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Singing Teacher or Vocal Coach? 

Pippa, singing teacher at The Singing Hive sits behind her piano smiling as she plays

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What’s the difference between a Singing Teacher and a Vocal Coach and which one am I? 

There is a difference – it’s subtle and sometimes depends on which part of the musical world you come from.  

Vocal Coach

A Vocal Coach tends to be someone who coaches singers in elements of style, performance, helping a singer learn the notes and fit them in with the accompaniment, working out cuts for a song or putting the finishing touches to a performance.

Vocal Coaches are often also conductors or Musical Directors (MDs) and they might have knowledge of the orchestral arrangement of the song you are singing, which can be helpful when you are preparing for a show.  

Many Vocal Coaches (but not all) tend to be pianists first and foremost and not necessarily singers themselves.  

Reading sheet music during a lesson from a vocal coach

Singing Teachers

They are generally singers themselves. 

Most Singing Teachers have in-depth technical knowledge of how voices function (the anatomy and physiology of the voice), can diagnose and help singers to fix specific technical problems, they have good knowledge of how to maintain vocal health and they can help you develop technique with targeted exercises. 

If working with youngsters or avocational adults, Singing Teachers have experience of exam syllabuses and may work with singers over several years, doing the steady and fun work of building voices over time.  

Which one am I? 

If I had to choose, I’d pick Singing Teacher. Why? 

I am a singer and professional musician. I have worked in the business for nearly 20 years alongside my teaching career.  

I have a thorough grounding in vocal function and vocal technique in a range of styles – Classical, Musical Theatre and Pop. If you are a jazz singer or extreme vocalist though, you’re better off with a specialist in those fields.  

My professional singing teaching training has given me the ability to quickly diagnose technical problems, offer solutions and to be able to devise targeted exercises for individual singers. 

HOWEVER there is a crossover. Just like Vocal Coaches, I work with singers on appropriate stylistic techniques for the genre they are singing in. I also love working with singers on the acting and performance side of things – because this sometimes gets better results more quickly than working on technique.  

As a trained musician, I help singers make sure they are singing what’s on the page accurately, IF that’s appropriate for the style – and I help work out sensible cuts and navigate the sheet music.  

I play the piano and help singers get to know the live accompaniment, which is especially important if you have a performance or exam coming up.  

My advice? 

When you’re choosing who you want to work with on your voice, make sure to ask questions about the skill set of the person you’re thinking of working with. Voice lessons are an investment and potentially transformational, so ask yourself: 

What do I want to achieve and who matches my requirements best?  

If you want to know how The Singing Hive can meet your needs, book a Wannabee discovery call right now and let’s have a chat!

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