A friend of mine forwarded me a video of her daughter singing a couple of songs in what looks like her high school auditorium, followed by a request asking if I could do anything to help her: vocal coaching, guitar lessons, stage presence…

Since I believe many parents have children with similar levels of talent, and there’s many adults that also wish to develop their gifts I decide to post my response here:

Well, there’s very little i could do not living in the neighborhood. But she is still in high school, right? Well, she should get involved in the choir, chorus or glee club. The instructors there are also vocal coaches.

If her school doesn’t have such programs, singing in a church choir wouldn’t be a bad idea as a substitute. One would want to place emphasis on the qualification of the choir instructor rather than the denomination of the church. They would rather have another good voice amongst their ranks regardless of one’s motive for being there.

There are also great tips and lessons from websites such as L2Pnet.com that can steer the inspiring vocalist in the right direction and avoid some mistakes that novices sometimes make.

She should also look into joining a band. It doesn’t need to be a serious “let’s get a record contract” band, but a band.

Most of her time in that kind of situation will be spent in rehearsal, which really wouldn’t be a bad thing. She’ll need to understand what a troublesome lot most musicians are, and the politics of being in band: how to wrangle band volume, showcasing (the personal variety), absenteeism, etc.

When the band does gig, she’ll learn to deal with all the things that can happen that doesn’t have anything to do with singing: filling time while the guitarist has to change a string, hecklers, power outages, wiring a p.a.

Investment in a small p.a. system (and, perhaps, monitors) and a mic, cable, stand wouldn’t be a bad thing. Most singers hope a band has this, or just assumes they do, but there’s nothing like ownership. Plus, guitarists, bassists and such don’t assume the singer would have the amplifiers for their instruments, so why would the singer assume they’d have a p.a. for her? Ownership proves you’re serious and willing to invest in your career.

One thing she’ll won’t have to practice is moving gear. That will come naturally. She’s not too fragile to help move gear, is she?

Guitar or piano lessons are useful, as in all the musical knowledge one can garner. So while learning to play guitar or keys, it wouldn’t hurt to know something about creating drums beats or crafting a bass line.

The internet, particularly youtube, is a vast and deep resource for those looking for instrument lessons. Unfortunately, you most sort through the good and bad…and sometimes it’s hard for the beginner to know the difference. But by comparing a view of the same type of lessons, such as how to play a G chord, the wheat will become separated from the staff.

I believe one on one lessons, typically found at local music stores, are still the best way to learn to play an instrument. But you got to want it. Without practicing between lessons the cost of those lessons will be lost.

If college is in her future, she should definitely look into their music and drama programs. The music for all the reasons listed above. The drama department for a couple of different reasons: One is they often produce musicals. And although they may recruit from the music department, they are usually separate entities.

Plus, this is the department that will most likely have a public address system. The knowledge of operating these systems is a boon to singers, especially younger ones, who take this for granted…usually assuming that someone will do it for them (because you know, they’re so helpless).
But the singer that does have this knowledge is certainly more respected: especially by the sound guy.

Sure, some have been able to make short cuts. American Idol has a whole generation of people thinking they just need someone to recognize their raw talent and within a season you’re on tour.

And while that has happened, a bulk of the contestants on that show toiled away the old fashion way, with blood, sweet and teardrops of working the stage, and the hours of rehearsal prepping for it, and almost going on the Idol show as an afterthought…or a hail Mary.

So, again, basically you just don’t need to want it, you have to work for it.

< div>Jake Kelly is a man on the constant search for enlightenment, if anyone finds it let him know so he can get some. For more of this hombre’s ramblings and the rest of L2P check out L2Pbandspace and L2Pnet.com.