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Voice Lessons for all Ages - the benefits of a musical education

Several years ago, Lorna Brain participated in a radio interview about her experiences as a voice and music teacher. Here's part of her interview transcribed - it's an interesting conversation about learning and the value of studying music, both personally and professionally. Let us know what you think!

Interviewer: What are some of the benefits of taking up music as a pastime?

Music opens up a world of emotions and creativity for a person. Making music helps people to get in touch with new and exciting aspects of themselves. Joining a choir, for instance, introduces a person to great choral music as well as involving them with others who have the same musical goals.

Interviewer: So what are some of the biggest challenges for people who are looking to learn a new instrument or take voice lessons?

Probably in many people the desire is there, but there's also lack of self confidence and shyness, and fear of making a fool of themselves. A lot of students who come into my studio are of course nervous and shy, and it takes a while to instil some confidence in them. But, I think that people want to find ways to express themselves and some people find it through music.

Interviewer: As a music teacher, do you notice that people learn more than just technical skill?

Absolutely - I think it does instil self-confidence. Many younger people may not have gotten in touch with their emotions and their feelings and through music, and the words of the librettist (who of course are usually older than the student) they allow themselves to really get in touch with those emotions and not be afraid to show them.

Interviewer: Learning music, and really any art form, can be quite challenging - you pointed out some of those challenges. But, is a person really ever too old to learn?

No. I don’t think a person is really ever too old to learn to play and to enjoy music, although I recommend learning the piano as a first instrument in order to learn to read music and to see the results fairly quickly. And, learning an instrument teaches a student discipline, focus, and self confidence. I asked one student the other day what they've learned from taking voice lessons. One said punctuality and discipline, and one said it kept her out of trouble by having an interesting extracurricular activity.

Interviewer: What are some of the advantages of taking music at young age?

Both with an instrument and with voice, there's flexibility involved and age does have some barriers - even hand flexibility and voice flexibility. I think a younger student of course has more of a chance of singing or playing professionally. But, even if they don't, any person of any age can get a great deal of pleasure from studying voice or an instrument. It's a feeling of accomplishment that is terribly important now.


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