The first and most important policy you need to remember is my policy towards my students. I take the job of being your vocal coach seriously. I care about each one of you and really enjoy watching you progress. Even after all these years of training singers I still get excited when a student improves dramatically in any area of vocal technique. I thank God for each and every one of you and have made it a priority in my life to do everything I can to be the best teacher I can be at every session.
Please avoid parking in front of any of my neighbor’s residences. You can park in front of my residence if you like, but the easiest place for parking is on Phoenix just before you get to Pegasus. There’s lots of room and it’s a breeze to turn around and head out of Coto. Please don’t park in the driveway. My wife needs to park her car in the one available spot.
You can contact me to schedule a lesson using voice mail, email or texting. If you need to cancel or reschedule a booked lesson do not rely on texting or email. Leave a voice message at 949-382-5911 if you haven’t talked with me directly. If you need to cancel or reschedule a lesson please give me a 24 hour notice.
I try to be on time for every lesson, and I’m sure you do too, but if I ever start late or if you arrive late I’ll always give you a full hour (if there’s no one after you) or make it up by giving you a longer session next time. If I accidentally double-schedule two students and have to send someone home and it was my fault, whoever goes home gets a free hour the next time.
Although voice lessons are one hour long, the file we record will usually be a littler less. The time not recorded is when I’m getting your lesson outline ready, setting your next appointment and for any questions you might have that don’t need to be recorded.
You can pay with cash, check or charge cards. Call for current rates. Payment for lessons/recording sessions can be either in advance or at the session. If I start producing music for you I keep a log of everything I do which you can see at any time. I charge for time spent working on your behalf to the nearest quarter hour and try to end sessions on a quarter, half, or full hour.
I like to reward loyalty. When you start working with me, as long as you continue, the hourly rate you pay for lessons and any work I perform on your behalf stays the same. However, if you decide to discontinue working with me for any length of time that’s fine but when you come back your lesson rate will be at whatever the current rate is for new students.
To keep from disrupting lessons, I typically don’t answer the phone when teaching. If you have anything you need to talk with me about on the day of your lesson please understand that no matter how many times you call you will not be able to reach me directly until I have a break.
After the introductory lesson, if you’re a beginning singer or a pro that wants solid core training, the first 12 hours of instruction will be vocal technique fundamentals. After you’ve completed the fundamentals series we can start working on songs and begin advanced vocal technique exercises and ear training.
There are 100 lessons lessons mapped out for you in the advanced series. We spend 10 hours on each harmonic interval (10 hours of minor thirds, 10 hours of major seconds, etc.)
Songwriting is a big part of what I do for my clients. I have scores of songs I’ve written and produced that you can choose from, but sometimes none of these will work for your sense of style. If you know exactly what you want and to get that we need to write new material, no problem. In most cases my students write the lyrics and I write and produce the music. Often the lyrics and song arrangement you write won’t be 100% complete or will need tweaking to be their best. That’s usually where we start. You bring in some lyrics for a song or a rough demo and then I’ll give you lyric and arrangement suggestions like, “We can’t repeat that word twice in the same verse….”We really need a bridge after that second chorus…” “How about switching up the melody in the chorus to this…” or “We need another verse…”
It’s rare that one person alone can come up with every lyric and melody to make a song great so most of the time the end product is a result of what we both bring to the table. The copyright process requires that you disclose who helped you write the song. If I’ve written lyrics to a song or made melody improvements that you end up using, you’ll need to include me as a songwriter when you copyright it. If the song makes money the way I usually work it is that I don’t get paid anything until you’ve been paid back 100% for whatever you paid me to help you create it.
If I produce a song for you that already has music (either karaoke tracks or one of my original tracks), you’ll need to pay for recording your lead vocal and any background harmonies. After recording all of the vocals need to be edited. Editing vocals includes comping (comping is a process that involves picking the best parts and assembling them into a compsite master containing all of the best pieces), pitch-correcting, time-aligning, removing unwanted vocal artifacts, and adjusting the volume of each phrase and word for a smooth mix. Although few artists will admit it, nearly all professionally recorded songs today have also been pitch corrected.
Time-aligning involves aligning each vocal phrase and often individual words to the drum track and each other (for harmonies) for a really tight finished mix. Most beginners need a lot of time-aligning. Unwanted vocal artifacts include P-Pops, clicks, noisy breaths, and wierd mouth noises that are picked up by my really sensitive microphones. Some singers I record like to sing at their recording sessions and have me to do all of the comping and editing after they’ve gone. We get the best results that way because singers sound better if they keep singing with no interruptions, and it’s pretty boring to sit there in the recording room while I edit, but you’re welcome to stay and watch. Others like me to edit every vocal take as soon as they’re recorded, inching through the song one line at a time. The perk for this method is that the demo I send home with you will sound nearly perfect immediately, but there will be lag times between takes when I’m editing the vocal.
If you need music recorded this can be as simple as a piano or a full mix with drums, bass, guitars, keyboards and other instruments. Clients often ask, “How long does it take to record the music and how much does it cost?” The answer is that it varies depending on the complexity of the song and how good you want it to sound. Songs can vary so much in complexity it’s not possible to give an accurate general answer on this one. Many of my clients are pursuing recording careers and want their songs to sound as good as anything that’s out there. This takes longer. Just let me know what quality you want and I’ll be happy to take your music to that level. I charge my standard hourly rate for recording, editing, and all music production. If you or someone else records a song you co-wrote with me and money is made from selling the song, you and I get paid a songwriting royalty. If the music tracks I produced for you are used by yourself or anyone else, you receive music production royalties.
The first requirement for doing a song with me is that you pick a song that you love. I’ll guide your song choice by recommending songs that are attainable and that will take your voice to the next level, but it’s important that we work on songs that you like. Our first song will usually be a song you copy to learn the stylish vocal riffs of a great singer. It can be one of your favorites by a famous artist or (recommended) one of the many original songs I have in my song library. It’s smart to do one of my original songs for four reasons:
#1 When we’re done you’ll have an original demo you can use, not just some karaoke version of someone else’s song.
#2 You’ll have a vocal guide track with the lead vocal sung perfectly to use as a learning tool.
#3 There’s usually a very accurate piano guide for the lead vocal and harmonies.
#4 There may already be a vocal worksheet written out for the song with all of the vocal tricks mapped out for you.
You can listen to a lot of songs I’ve produced my YouTube channel by clicking here. I’ll recommend songs for you that I think will be in your best interest to work on, but you’ll be making the final decision. The recording process is a great tool for learning how to sing and get fast stylistic development.
There’s a pro photo studio downstairs from the recording studio set up to take photos, headshots, or promo shots at the highest level of quality. I’ve done lots of pro shoots with cool looks that work great for promoting new artists. If you need a photo or video let me know and I’ll be happy to take care of it for you. I charge my standard hourly rate for photo shoots, sorting through takes to find the best photos, and all digital photo editing.
When you hire me to produce a music video for you, keep in mind it’s your video and you call all of the shots – literally. I may make suggestions about what clips to use, length of the video, shoot locations, dancers, etc. but at every step of the way I require your approval to proceed. I make the suggestions but you make the decisions. Most of my clients are very particular about which clips they want used, where the video is shot, video concept, lighting, etc. and that’s how it should be. It’s your video and when I’m producing it for you my goal is to deliver exactly what you want.
I want you to love the music videos I produce for you so it’s very important to me that each video is edited and shot according to your specifications. If you have a video concept or direction you’d like to go with that I may not think will work very well, I’ll advise you on what I think will be best but as long as it’s okay for me morally, we’ll do it your way. Since I’m not calling the shots for the video production, but helping you to realize your video concept, please understand that you are 100% responsible for the success of your video! I am not responsible in any way for how well a video performs or money you spend promoting a video.
Any time I spend working on your behalf during video production including advising you on the video concept, lighting and camera set up, shooting the video, uploading the video files to my computer, editing the video and redoing any part of any music video I’ve helped you create will be billed at my standard hourly rate.
If you have a scheduled lesson, you don’t have to knock or ring the doorbell. I can’t hear it from the studio with the sound-proofed door closed when I’m teaching or producing. It’s okay to come in. Open the studio door so I know you’re here and if I’m still with someone you can relax in the waiting room while I wrap things up with the client before you.
The door into the studio from the hallway is designed to be an airtight fit into the door frame and soundproof. To accomplish this, it’s a tight fit. To open the door you need to push (from the hallway) or pull (from inside the studio) against the rubber soundproofing strips into the door frame and then turn the door knob.
I don’t require my students to buy Can You Sing a HIGH C Without Straining?, but I do recommend it. Keep in mind this was the very first book in publishing history to explain how to extend the range of your voice. Singers who arm themselves with the knowledge in my book notice faster development with a better understanding of how their voice works.
It’s okay for parents and guests to use the TV in the waiting area. It’s there for your entertainment while waiting.
I recommend students under the age of 18 be accompanied by their parents. Parents can wait in the waiting area or are welcome to sit in and observe the lesson.
Try to bring a bottle of water to each session. Don’t bring soft drinks or any other liquid for you or anyone accompanying you. Water is the beverage of choice for singers. You’re welcome to bring an empty bottle and fill it up with high pH, alkalizing, ionized water from my studio.
Although voice training is where we start, my services can include audio production, video production, song selection, songwriting, experimenting with different music concepts, song arranging, video editing and anything to do with creating or maintaining your online presence (website, Facebook or YouTube channel marketing, etc.).
Trying new things and experimenting outside the box are the lifeblood of original music. I like creating only the best music for my clients – my quality bar is high. Allowing me the freedom to try lots of different options in your project is an integral part of the creative process and results in the highest level of musical accomplishment. Only the best ideas get used. Please understand that for anything I do, if it takes my time and I’m working on your behalf, it’s billable.
All though my main gig is a vocal coach, I often teach my students how to play the music I write for them on guitar or piano. I keep an accurate log of what I do and charge my standard hourly rate for any time I spend working on your behalf.