Dear Dylan

My musical husband tells me there's a difference between singing in a choir, or round the house, or in church, whatever, and seriously singing solo.

A soloist, no matter what kind of music he or she is singing, can put a great strain on their voice if they are not trained properly.

(One of my husband's patients is a singing teacher whose main pupils are rock singers. She teaches opera singers, too. She and Mat often talk about music and singing. Hmmm.)

Learning to sing properly needs to be done when the voice matures. This can vary a lot between people. Some people are ready when they're 13 and some need to wait until they're 23.

If you want good advice on this then go to a good singing teacher and ask.

This is very important if you want to be a pop star--because they often sing in a way that does damage to their voices. If they don't get help then only the people with the toughest tonsils (like John Farnham) can survive without lessons.

Even then, some singers need surgery if they have abused their voice boxes too much.

So learn to sing properly when the teacher thinks it is time.

In the meanwhile, learn to play lots of musical instruments so that you are more likely to get into a band. One day you might graduate to being a lead singer.

And don't forget to buy the most expensive ear protectors you can. You want to be famous at forty and still be able to hear--as well as sing.

Yours sincerely 

Virginia R. Claire

read the question in the original letter