April Grislason ~ Singer - Songwriter - Musician

Vocal and Guitar Lessons


This page covers the topics you will learn as a vocal student and a guitar student. Click here for more information on my teaching philosophy. Contact me at lessons@aprilgislason.com.

Vocal Lessons

The topics you will learn as a vocal student are:

  1. Position and set-up. What people hear when you open your mouth to sing depends on a few things. First of all your set-up. To produce a quality sound from your voice depends on where the placement of your tongue is in your mouth and also learning how to open up the throat, (much like when you yawn). We will work on finding your own voice and sound.
  2. Breathing and relaxation. Breathing is a natural process and works hand in hand with your support in providing the perfect environment to produce a full rich sound from your diaphragm. Learning how to relax or get into a relaxed state is not easy for everyone. It is a state of being that one must work on.
  3. Last but not least…Support. This is where it all comes from. I call it “the pit”. Without support the voice falls and all those bad habits take over, like using the chest and throat to push the voice out which then causes strain, misuse and abuse on the vocal chords. When you know how to use your support properly…then you have control of many things, like volume, dynamics, nailing your notes, breath control, etc. It basically works in that order.

For some students singing comes naturally. Versatility is important. My job with students at this level is what I call a “vocal coach”, which is to help refine what you already have going on, like awesome sound, vocal phrasing and creative ideas using your voice, a three or more octave range using your full voice and upper voice skillfully. For others we may have to start from scratch to develop the voice. This is when I am a “vocal teacher”. Wherever you are in your vocal ability there is always much to be learned. Like athletes , you must learn how to warm up and stretch the muscles. Our vocal chords must be treated with respect. Performance, learning how to project on stage, using a microphone, image, these are other areas we will cover as well.

Guitar Lessons

For guitar students there are some similarities. There is technique involved. You want to have a proper instrument to learn on. You will need a guitar that is comfortable to play, fits your body, has great action, tonation and has a warm full rich sound. If you do not have these qualities in your guitar, you could get dissillusioned quickly. We don’t want that. It is amazing how a bad experience can play out. I had a piano teacher when I was younger and he was not that interested in teaching at all. In fact, I felt like I was just taking up his time. I was not too impressed and not to interested in pursuing the piano. That is when I decided to take on guitar!

As a beginner I would advise using extra light to light strings. If you purchase or have a nylon string guitar, it can be easier on the fingers, but the neck of the guitar might be wider which could present some difficulty for beginners, like stretching your fingers more than they are use to. Email me if you need help. I have gone with students to help them find the right instrument. Don’t worry, I teach you from whatever level you are at. When I speak with you or when we get together for our first lesson I get a pretty good idea where we need to begin. You will learn chords, some picking, tempo and use of thumb as a bass while using other fingers for plucking, strumming and how to play songs that will impress your family and friends! For more advanced students, knowing your chords and moving around the neck of your guitar should be something you already familiar with. We will focus more on picking, strumming, muting of strings, more rhythmic playing and even playing some lead lines. Learning songs you love and even working on song-writing skills might be of interest to you.

Contact me for vocal and guitar lessons - lessons@aprilgislason.com.

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