If you are considering taking singing or voice lessons, we recommend that you first consider your goals. Whether you want to sing professionally, in a choir, or just improve your skills, you need to know what you want. That way, you have something to work toward, and you can also work on exercises and songs tailored to your needs. You can discuss these exercises and song selections with your voice teacher. When you pick a song, you’ll generally work on the song first, learning the lyrics and the melody. After you have it down, you can work on developing your technique and style.
In a typical voice lesson, you don’t just practice your songs, though. Most voice teachers will have you practice breathing before anything else. You’ll train yourself to stand correctly and use your whole body to breathe correctly, mainly from your diaphragm. You will also need to learn how to articulate well, especially when forming vowels. Once you have these two aspects of your training down, you’ll be warming up in order to shake out your nerves and to exercise your vocal chords. Your vocal chords need to be stretched just like any other muscle; and as they develop, you will expand your range.
For this reason, we suggest that you always warm up your voice before starting to sing, even when you are practicing on your own. You should practice daily so that you’re better prepared for your voice lessons and they’re more effective when you attend them. In order to get the most out of yourself and your lessons, you should also take care of your voice. Keep hydrated, and always bring water to your lessons. Avoid dairy and caffeine right before singing, as dairy creates phlegm and caffeine dries out your throat. Smoking also damages your voice, so you should avoid that in general. Most importantly, rest it when you need to. If you overtire yourself, you will not be at your peak for your lessons or for any other singing that you do.