ABOUT SINGING LESSONS WITH SHELLY
My focus is mainly on having fun. Singing lessons aren’t meant to be scary.
My music studio in Lennox Head is a cosy, light filled bubble of instruments and comfy seats. I hope you feel inspired, energised and comfortable. Your lessons will be in a safe environment where you can feel utterly free and capable to experiment and learn about your voice and your sounds.
Lessons are tailored to you personally, and we will move at your speed. The only critic in the room will be you, and I’ll be working my absolute hardest to help you be nice to yourself as you learn.
My approach to singing lessons…
To share. To create. To laugh and to have fun. To not stress. To challenge and inspire. Nothing should hurt. Emotionally or physically.
I promise to be honest with you, and to tread gently with you, as this sound of your voice, that you allow to share with me, is personal and is to be treated with respect, joy and love. I don’t want to get all Byron Bay-hippie on you, but I have been teaching and singing long enough to know that it can be really very scary, really very tremendous, and really very rewarding and fulfilling. I hope I can lead you into the maze, offer you some ways to navigate it, and I’m pretty sure you’ll amaze both of us.
I believe there is room enough in this grand old world for each of us to express ourselves and stand tall by that. And if you choose to do that by writing or singing a song, as I do, then I’d love to help you…. because I think I can.
Whats Gunna Happen?!
Lessons are one hour long. A general format (though nothing is set in stone):
5/10 minutes – Vocal warmups
15/20 minutes – Voice Technique (Exploring sound, tone, colour, breath, support etc) by utilising Music Theory (Scales, chords, rhythms, dynamic etc)
20/25 minutes – Singing a song The Student holds a passion for. I can teach voice. It’s harder to teach passion. Applying vocal technique to the song to manipulate and explore.
5/10 minutes – Considering the songs meanings and letting that dictate the vocal technique. No point doing fancy vocal stuff if it doesnt apply to what the heck you’re singing about.
5/10 minutes – Recap/Record/Last time through make it fun/Dance moves/Practise the hard bit a few more times/Plan our next lesson’s song/Take over the world.
TWIG BIRD PRODUCTIONS is the combined forces of Shelly and Dan Brown together to help you in any way we can, creatively and musically. We have nurtured, encouraged and supported many music students through the processes of singing lessons, recording sessions, creating film clips, recording backing tracks for exams and auditions. Students have come for lessons over their holidays to Byron Bay. Visitors from Sweden, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Townsville, Sydney and Melbourne have come along, studied singing and music theory, taken piano lessons, composed original songs, written song lyrics, improvised, recorded and flourished right before our eyes.
I do not claim to know all there is to know about singing, vocal techniques, theory, performance and music! No! Does anyone? Really? pfff. But I love learning and I love teaching.
My Vocal Experience
- Taking contemporary and (a few) classical singing lessons since the age of 14 years old till 23 years, with several different vocal teachers,
- Teaching all ages of vocal students since 1999,
- Gaining my Certificate in Music at the Northern Rivers Conservatorium in Lismore (1998),
- Completed a Bachelor of Contemporary Music with Honours (Southern Cross University, NSW, 2003),
- Growing up in the Northern Rivers with constant and joyful encouragement to preform at local jam nights (Byron Bay, Lennox Head, Lismore, Eltham, Ballina, Alstonville, Bangalow, Mullumbimby, Brunswick Heads and Billinudgel),
- A committed participant in African dance and drum classes,
- Participating in World Music choirs, Gospel choirs and Community choirs,
- Learning (or constantly trying to learn…) Spanish,
- Learning about and researching speech and vocal therapy,
- Taking sporadic half yearly courses on: drums, bass, guitar, flute. Whilst quietly trying my own ideas on banjo, ukulele, piano, baritone ukulele and electric guitar.
I’ve performed in large funk bands (6 to 21 piece bands), small pop bands, duo’s, trios, quartets and as a solo artist. I have studied jazz since before I thought I could ever understand it. All of which has brought me to where I am today. And through these processes I have learnt that I love to share all of this amazing language that is Music. I love to be part of the inspiration process – your inspiration and mine. I love singing and I love seeing a student and friend progress, develop and succeed.
Finding the Singing Teacher that’s right for you…
I highly recommend shopping around and finding the right singing teacher for you. I’ll tell you now, singing teachers are a truly unique bunch of nut-cases. But, like many things in life, you’ve gotta find the person that clicks with you.
That encourages and/or pushes and/or challenges and/or safeguards and/or nurtures and/or … you get the idea… If you’re with a teacher that makes you feel crap, GET OUT! You’re the Boss! A lot of my job sometimes is un-doing the sad stories from past singing scars. Don’t be that guy! I really find the need to have fresh exercises, to stay inspired, to feed my inner artist on the holidays, to stay keen as a bean. But if you don’t click with me, I can give you an excellent list of people who might be great.
I’m not great at musical songs, not terrible – but not great, I’m not amazing at super fast r’n’b melismas – keen and working on it, but not a pro. I know where my weaknesses lie, and I know my strengths, and Im honest about it.
Honesty is key. A lying singing teacher isn’t helping you, they’re just baby sitting. And that’s a high rate for a baby-sitter, so, no, get a teacher that can teach you what you want and need.
One Hour Lessons are $80.
I appreciate payment at time of lessons in Cash or via Direct Debit. Thank you.
Brainstorm for your lesson focus: Songwriting, improvisation, music theory, repertoire, tone colour, performance skills, basic guitar skills.
The Waiting List
I currently teach a regular (weekly or fortnightly) schedule of students on Monday’s, Tuesday’s and Friday’s (daytimes), and I save Thursday Evenings for irregular Zoom Lessons from around the globe (Yay for Podcast fans!!! Love it!!!)
**I have a little waiting list for regular class times please email me to jump on my waiting list.
****If you’re interested to jump into an irregular spot on a Thursday let me know!
Where are you?
I teach lessons in the sleepy coastal hamlet of Lennox Head, which is near Byron Bay (Australia’s most Easterly point), in The Far North Coast of New South Wales, in Australia.
Or via the internet.
How much are lessons?
One Hour Lessons are $80 per hour.
I teach one hour lessons, as a single study class – that is, one person at a time, weekly or fortnightly. However, this, as are all things, is flexible.
I have taught siblings, couples, parent & child, a gaggle of giggly ladies, and I annually lead a group course at Summersong Music Camp; as well as group workshops, such at The Happ & Songwriting on Magnetic Island.
What age do you teach?
I teach students from the approximate age of thirteen and above.
I highly recommend children below this age to take group music classes, learn the piano (or any instrument!) or even get into drama classes. I prefer to focus on singing technique and the maturity of the child will be what determines if lessons with me will be appropriate. But, please contact me for a chat as it really does usually depends on the child. There is no maximum age limit. Don’t think you’re too old to learn a new trick 😉
What if I don't think I can sing at all?
Yes – you can be a complete beginner!
No – I bet you aren’t tone deaf. The students that begin lessons saying they think they have no vocal talent, can’t sing in tune and will have no hope, usually learn, improve and surprise themselves the most. All you need is to have the passion. If you want to sing, we can work on it together, and I bet you can!
What sort of singing do you teach?
I teach contemporary vocal lessons, focusing on contemporary vocal techniques and music theory. You are welcome to study AMEB Contemporary Music Exams with me and then partake in your AMEB exams at our local school, I will be more than happy to facilitate that process with you.
My particular music genre passions lie with folk, funk, soul, R’n’B, jazz, rock, pop, blues.
How much commitment do I need to bring to the table?
Lessons with me have no time commitment to scheduling, weeks, terms or “contract”. I request that you pay as you have your lesson (cash or direct deposit is preferred), and come as often as you desire and require. This means there is no up front bill, no bills for me to chase, and no being sorry that you had a flu one week, couldn’t make it, and now we spend the rest of term trying to do make-up lessons. Nu uh. I don’t want you to feel bad about having not practised enough this week, or not finding the time to focus how you wanted. I want you to come when you’re ready to recap and move forward, better understand a technique, learn a new song, ask a question or take a new step in a new direction.
This being said, you are welcome to book in to regular lessons if our timetables allow, or when you want a lesson, call, text or email to book in.
As for your personal commitment as a student, learning a new craft; I really and sincerely hope you take our one hour lessons as an example of how to go home to practise and study. My lessons are usually half and half: Warm ups, scales, exercises and techniques; and then working on a song, applying techniques, considering the lyrics and improving the tricky sections. I would politely expect that you take this as an example for your regular personal practise through out the time between when next we meet.
Twenty-four hours notice, or more, that you will be absent – is greatly appreciated.
When you can’t make it to a scheduled lesson time just call, text or email me. Or all three, Ha!
My time is valuable. The time allotted for your lesson I commit 100% to you. If you cannot attend your appointment, please give at least 24 hours notice, or the full fee is appreciated.
I send a Lesson Reminder Text the evening before your lesson as I prepare for your lesson the day before.
Prior to HSC Age:
I focus on helping to build a strong sense of identity and self courage. This can be a tumultuous time for self body image, school bullies, finding your passion, navigating and fitting in other after school commitments, and believing in yourself.
I try to make the lesson exercises and songs be based closely on the young students tastes – if they choose the songs, they’re more likely to want to practise. So we will create vocal exercises together based on songs they already love to practice specifics over (intervals, rhythms, breathing, support, tone colour etc).
I encourage and help to write and understand song informative and clear chord charts, lyric sheets, and understanding the music theory within the songs. Whilst I am not a guitar or piano teacher, I am happy to teach the basics, and make it fun as heck.
I explore ways of learning, as everyone learns differently. Such as to apply it to other subjects as a metaphor for learning, and as a mnemonic for singing. For example, singing the times tables- maths + music; or acting out the words while singing- drama + music; utilising art, science, sports, or a good book. Or ways to notate the information, or record the whole class or just the exercises for weekly practise.
HSC Aged Students:
Oh, it’s the big time! I focus on encouraging the student to be decisive, and therefore prepared. And then I find all the ways I can to keep the student inspired and on track as all the other subjects close in on their time and energy. Choosing your performance songs around Easter is all good and well-prepared, but I’ve seen too many students change songs the week or day before their exam because they’re so bored of it by then! Oh no!
So, we focus on improvising, creating original arrangements, making it appropriately challenging but not scary, finding performance opportunities so that the HSC is just another gig you totally rock. As well as performance and introduction skills, microphone and gear technique, band ettiequte and professionalism.
We discuss finding out what the HSC markers want to see, and what would get you a good mark- BUT ALSO – what is important to you and how YOU value a good performance.
Here’s a little quiz to get you thinking about the soundtrack of your life, and what you might like to sing with me, or how I can help you write a song, achieve a performance or recording, or whatever it is that brought you to read these words. xx
Write 3 bands you like to listen to.
Write 3 singers you love to sing along with.
Write 3 Australian musical artists you admire.
Write three songs from your childhood.
Write three songs that get stuck in your head.
Write 3 songs from soundtracks you adore.
Write three songs that put you in a good mood.
Write 3 songs you’ve thought – “thats exactly how I feel”, at one point or another.
Write 3 songs from the last ten years that you like.
Write 3 songs or bands your parents played when you were a kid/young adult.
Write three songs from the decade you were born.
Write 3 advertisement jingles you know.
Write 3 lullabies or nursery rhymes.
You see where I’m going with this? I want you to think about all the music that made you you, and then I want you to sing it and let that feeling fill your heart with joy.
This is my podcast:
Singing Lessons for No One
I created this podcast to show you what a singing lesson with me is like… or what a singing lesson for You is like. But it’s become so much more. I’m up to 20,000 listens around the world. I am honestly speechless at the emails and thanks from listeners around the world who are loving my vocal exercises. Thanks so much for listening xx
Some of my amazing students xx