This is a great question, and you deserve to have a great answer. First, you have to find a voice teacher that can tailor their teaching to your specific needs. If you're looking for voice lessons for your young child you probably wouldn't take them to a university professor who specializes in teaching students who are much older. There are significant differences in the voice between young singers and mature voices that need to be taught appropriately. Second, scheduling that fits your needs will be vital to ensure consistent practice. If you want to pick up voice lessons as a hobby after work, you need someone who has flexible scheduling (not a large music school). Many voice teachers adhere to a strict policy, or only teach students of a certain age or ability. Do your research, because they probably specialize in one aspect of the voice because that is what they are interested in and enjoy teaching! You want your voice teacher to be the best at teaching YOU!
In my opinion, the ideal voice teacher is someone with excellent pedagogy skills who also regularly performs professionally. This way, you get the best of both worlds. They are skilled in voice techniques and current practices, yet they are also very much still in the field of practice.
Think of voice lessons like you would a haircut...go with me here, people!
You are requesting a service from a highly trained professional. The cost of the service, the time it takes, the skill level of the professional, and the operating costs all go into setting a price!
In New York City, for example, don't be surprised to pay $120 or more per hour for a voice lesson. When I studied with a teacher in the City, my lessons cost $120. This teacher is affiliated with one of the top universities in the world and regularly performs at The Metropolitan Opera. NYC voice professionals are often some of the best in the field, university professors, and skilled performers. Additionally, the operating cost of a studio and living in NYC easily adds up! In rural North Carolina, however; you could expect to pay less. There are fewer vocal professionals, and the cost of living is much less. When I studied in NC between college and graduate school, my lessons cost $65 per hour. My teacher had her doctorate in music and regularly performed internationally as an opera singer. Currently, I pay $85 to study with a wonderful pedagogue and singer at Westminster Choir College.
There are many perks of the NJ suburbs, and a lower lesson price is one of them! By being close to the City, you still have access to highly trained professionals without the jaw-dropping NYC prices.
At Finely Tuned Voice Lessons, you'll receive lessons from an instructor who sings professionally, has a Masters degree in Music, and has served as an adjunct professor at New York University. I continue to study current topics in voice and keep my skills up to date. I'm bringing a bit of NYC to the 'burbs!
My price structure for new students is as follows:
30 minutes (only for children 12 and under) - $45
45 minutes - $65
Hour lesson - $80
Please remember that taking a voice lesson is like getting your hair cut. You're paying for credentials, the service, and operating costs. Just as you would never expect to NOT pay your stylist at the conclusion of your hair appointment, all music teachers ask that you please always bring payment to your lesson. Along with your music, water bottle, pencil, recording device, etc. :) Happy singing!
Maria Palombo is a Voice Instructor and Singer living in Central NJ. She is the founder of Finely Tuned Voice Lessons, a private voice studio in Mercer County, NJ.