Do you offer online sessions via Zoom, FaceTime, or Skype?
Yes. 50% of our studio is online. We work with students from all over the world from Alaska to Brazil, Singapore to Australia. Many students even within the city of Vancouver continue with online lessons for the convenience.
For online lessons, it is important that the student has a computer, headphones, and access to high speed internet. Otherwise, online lessons are a great way to work around busy schedules, touring, traveling for work, etc. Many students remark that online sessions feel invaluable and equally as successful as in-person lessons.
Do you work with singers who have injuries or pathologies (i.e. vocal fold nodules, polyps, muscle tension dysphonia, etc.)?
Yes! Billy has had the honour and privilege of working with many artists to help retrain their voice after vocal fold injuries or pathologies happen (in conjunction with a medical team). Billy has successfully worked with students to retrain them after vocal fold nodules, vocal fold paresis, vocal fold polyps, pseudocysts, muscle tension dysphonia, and many other common pathologies.
What happens in our first voice lesson?
The first lessons starts with a brief getting to know one another. We will discuss your favourite artists, your influences, your musical background and your goals. This is important because the more Billy understands your goals, the more he can help you achieve them. Think of voice lessons akin to being a personal training session for the voice and artistry. If I don't have a clear idea of your goals, it will be difficult for me to train to you achieve them.
Then we will do a short vocal warm up and you'll sing through two pieces (please bring a piece that you feel comfortable singing and one piece that you find challenging). This is not a test or an audition, this is just a chance to hear your sound, style, and influences.
From there, we move onto the vocal workout. This is where we address some of the technical challenges and begin building the voice towards meeting your vocal goals.
Each lesson wraps up with homework assignments (practice guides and repertoire), and listening homework.
What happens in voice lessons in general?
Voice lessons are a space where we explore and expand upon the capabilities of your voice. As mentioned above, think of voice lessons as a personal training session for the voice.
Each voice lesson begins with a vocal warmup. This is where we get the voice moving and get it into a healthy and neutral place. From the vocal warmup, we move into a vocal workout.
Vocal workouts are where we begin to expand and condition the voice for the repertoire and style of music that each artist wants to be singing. This is where we build technical proficiency in the voice.
Finally, we finish each lesson by exploring repertoire (songs). This is where we apply the technical aspects explored in the vocal workout. We explore material that will healthily challenge and expand your voice.
Are all voice lessons the same?
Voice lessons are not generic. One person's perfect vocal warmup could be another person's recipe for vocal fold nodules!
When we warm up and work out the voice each lesson, we are working with that voice that day in that moment. No two lessons are the same for any individual artist as we are constantly expanding upon our skillsets as vocal athletes and artists.
Furthermore, each vocal workout is specifically designed to healthily explore and condition your voice for the repertoire that you want to be singing. For example, a professional operatic soprano's vocal workout will vary distinctly from a professional blues artist. Both singers will work on healthily exploring and expanding upon their voice (building technique) but the conditioning for the final product is slightly different (style). In athletic terms, we wouldn't condition a long distance runner and a boxer in the exact same way, while both are athletes, they require variations in their training -as do vocal athletes.
Who picks the songs we sing in lessons?
This is almost always a collaborative effort. Billy will make song suggestions of repertoire that will give singers the opportunity to continue building proficiency in specific areas of their voice.
However, singers are always welcome to bring new repertoire into lessons (in fact, they are strongly encouraged to do so). If Billy ever assigns a song you don't like, you just email him and he will select another one or work collaboratively to find a new piece that addresses the same technical area of the voice.