Welcome to the Studio
I teach students who have an interest in traditional voice lessons, who are age 17 and above, and who have some basic musical background or who are willing to explore musicianship skills and train the natural voice. (Ages 12 -16 with interview and approval of teacher)
What are "traditional" lessons? And what is the "natural" voice?
A traditional voice lesson teaches the singer how to operate the voice and clearly feel and understand how to make the sounds she is making. The singer learns how to make subtle adjustments to insure uniformity of sound throughout the entire vocal range and accessibility of all the notes within the vocal range. The singer learns her range - which very often is much different than what the novice singer believes it is. Traditional lessons include the practice of vocal exercises (not otherwise known as "warm-ups"), that teach assorted techniques applicable to similar passages in song material. Traditional lessons teach an appreciation for many styles and periods of music, and generally begin with the singing of folksong material and light classical material. Traditional lessons introduce the student to language, cultures, other fine arts, history, and more. Traditional lessons teach a student how to accept and appreciate the instruction they are receiving with grace and consideration for the teacher's knowledge and experience and not be contrary or combative. Traditional lessons involve much repetition, as technical expertise doesn't take place in one lesson. It is built with time.
Traditional lessons with this studio anticipate that the student will be self-motivated to complete assignments including learning vocal exercises, memorizing songs, practicing sight-singing, text and pronunciation, working detailed, taking the time to improve. The student will be self-starting, self-teaching, willing to explore ways to support her studies - such as learning to play song melodies on keyboard or piano which, in turn, leads to learning some piano theory.
The natural voice is an unadulterated, easily produced, acoustically resonant, flexible sound, devoid of muscle tensions and added stylistic affectation that in some forms of training substitutes for natural production. Beginning training of the natural voice is a humbling experience of introspection and self-discovery.
This studio supports and guides involved students in their studies. This is not an agency, an audition resource, or a studio that coaches contemporary pop and rock styles of singing. There are other teachers and coaches who do these things.
Lessons require an investment of time and money. While studio rates are reasonable, students can expect to purchase materials such as sheet music, books, and backing tracks.
The goal is not to frighten students from working with me. The goal is to challenge students to consider how deep their interest is in establishing a solid musical foundation and learning a way of singing that has transcended generations of singers.
There is no end to the process of learning and growing as an artist. There is no "there" there. This makes sense to the student when he or she achieves a certain level of expertise. And the first lessons are not the easiest, contrary to popular thought.
We need to do what we are driven to do - whether for vocation or avocation.
There are never any promises. The work is the thing that satisfies.
Studio Policy (PDF download click here)
Patricia Shanks Voice Studio Lesson Policy and Procedures Effective 8/20/2020 REV 10/22/2020
This policy may be changed or amended at any time.
Lessons are offered ONLINE ONLY every week throughout the year. There are no lessons on major holidays. Lessons are offered during the two weeks encompassing Christmas and the New Year for those who wish to take a lesson.
All lessons are offered via Zoom online. Please see the blog entry concerning setting up online lessons at studioshanks.com. Make certain you have an updated Zoom application and a minimally operational setup prior to applying to enroll.
Application and Enrollment: A student must be approved prior to booking a lesson. Lessons booked without prior approval will be disapproved. A pre-enrollment Google form is available at studioshanks.com.
Booking Lessons: Students may book lessons one at a time, as frequently or infrequently as you wish. Preference and specific day and time openings are offered to weekly students. Students who wish to secure a day and time should book and pay in advance via the booking link at studioshanks.com.
Payment, Refunds, Make-ups: Lessons are paid as they are booked. Payment is made through the booking and payment link at studioshanks.com. If you are uncertain that you can take a lesson, do not book the time. There are no refunds. An occasional make-up may be scheduled if you cannot make it to a scheduled lesson and if you provide 48 hours’ notice. No exceptions. Make-ups are offered at the instructor’s sole discretion. You are not guaranteed a make-up lesson.
Books, Accompaniment Tracks, Materials: You are responsible for obtaining or purchasing assigned materials. The instructor may occasionally provide you with materials. Please be certain to budget $30 to $75 over a period of several weeks for materials. If the instructor does not have the sheet music for a song you select, you must provide a PDF of the music for the instructor’s use.
Withdrawals: If you wish to discontinue lessons or take a lengthy break from lessons, you are encouraged to notify the instructor so that she knows not to prepare for continued lessons. This is a courtesy to your instructor.
Instructor’s Right to Discontinue Lessons: The instructor may discontinue your lessons for any reason at any time. Some of the reasons may include noisy environment, pets or people disturbing and interfering with the lesson, inadequate video or audio that has not been corrected, lack of preparation, no materials, no practice, little student involvement, poor or combative attitude, lack of respect for instructor’s assignments or materials.
Instructor-Missed Lessons / Technology Issues: If the instructor is out or if there is a power outage the instructor will arrange a make-up within 1 week of the missed lesson. Do not book this make-up through the online booking link. If the instructor is out for extended illness/emergency, special arrangement will be made to refund fees for missed lessons.
Photo/Video/Audio Release: Taking a lesson with Patricia Shanks grants her permission to use video, stills from video, and audio of students for Studio promotion in brochures, on websites, flyers, advertisements, social media, and other promotional materials. Permission is also granted for Patricia Shanks to copyright such media in her name. Names will only be mentioned with student or parent permission (under 18).