Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
Music Lesson Information
Can anybody learn to sing?
The answer is yes! If you have vocal cords and can create a sound then you can learn to improve your singing voice. Usually when people say they can't sing it's most likely they don't understand how to use their voice. The voice is an instrument - you wouldn't expect to go to a piano lesson, having never played it before, and expect to play like Mozart by the end of your first lesson. You just need to learn the skills to use and play your instrument. All you may need is some courage to book your first lesson so we can identify any vocal challenges you may be experiencing and work through them together using specific and focussed exercises!
Do you teach any specific vocal methods?
I don't subscribe to one particular method of vocal coaching. My method is the result of my experiences as a singing student, performer, vocalist and musician, all of which make me the performer and teacher I am today. I have studied singing with many vocal teachers myself (I still do) and I have an honours degree in Popular Music Performance (specialising in singing). Over the last 10 years of teaching I have developed my own approach on how to connect with students as individuals and all my lessons are customised to the way in which a student will learn best. Everyone and every voice is different making it important to think outside of the box and be open to exploring what is best for your voice and your path towards being a confident and competent singer.
I don't have much confidence, can you help me?
Definitely! It is so important for your lessons with me to be a 'safe place' to explore your voice. There is never any pressure, just a friendly, encouraging approach to help you find your singing voice. If you would like to read about other people's experiences please go to my Testimonial page.
I have never had a music lesson before, do I need any singing/piano/music experience?
No, absolute beginners are welcome and all levels of ability are catered for.
Do I need to prepare anything for my first lesson?
No. However, if you can think about any songs you would like to learn throughout the course of your lessons, that is always really useful. Everyone is inspired and motivated by different genres of music and styles of singing so it is important we focus on the songs and artists you love the most - it can be anything!
Can I choose the songs that I want to learn?
Absolutely! Music is so diverse - not everyone will have the same taste in music so it is vital you choose the songs you would love to sing. This will also encourage you to feel inspired and motivated during (and between) your lessons.
How will we work through songs in the lesson?
You are welcome to sing along with the original track, use a karaoke backing track or I can accompany you on the keyboard. I can listen to most songs for the first time and play them in real-time which means we can also be highly flexible during your lessons; I can easily change the key of a song to better suit your voice, develop exercises around more difficult sections of the song and arrange them so they can become 'your version' rather than following in the exact footsteps of the original artist.
How do I book a lesson?
Please get in touch via my Contact page.
Do you do joint lessons?
Yes, please contact me directly with your requirements and I will check my availability.
What ages do you teach?
I teach singing to students from 8 years old and upwards. I am happy to take piano students from an earlier age, please contact me for more details.
Do you teach grades?
Yes, I have experience working with the Rockschool syllabus. Grades are not mandatory and can be taught upon request. Please click the following links to better understand Rockschool Vocal Exams, Rockschool Piano & Keyboard Exams and ABRSM Music Theory Exams.
Do I need experience reading music?
No, reading music is not essential when learning to sing. It is a great skill and if you would like to learn how to read music I can help you to achieve this goal. It is also not expected if you would like to learn to play the keyboard, we can learn to develop this skill during the lessons.
What do I need to bring to a lesson?
All you need to bring is yourself!
Can I buy lessons as a gift?
Yes, I can provide bespoke printable vouchers (subject to availability). Once you have contacted me to discuss availability, and decided to go ahead and make a payment, I will send you my bank details and email you a gift voucher in PDF format as soon as payment has been received. The gift voucher will be valid for 3 months. Please be aware that I will require at least 24 hours notice in the event of a cancellation once a lesson day/time has been arranged otherwise the full lesson fee will be retained. Advanced payments for gift vouchers are non-refundable.
Please contact me before Friday 6th December for any gift vouchers required for Christmas 2019.
How often should I have lessons?
I offer weekly, bi-weekly and monthly sessions - it is completely up to you and if you would prefer to have ad-hoc lessons as and when you require them then this is not a problem. If you would like more frequent lessons this can also be catered for.
How many lessons will it take for me to learn to sing?
How long is a piece of string? I really am unable to answer that questions before we meet. It depends on your aspirations, natural ability and how often you are able to practice between lessons.
What if I am unable to practice between lessons?
Please don't worry. For many people the lesson is the opportunity to practice and spend time singing and playing music. The more practice you are able to do between lessons then the faster your progress will be, however, there is never any pressure. Music should be enjoyed first and foremost!
Where do you teach?
I teach from my home in Newport Pagnell. More information can be found on my Contact page.
Please note: I have a cat called Eric and a young Labrador called Bonnie - please do be mindful if you have any allergies!
When do you teach?
I teach Mondays - Fridays from 10:00am to 9:30pm. I am unable to offer weekend lessons as this is usually when I am gigging with my band The Hallows.
Do you teach during the school holidays?
Yes. As many of my students are adults I do not adhere to the school term dates. Please don't assume I will not be teaching and make sure you cancel any regular lesson bookings if you are away during the school holidays.
Where can I park?
Parking on my road can be a little tricky in the evening although it is possible (I live on a narrow Victorian street). However, there is a free car park on Station Road which is only a short walk from my house.
What if I am early for my lesson?
Please be mindful that I regularly teach lessons back-to-back. If you could arrive on time, so as not to interrupt another student's lesson by arriving early, it would be greatly appreciated.
Payment Information & Terms and Conditions
How much do you charge?
30 Minutes - £21
60 Minutes - £35
(Prices based on individual lessons)
Any advance payments made for lessons (including gift vouchers) are strictly non refundable.
How do I pay?
I have an iZettle card reader which welcomes these payment methods...
If possible, cash would be preferred as payment for your deposit.
What is your cancellation policy?
Students must give a minimum of 24 hours' notice when cancelling a lesson (regardless of reason). Please see the 'Deposit Disclaimer' below for more details. Additionally, if a student forgets a scheduled lesson the same protocol will be followed. When cancelling a lesson please ensure you have confirmation from Sarah that your message (text, email, voicemail etc) has been received. Responsibility lies with the student.
Deposit Scheme Disclaimer:
I run a deposit scheme for all my students. If after your first lesson you decide you would like to continue with lessons, I ask for a deposit which is the rate of your lesson whether it is 30 minutes (£21 deposit) or 1 hour (£35 deposit). The deposit should be paid in the first lesson if you wish to organise a second lesson.
All I ask is strictly* 24hours notice (industry standard) if you need to cancel a lesson. If 24hrs notice is not given, I retain the deposit as payment for the missed lesson - you will also be required to bring a replacement deposit with you to the next scheduled lesson. Otherwise the deposit will remain in place. If you decide to discontinue with singing lessons your deposit must be collected within three months or it will be forfeited. This also applies if no contact has been made by the student 3 months after the last lesson. A receipt will be given for your deposit.
*strictly means if your lesson is at 4pm and you cancel at 16:00 or earlier the day before then your deposit will not be retained. If you cancel at 16:01 or later the day before then your deposit will be retained. This is non-negotiable. If you give a deposit you are consenting to these Terms and Conditions.