What is the difference between classical and contemporary singing?

When people speak about ‘classical singing’, they are usually referring to opera and Western art songs (often sung in Italian or German), while ‘contemporary singing’ describes pop/rock/musical theatre/jazz music from the 1950s to today. The method of vocal production is consistent across all genres of music – it is the stylistic conventions that differ. Whether you learn one or the other depends on your personal taste in music and aspirations for the future.

Good technique is important regardless of the style of music. At SVA you will be taught correct technique that will allow you to get the very best out of your voice, and be able to sing safely without damaging your voice. Some people have the perception that contemporary singing equates to poor or no technique, but at SVA that is simply not the case.

It is important to learn with a teacher whose expertise is in the genre you want to learn. SVA specialises in contemporary singing. If you require the services of a classical/opera teacher, feel free to contact us and we will do our best to refer you to an appropriate teacher.

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Can I choose my teacher for private lessons?

We always endeavour to accommodate specific teacher requests. Your options will depend on teacher availability and your own scheduling preferences.

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Do I need to have a teacher who is the same gender as me?

No. There is a common misconception that singing students should only be taught by teachers who are of the same gender. Vocal technique is consistent across genders and SVA teachers are trained to deal with the unique characteristics of each, such as the male voice ‘breaking’ (the female voice also deepens during adolescence, but not to the same extent). SVA offers male and female teachers as we recognise that some students feel more comfortable with a teacher of the same gender.

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What happens in a private lesson?

In a private lesson you will work on songs that are specific to your needs as a singer, pianist or guitarist. You might be preparing pieces for a concert performance or audition, or a school music assessment. Your teacher will also spend time developing your technique by working on any issues that are particular to you. During private lessons you’ll have the opportunity to discuss your musical goals with your teacher, so that together you can formulate a plan to help you get there.

Traditionally most people have had private lessons. However, we have developed a more holistic approach to music training by combining private lessons with group programs, and we have multiple options available. Private lessons are available as 30 or 60 minute sessions.

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What lesson options do you offer?

Click here for more information on our classes.

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Should I take private singing lessons or a group class?

For most school-age students, the ideal structure is to combine a fortnightly private lesson with a weekly group class (at a similar cost to weekly private lessons). This allows students to experience the full range of learning experiences that SVA offers, and combines individual attention with performing for a group and making music with others. However, at times weekly private lessons are a more appropriate option.

If you have any questions about what would be best for your child, please contact us.

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Can I have fortnightly private lessons? How often should I have lessons?

We do offer fortnightly private lessons, although we strongly recommend that students only take fortnightly private lessons if they also attend a weekly group class. Particularly for younger students, a fortnight (or even a month in the event of a missed lesson) is a long time to go between touching base with a teacher and receiving that all-important feedback, encouragement and direction. In our experience students are more likely to give up if they are having infrequent lessons.

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Help! I’m not musical and don’t know what my child should be doing!

Not a problem. Just contact us and let us know a bit about your child – their age, musical experience and musical goals – and we’ll let you know what the options are, and what we think is best for your child.

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Will students be taught correct technique?

Yes. We have a strong emphasis on teaching students correct vocal technique to ensure vocal safety and longevity.

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Will my child sing age-appropriate songs?

At SVA we are very careful to ensure that students perform songs that reflect experiences and emotions that they might reasonably have experienced in everyday life.

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Do you teach music theory and musicianship?

Yes! We believe a firm foundation in music theory is important, and we are intentional in incorporating music literacy skills into our programs.

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Do you offer performance opportunities?

Performance experience is important, so as well as in-class performance opportunities, SVA offers multiple concerts each year, and various local performance opportunities as they arise.

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I have a dance/drama audition and need to prepare a song – can you help?

Yes! Please fill in the registration form to arrange a casual lesson.

However, please note that if you are going to be attending auditions regularly, you should consider having ongoing tuition. Having two or three lessons in the week prior to an audition definitely helps students to feel confident and well-prepared, but doesn’t enable significant correction of technique or pitch inaccuracies.

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What kind of music will I sing?

At SVA we focus on contemporary vocal styles – pop, rock, jazz and musical theatre. Your teacher will choose pieces in conjunction with you, according to what is going to help you learn a concept/develop your technique, what you will enjoy singing, and what is lyrically appropriate. Our teachers have a wide knowledge of contemporary music, and are able to draw on their vast experience to assist you with song choice.

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What age should I start my child in singing/piano/guitar lessons?

We get asked this question a lot! And the oh-so-helpful answer is… it depends!

Factors to consider are:

  • can my child sit still and concentrate for 30 minutes?
  • can my child read? It’s not impossible for students who are pre-literate to learn an instrument, but it does generally require parents to supervise all practice sessions at home.
  • to what degree am I prepared to help them practise at home?
  • does my very young child show unusual interest or ability in music?

One of the most unhelpful things you can do is to have your child learn for a term or two, then stop during netball/cricket/soccer season, then try again for a couple of terms. Music education needs to be consistent for students to enjoy long-term gains, so we recommend waiting until your child can enjoy uninterrupted progress.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss your child’s situation.

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What ages does SVA cater for?

Group programs are available for students in Kindergarten to Year 12, and private lessons are available for ages Kindergarten to adult.

All students are welcome at SVA – professional singers, aspiring professionals, students studying music at school, dancers who need to learn how to sing, and those who simply want to sing for recreation. We also welcome students with special needs and invite you to speak with us to see how we can accommodate your / your child’s needs.

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Where is SVA located?

SVA is located in Kirrawee, in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire, in custom-built premises in the building of Ettingshausens (dance and martial arts). SVA is easily accessible for students from all around the Shire, including Cronulla, Caringbah, Woolooware, Miranda, Gymea, Sylvania, Oyster Bay, Sutherland, Jannali, Como, Menai, Bangor and Illawong. Many students also come from further afield.

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What are your fees?

For all prices, click here.

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How does payment work?

You will be invoiced for the coming term. Payments are due prior to the start of each term, or you may pay half of your invoice at the start of term and half mid-way through term.

SVA accepts direct deposit (preferred), cash, cheque and online payment via credit card.

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How do I register?

To register for lessons, click here.

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Can students start mid-term?

Students are welcome to join SVA at any time throughout the term or year. If there are no places available at the time of enquiry you will be added to our waiting list and contacted when a place opens up. Your invoice will be adjusted according to the number lessons remaining in the current term.

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When are you open?

SVA’s main times of operation are during government school terms. Most students have their lessons between 3-9pm weeknights and 9am-1pm Saturdays. Once you enrol you will receive the SVA handbook with more specific date information.

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