woman taking singing lessons from vocal coach Jennifer Harding of Buckhorn, Ontario in the Kawartha Lakes region

Singing lessons: don’t be shy, sign up

Have you always wanted to learn to sing? Sign up for singing lessons at the Buckhorn Community Centre with international performer and vocal coach, Jennifer Harding.

“I have worked with students who have never sung, right up to coaching performers for leads in musical roles or students who are working towards placement in professional training programs,” says Kawartha Lakes resident Jennifer.

But does Jennifer really believe anyone can learn to sing?

“Yes,” replies Jennifer emphatically. “Obviously everyone will have different goals they’re striving for. But does everyone have a voice? And does that voice produce sound? Yes. Then you can learn the basic techniques of singing.”

A vocal coach with big stage experience

Before she started teaching singing lessons, Jennifer earned her living as a singer. She started performing in musicals and plays professionally about 20 years ago.

“After graduating from arts college in Canada I began working internationally as a singer on cruise ships, in casinos and for large-scale corporate events” says Jennifer.

In 2012, Jennifer moved to London, England to pursue musical theatre. She succeeded, scoring roles in musicals such as Mamma Mia!, Legally Blonde and Funny Girl.

“I toured with shows worldwide. I got to perform everywhere from London, Dublin and Edinburgh to Monte Carlo and Istanbul.”

In between shows, Jennifer began working as a vocal coach at performing arts universities and colleges in London, England.

“I helped run a children’s musical theatre program from 2014-2018 and started teaching voice technique around 2015.”

In 2020, Jennifer returned to Canada settling in Buckhorn, Ontario in the Kawartha Lakes region.

“I was raised in Toronto, but our family had a cottage in Fenelon Falls. My parents moved to Buckhorn about 20 years ago. My partner and I followed suit, with our daughter and dog, in 2020!”

How many singing lessons does it take?

Learning to sing is a methodical process that requires a commitment from the student if they are going to feel confident in their singing abilities.

“For my singing classes I like students to commit to 1-2 terms, which consist of anywhere from 10-20 lessons,” says Jennifer. “By then they should have a few songs under their belt and a handful of warmups that make them feel confident as a singer.”

What happens at a singing class?

Jennifer’s singing lessons are 50-minute weekly sessions.

“Lessons consist of a basic warmup, then we build on what’s needed each week. I ask students to suggest music and we discuss song choices. Usually I provide a starter song and let them bring one of their own as well.”

A typical, 50-minute, individual vocal session with Jennifer will focus on:

  • Physical and vocal warmups
  • Voice technique
  • Breathing work
  • Sound quality
  • Ear training
  • Performing with confidence
  • Basic music theory
  • A wide range of musical styles

Singing lessons based on a well-rounded approach

When it comes to her singing classes, Jennifer’s approach as a vocal coach is based on a mixture of having studied voice, professional education and practical experience as a singer.

“I trained in college in speech and voice technique, and after working professionally as a performer for 15 years, I identified a specific need for vocal coaches who could break down the science and physicality of the voice, and start passing on that information to students, particularly those just starting out.”

Success as a vocal lessons coach comes in many forms

Some of Jennifer’s students have worked in large-scale musicals and sung on television projects. A few of her junior students will be starting at performing arts high schools in the fall. But Jennifer is equally pleased with the positive impact she has had on the lives of her adult students.

“I have adult students who sign up for my singing lessons as their own personal ‘relax and focus time’. They use it as an escape from work and everyday life. It’s a way for them to find time for themselves and become confident in their voice—that is such a win!”

Learning to sing will build more than your voice

Jennifer has taught singing lessons to students ranging in age from 6 to 75.

“I ask that students be at least 6 years old to start as the level of focus needed for a 50-minute vocal session is a bit much for little ones.”

No matter what the age of her students, the benefits of learning to sing go beyond being able to stay in key or hit a note.

“The overall benefits of singing lessons for all ages are confidence, focus and the ability to find their passion in music.”

For Jennifer, this is what is most rewarding about being a vocal coach.

“I have had students who, at the beginning, were terrified to speak in class! When somebody can grow into a performer, after sharing time with me…it’s just the greatest,” says Jennifer.

How to sign up for singing lessons

Singing lessons with Jennifer Harding take place at the Buckhorn Community Centre. To sign up for Jennifer’s next vocal lesson session contact her at jennifer_meghan@hotmail.com.

Photo credit: Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels