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How to find the right Vocal Coach or Singing Teacher for you

Pippa, your singing coach stands confidently with her arms crossed and a big smile

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Right, I’ll get stuck in because my head is buzzing about this because I don’t want you to get stung – I want to help you find that sweet, perfect match and spread your singing wings!   

If you are not sure if you are looking for a singing teacher or a vocal coach, see The Singing Hive blog – Singing Teacher or Vocal Coach?

Singing lessons for you

Here are some questions to ask yourself when you are starting out your search for your perfect singing teacher:

1. Clarify your goals

Do you like knowing all about the voice scienc-y stuff?

Are you completely new to singing looking to build a sustainable technique?

Are you a seasoned professional looking for a voice coach to tweak a couple of things here and there and send you on your way?

Do you want a singing teacher who can also play the piano so that you have the experience of live accompaniment?

Do you want to improve your sight singing?

These are some examples of questions to ask yourself to narrow down which vocal coach will be able help you best to hit those high notes. 

2. Online or in person lessons?

Some vocal coaches don’t like teaching online, others love it and only teach online.

If you’re a person who prefers being in a room with another human, then you’ve just narrowed down your options to how far you are willing to travel for lessons.  If you don’t want to travel far, Google “vocal coaches near me”, “singing lessons in Manchester/London/Birmingham” etc.

3. What genre or style?

Different styles of music require different techniques. For example, singing a classical aria with musical theatre technique would sound out of place.

There are some excellent generalist singing teachers with fantastic working knowledge of a range of singing styles but there are very few teachers who teach ALL styles. I would describe myself as a good generalist with a specialism in classical singing. So, I don’t teach extreme vocals and I would refer a jazz singer on to a specialist. 

If you are an avocational singer (not a professional) or looking for lessons for your child and you’d like to explore a range of styles or discover some new sounds, then a good generalist may just be the person for you.  If you are a professional singer, you might want to find a teacher who has specific industry experience and knowledge in your home genre.

4. Consider your time commitment 

Does your availability and commitment level match that of the singing teacher?

Some vocal coaches offer drop-ins on a book and pay-as-you-go basis, others have more of a tuition-based offer with a regular weekly commitment and regular payments over a period of time.

5. Budget considerations

Singing teachers and vocal coaches are free to set their own fees.  How much it will cost will depend on the experience, qualifications and the way the teacher works – i.e. is this a ‘pile them high, sell them cheap’ sort of place, or a more bespoke, high-touch service?

6. Teaching approach

We’re moving away from the master-apprentice teaching model of yesteryear, the ‘this is how I did it dear, and it worked for me, so you must do it like this too’ and towards a more client-led style of working.

You want a singing teacher to be asking you:

What are your goals? Can you tell me what sounds you want to make? What do you enjoy singing? How do you like to learn?

It doesn’t mean we won’t offer opinions, technical work, ideas for fixing problems or steer the learning process if we think that’s necessary, it just means that this will all be geared towards YOUR goals, wants and needs, not ours.

Client-led teachers will ask open questions and get you taking an active part in your own learning.

7. Professional qualifications and experience

It’s unusual to come across a teacher who hasn’t got some CPD under their belt. Don’t be afraid to ask because they will probably be delighted to share what they’ve done! 

Having a certificate doesn’t make for a great singing teacher or voice coach, but it does mean the teacher has invested in their work and takes it seriously. 

Be slightly wary of anyone who has learned a ‘method’ because methods tend to be a bit one-size fits all. Don’t we all know, learning is messy and one size rarely fits all.

My advice?

First – do you like the singing teacher? Do you like the way they run their studio? Do you get good vibes? Good feelings = better learning. Trust your instincts.

Second – If the teacher offers a discovery call, book one, tell the singing teacher or vocal coach what you are looking for, ask lots of questions and find out if what they offer fits with what you want.  

Remember, finding the right vocal coach or singing teacher is essential for nurturing your talent and achieving your musical aspirations. Good luck with your search!

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