Story by Beatrice Berger
The music industry found me. I’ve been singing professionally for almost 30 years and teaching for 25. Since I was eight years old I was singing publicly, was on my first recording by age 10 and teaching at 18. While I made a bit of money then, I didn’t start really singing professionally full-time until I finished my degree in vocal performance. But since then I’ve performed in musical halls and churches from Munich to Barcelona.
At first, I focused solely on being a good singer. Teaching was always a passion, but my professional engagements hindered my ability to build a huge studio. I often gave one-time workshops, master classes and had a few students wherever I was living at the time.
Transition from Performer to Teacher
Finally, after my second child was born 13 years ago, I decided to settle down, travel less and teach more. I opened a private studio in Germany and was hired by the city’s musical school. Within five years I had over 40 weekly students and was the head coordinator of the school.
My upbringing helped prepare me for this kind of work. My mother always sang to us and as soon as she realized I had musical talents she would sing with me all the time. I also had 13 siblings – one of whom was disabled – so I had many teaching opportunities from an early age.
In college, while visiting my family during summer break, I often gathered my siblings into our living room or bathroom (great acoustics!) where I would lead them through vocal drills and teach them fun songs we could all sing together. Music had a tremendous impact on my family.
I love people and I love music. I want everyone to realize it’s impact. And anyone can learn to sing.
After winning my first competition, an agent approached me and asked if I would consider doing a crossover of classical singing mixed with rock. I wasn’t familiar with the style but I figured, well, why not? But before I tried teaching more modern styles, I had to know how to do it myself. Learning by doing has become my philosophy, which comes in handy since the market for opera is much smaller than musical theater, jazz or R&B.
Today I have a vast music collection and constantly buy current sheet music to be up-to-date with clients needs. I try to be open minded and interested in whatever music is currently popular. I’m not afraid to figure things out, whether it’s style, technique or people.
Vocal Techniques for Beginners and Pros
There is so much more to becoming a great singer than having a “good voice”. Teachers need to understand human psychology as well as understanding vocal techniques. The successes in my life and career have helped me master the two.
I use a combination of the Alexander Technique, visualization and meditation during my voice lessons to create a relaxed and fun environment for all my singers. This helps them be at ease performing or competing. I also make audio and video recordings so my singers can hear their voices as if they were the listener.
I’m blessed to have helped students find their voice, sing in tune after they were told that they were a lost cause, worked with young people until they were ready to sing professionally or study music and, of course, coached professionals (but working with beginners is just as exciting as a working with professionals!).
Growing a Vocal Training Business
Students usually find me through referrals. They ask other singers or hear some of my students, attend my labs and approach me afterwards.
In Germany it was easy to land new students. I even had a waiting list and still teach some via Skype. However, I moved to Salt Lake City in February, which brought new challenges to my business. Thanks to Thumbtack, I overcame them easily and even though I was in a brand new country, I had a head start – within two weeks I already had three students sign a yearly contract.
If you’re just getting started on Thumbtack, make sure you have good reviews. Link your profile to Facebook, LinkedIn and your own website to provide prospective clients with more information on what you do. You can even offer special deals like a free first lesson or two-for-one classes.
I love having my own business and the flexibility to work on my own singing career as well as having time for my family. Many of my students call me their “vocal mom.” Just like my mom had loved each of her 14 children, I easily connect to students because I open my heart for each and every one of them.
Beatrice Berger offer voice lessons in Salt Lake City, Utah. She’s been hired nine times on Thumbtack and has four 5-star reviews. You can find her online at Berger-Productions and Bee Vocals (coming soon).