Lessons

Lessons

The fact that you are viewing this page means that you have made the first step in inquiring about singing lessons. Most prospective students I speak to on the phone are very nervous about starting lessons however find the courage to make the initial call, which I applaud.

 

I have been working professionally as a singer in the music industry since 1983. I am currently performing between three to five times a week. Please read the letters of endorsement from private voice students at the bottom of this page. Please go to the Bio page for additional information about my performance experience.

I periodically hold workshops in addition to scheduled lessons to provide further experience and knowledge for my students.

I teach beginners through to advanced, and want to make it clear that I do not audition students for lessons nor do I expect any initial level of vocal achievement. All I think is necessary is a willingness to sing. You may never want to perform in public, but are having lessons for personal enjoyment or to build confidence, or you may be currently working in the industry but need some additional pointers, both reasons are genuine and both students would receive equal tuition.

Singing is enjoyable & I think lessons should be too. Professionalism & quality of learning does not have to be compromised because of the fun & enjoyment factor. As a teacher I strive to be both positive and encouraging and offer support to all of my students. I could not teach any other way as this reflects my philosophies towards music, teaching and life in general.

I have decided to structure this page as “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQ’s) which hopefully will address any questions you may have. Please feel free to contact me for additional information.

FAQ’s:

Where are you located?

I teach from my purpose built home studio in Pasadena, Adelaide South Australia. The studio is sound proof with a waiting room and bathroom facilities. Students may arrive early for lessons or stay later (if being collected by an adult or if convenient for work reasons to arrive earlier or stay later).

 

How much do you charge, when do I pay and how long are the lessons?

I charge $45 per half hour (this includes gst). I do not charge a deposit. 

I accept cash, Paypal, cheques, EFT, and credit cards (card payments incur a $0.50 cent surcharge.).

I have a mixture of students who pay per week or per term (or half term). I really don’t mind which method or frequency you prefer, as I understand everyone budgets differently according to their own pay schedule.

An invoice is issued after each lesson (if payment has not been made on the day) and a receipt is emailed upon payment.

I run the lessons in line with the school terms giving us four terms per year. School terms are usually ten weeks in duration with a two week break (with the exception of the six week Christmas holiday break).

Please see the information below to view the school terms.

 2017Term 1 30 Jan – 13 AprTerm 2     1 May – 7 JulTerm 3      24 Jul – 29 SepTerm 4   16 Oct – 15 Dec

 

What happens if I miss a lesson?

I require 24 hours notice for a missed lesson or it will be charged. This allows me to reschedule. I will then try to arrange a makeup lesson for you. If lessons are consistently missed (other than due to illness), then I think I need to review your commitment. As I have a waiting list and this is my profession it would be unfair to continually cancel & expect to keep your lesson time.

What should I bring to a lesson?

You will be given a CD of scales and a folder of information about your voice and how to care for it. You’re welcome and encouraged to bring a thumb drive to save CD’s and to also make it easier to transfer back to your PC. You may wish to record your lesson a thumb drive or smart phone etc. It’s also a good idea to have your own singing folder for your sheet music, lyrics & other relevant handouts to be kept in. Please bring along CD’s, Ipads or Ipods etc with your favourite songs. I can also transfer songs and data onto your electronic devices. I also use Spotify, Youtube, Apple Music or my own private music collection to source songs during the lessons if you don’t have a copy.

What ages do you teach?

I have taught students ranging from eight years to retirement age and beyond. Generally I would say ten is a good starting age as concentration seems to be stronger, but it does depend on the individual.

Can I watch my friend’s / child’s / partner’s lesson?

It’s really up to the individual student and how they feel about it. Singing in front of others in the initial stages of learning may be intimidating & distracting & therefore impede learning. The training facility has a waiting area if required.

What style do you teach?

I teach the styles which I perform, being contemporary (basically songs you may hear on commercial radio) and Jazz. I also have a love of country music and music theatre. The basic singing techniques are the same regardless of musical genre. I will encourage you to bring along CD’s of songs that you like or suggest songs that are appealing. I can apply technique to any song. I may suggest certain songs that I feel may benefit you vocally or demonstrate a certain technique which we have been working on. I believe that it is important for you be happy with the choice of song that you are singing.

But I can’t sing that well & you’re going to run when you hear my voice! Should I still have lessons?

Definitely, it’s all about learning and having fun while you’re doing it. I love teaching beginners. They have no pre-conceived ideas about the voice and are open to learning new techniques. Everyone has to start somewhere. You are a vocal instrument, which is no different to someone starting piano lessons, both require instruction on how to play their instrument. In some ways singing can make you feel more vulnerable, you are opening up a part which is uniquely you.

Do I have to read music?

No, not to have lessons. Reading music is a great skill to have as it helps you to be a well rounded musician. It all depends on what you are wanting from your lessons. I can teach music reading & theory if desired.

How often will I have to practice?

How quickly do you want to progress? I live in the real world and know that it can often be tough to practice as often as you like. I do not chastise students for not practicing as it’s ultimately your responsibility. In the case of a child/teenager, I think the parent has a right to know if their child is not committed. Having said this, I am yet to encounter a student I have had to address this problem with. In the initial stages  say about 15 mins practice daily will benefit more than cramming practice into a couple of hours at the end of the week. Consider yourself a vocal athlete. You are training your muscles to perform new tasks, this can result in fatigue. Never practice until it hurts, pain does not equal gain.

What can I expect to learn in lessons?

You will learn the principles of:

  • Voice maintenance & health and the basic physiology of the vocal mechanism
  • Breathing
  • Support & voice projection by employing the relevant muscles
  • Resonance, placement and how this relates to vocal colour.
  • Registers and how to achieve a blended mix throughout your range
  • Tongue position
  • Articulation, vowels and how to equalise. Diphthongs (no you don’t wear these on your feet)
  • Focusing the vocal folds and the three different vocal onsets. False fold constriction & retraction.
  • Soft palate control
  • Vibrato
  • Basic musicianship. How to sing set scales, intervals and triads, count bars in a song, and clap a rhythm.
  • Musical & vocal terms. e.g. tag, coda, bridge, timbre, appoggio, glissando, a cappella, colla voce etc.
  • Improvisation
  • Harmony
  • General stagecraft and performance skills. (over the years I have picked up a few do’s and don’ts)
  • Microphone technique. How to choose a microphone or other relevant audio equipment.
  • Audio production (if desired by the student. I own and operate my own PA Systems and use one for lessons)
  • General advice on how to get gigs, write your own contracts, record your own songs etc.

Students are as individual as their voice. What you want to achieve from lessons may differ from the next student. You may not want to know all the music industry information for example, or how to write your own contracts. Everyone ,however, will be taught the principles of singing.

What additional benefits will I receive by being a student of Kat’s?

  • I am always updating my knowledge by attending local & interstate Voice Symposiums & Workshops.
  • In 2013 I attended the prestigious International  Conference of Voice Teachers in Brisbane. This conference was attended by 600 delegates from around the world. The conference is held every four years and was the first time in the Southern Hemisphere. The latest technology and information was presented at the conference by leaders in every profession from vocal teachers, ear nose throat specialists, speech therapists, scientists and performance experts across all genres.
  • I arrange two performance gigs a year in a local hotel where students are encouraged to “roadtest” their technique by performing a song of their choice. It’s a great fun day and also acts as a vehicle to meet other students. The student gig isn’t compulsory, but I find once a student has performed at one, they can’t wait for the next. Even if you choose not to perform, you’re welcome to attend to be part of the fun.
  • I have attended a 3 day Voice Symposium held at the Stamford Grand Glenelg & the Jo Estill Compulsory Figures for Voice Levels 1 & 2 held at the ABC-Adelaide (overseen by Jo Estill herself).
  • I advise students of visiting Voice Lecturers or relevant Workshops.
  • With over 30 years performance experience I have gained a broad knowledge of the music industry.
  • I currently perform three to five times a week and as this is how I  make my living I realise the importance of looking after your voice.
  • In the past I have taken students into the recording studio to record a CD single of their choice.
  • I am always looking at ways to expose interested students to the music industry.
  • I have invited students to perform songs at my gigs, giving them “live” experience.
  • I have many industry contacts & often have bands ring asking me to recommend students for auditions.
  • I try to challenge students and make it fun by holding competitions. In 2014 Australian Audio and Lighting Technology sponsored a competiton to see which student could hold a note the longest. The winner received an Audix microphone and runner up a microphone stand. This competiton saw all students improve their breathing!

Are you taking any new students now?

Yes.  

If you would like to become a student, please contact me.

Mobile: 0417 853558 or Email: info@actionvoice.com.au

I tend to have a few day spots free, but evening is generally booked out.

I also have a waiting list for those wanting a particular time that may not be available.  I text message all students on the waiting list when current students are sick or away for various reasons as to allow fill in lessons and as a way of you to “get the ball rolling” with me.

I look forward to hearing from you! Cheers Kat 

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

LETTERS OF ENDORSEMENT

 

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

 

I commenced voice tuition with Katrina in October 2010

I had no idea how this could and would change my life

I never felt special, worthy of any consideration and was for all intents and purposes invisible

Katrina saw something else

 

She works from a paradigm that all people can sing and each one of her students is precious

Her open friendliness and non judgemental attitude were  uncomfortable at first ; it is so rare to find a person like this

We connected and I realised that Katrina genuinely cares for her students; teaching was a calling not a job to her

Katrina told me I was a good singer and very ‘quirky”

I thought she was just being nice until I sang at one of her student concerts and received a remarkable response

As my confidence grew, I went for higher challenges auditioning for Australia’s Got Talent and received incredible support and guidance

I am not the easiest person to teach but her patience and gentleness steered me correctly

I also noted that Katrina was as excited as I was with my success,  she is just that open in spirit and heart to others

The Executive producers commented on my singing voice and I may get on the show,  we are awaiting final approval

All this I owe to Katrina

I’m 50 years old this year, my point being that Katrina teaches all demographics and all chapters of life with the same humanity, humility and love

Till last year I was walking in the dark and though surrounded by people felt very alone

I see now, my voice connects me to others

Singing provided me with a means of catharsis and emotional release

I owe this all to Katrina Caton

She is not only my singing mentor but has become part of my extended family

I have no hesitation recommending her to all who seek help in finding their voice

yours sincerely

Darren Jones

(Darren has successfully auditioned for “Australia’s Got Talent” and will commence filming In Perth February 2012)

 

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

It was Valentines night of the 14th of February 2009, my husband and I went for a meal at Hallett Cove Tavern, where katrina was doing a gig there that particular evening.

In one of her breaks, I got chatting to her, and said that I used to do a bit of singing in the UK, with this, she invited me to get up and perform “a number” and as such, Katrina accompanied me on acoustic guitar, and I performed a not too good rendition of “Crazy-by Patsy Cline”.

I decided then and there that I wanted this talented lady to provide me with the right tools to improve my voice, and I commenced my first lesson on Monday 16th of March 2009, and have continued ever since.

In the early days, I used to feel silly and awkward having to do some of the vocal technique exercises, plus my confidence was a lot to be desired, however, Katrina has a way of making one feel very comfortable, and over the months my confidence has grown.

I consider Katrina to be a fabulous teacher, in that she possesses skills that bring the best out of her students. Katrina is supportive in every way, a true professional who is extremely warm and kind. Thank you katrina, it is a pleasure knowing you and being taught by you.

With kindest regards,

Heather Hume-Tomlinson

30th October 2011

(during 2011, Heather successfully auditioned to study music full-time, majoring in voice. Katrina accompanied her on guitar for her audition

 

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

I started singing as a young child as I learnt to play guitar.  After learning to sing with Katrina I have developed my skills as a performer and am now rocking my own gigs!

Lucas Day

November 2011

(Lucas currently performs regularly around Adelaide in hotels such as the Morphett Arms, Belguim Beer Cafe, The Archer and The Ramsgate Hotel)

 

TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

Although it may sound corny, I started singing lessons with Action Voice (Katrina Caton) to find and remind myself what I love doing.

Luckily I picked the right person/company to email because since my first lesson I have not looked back during the last three years.  Kat, from Action Voice has been utterly patient, understanding and encouraging whilst fostering my voice.  Through my journey I have gradually learnt more and more but most of all I find myself coming back each week bacause I have a friend who not only believes in me but also helps me believe in myself and my voice.

As you can tell by now, I speak very highly of Action Voice but seriously, if you want to learn to sing, Action Voice is THE right choice.  It works for me.

Gus.

November 2011