and the same classroom, but there was something different about Brad’s performance. He captivated everyone in the classroom with his unique rendition of Adele’s song.

My teacher stood up and clapped his hands saying, “Now that what I wanted to hear. Not Adele singing her own song, but Brad making Adele’s song his own.” Those words stuck with me ever since that day.

Being Myself In Everyday Life

This life lesson that I learned from my singing teacher has been applied to many different aspects of my life since then.

I’ve seen incredible growth so far, especially in my self-confidence. Not only have I found my own style in my music and singing, I was able to find my own style in life. We’re all unique individuals with our own lifestyles and personalities. Instead of focusing on trying to be someone we are not, we need to learn to love who we are and give our all in being ourselves.

9. Set Goals and Work Towards Them

It was very important for us to set goals for ourselves in our singing lessons. Not only did we set goals, we created our plans for how we would achieve them.

Small Goals

My singing teacher would tell us to set some smaller goals first, goals that we could achieve in a certain amount of time. These were like small steps for us to grow and feel a sense of achievement. This sense of achievement gave us the confidence to keep working hard and motivated us.

These goals could be as simple as going to the practice room for an hour a day or memorizing the first verse of a song we were working on before our next meeting.

Having small goals to achieve was nice because we were able to keep improving on our craft with a sense of actually progressing. The best part of these smaller goals is that it leads us towards our bigger goals. The goals that may take more time and hard work to achieve.

The Big Goals

Now, these are the goals that my singing teacher wanted us to set that would really push us to work hard. These type of goals consisted of drastic improvements in our singing abilities, achievements that required a lot of time and effort to accomplish.

My goal was to get people to take my singing abilities seriously. I was never the strongest singer and I sometimes got made fun of whenever I tried to sing. Of course over the years I was able to build my confidence and worked on my singing, but I always had a fear that people would think I was mediocre on stage.

This was actually one of the reasons why I decided to take singing lessons in the first place. I wanted to improve.

I definitely can say that I’m much closer to achieving this goal now and it’s been a crazy road so far. If it wasn’t for the smaller goals, the milestones that I’ve set in between for myself, I probably would’ve quit.

The Important Take Away From This Lesson

Goals are important to set for ourselves because they push us to work hard to achieve them. The thing that we have to keep in mind is that the goals we set need to be achievable. Actual goals that we can work towards.

The smaller goals in between are important too. The more we progress and work towards our goals, the more we’ll accomplish. We’ll even be able to set bigger goals that seemed impossible before.

10. It’s All About the Journey

This was probably the lesson that stuck with me the most. Through my singing lessons, I learned a lot about myself.

I watched myself grow as a singer and as a person, and my singing teacher and fellow classmates saw me too. It’s all about the journey. All of the obstacles we’ll face and the challenges to overcome. The people that we’ll meet and the moments we’ll share. Most importantly all of the lessons we’ll learn. It’s all a part of the journey that we are on.

That being said, we all need to learn to love the process, the idea of being on a journey of growth. Everyone will have a different story in the end and I learned that it’s up to us in how our journey will unfold.

Final Thoughts

Well, there you have it, 10 life lessons that I learned from my singing teacher.

It was such an incredible time learning from such a knowledgeable person, both in music and in life. I can truly say that he has helped me grow, both as a singer and as a person.

I hope the lessons I have shared will help you on your own journey as we continue to improve ourselves as singers, musicians, artist, and overall as people.

Until next time!

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