Whether one’s goal is to try for next year’s The Voice or to audition for the local church choir. No amateur singer can make it without proper training.
Every aspiring singer needs to receive professional vocal coaching. It goes without saying that behind virtually every great pop, jazz or operatic performer there is a great singing teacher. True, there are some exceptionally gifted people whose voice and especially breathing were naturally adapted to singing and who were able to learn just by copying singing greats of the past. But even multi-Grammy awarded artists turned to professional singing teachers for help and advice at some stage.
When a beginner only starts out, it may seem that finding a good singing teacher is difficult. In fact, quite a few people are claiming to be vocal coaches in every town or community. But choosing a good one is what’s important. A lousy singing teacher is much worse than none at all. If he or she doesn’t quite understand the complicated technicalities behind students’ sounds (different ones in each case). He or she may ruin a student’s voice for good, or at least discourage the student. So here are a few tips on choosing the right singing teacher for one’s type of voice.
A Singing Teacher Must Specialize in the Singing Style of the Student’s Choice
While it sounds pretty obvious that an aspiring pop or folk singer should not enroll in an opera class, this is by far the most common mistake. Jazz, pop, rock, folk, operatic and other singing styles all require different techniques. While some famous performers excel in several methods, they are naturally talented and adaptable people — an exception to the rule.
The opposite applies, too. While nearly every person can be taught to sing reasonably professionally, every person’s voice is naturally geared to one particular type of singing. It has much more to do with the individual structure of one’s singing apparatus than with one’s preferred choice of music. Some people are natural opera singers. That’s the way their vocal chords, mouth, throat, and lungs are shaped. And their attempts to practice some crooning-style jazz or pop music may demand years of total re-learning.
This is where singing teachers come in extremely handy: they can determine what kind of music their student’s voice suits best.
A Good Singing Teacher or Voice Coach Must be Part of the Local Musical Community
This, too, seems logical. A good singing teacher networks a lot. He or she has successful and happy students some of whom may have become vocal coaches in their right. That’s why the best way to find the best professional voice coach is by word of mouth. Inquiring in local music institutions, choirs, recording studios and music shops.
Hordes of people advertise in various media claiming to be singing teachers. An aspiring student needs to check whether they’re known in the local musical scene. Like Music To Your Home singing classes in New York, for example, is a musical institution in Manhattan area. A singing voice is an extremely fragile instrument that can be ruined forever in a few months. Sometimes for a few sessions, even – by an unskilled teacher.
An aspiring vocal student must remember that a good voice teacher has different approaches to every one of his or her pupils, as every student’s body and mind work differently. No amount of professional jargon and fancy techniques can point at a good teacher. The only indication of his or her professionalism is the number of successful and enthusiastic ex-students who quote their teacher as the source of their inspiration.
A Good Vocal Tutor Doesn’t Need to be a Good Singer
Many of the most successful singing teachers in the history of music were lousy singers. There are two reasons behind it. First, what’s important for a voice coach is to be able to understand and pinpoint how a particular sound is produced within the student’s body. Then to explain it to the student so that the explanation improves the performance. Like a good editor who improves a talented writer’s work, a singing teacher corrects the student and guides him or her in the right direction.
Secondly, good singers don’t always make good teachers. Only because they’re usually too talented to look into a multitude of singing problems experienced by an average student. Singing comes to them naturally. So they’re often unable to explain to their students the reasons behind this or that question. And what should be done to make it right. Alternatively, average singers who learn by trial and error and toil hard to achieve their goal, understand their students’ problems well and can explain and guide them in the right direction much better than the “just do as I do!” type of teachers.
Vocal studies are an incredibly addictive discipline, even though it takes years of dedication to see the results. Finding an excellent professional singing teacher is the most crucial step on the way to one’s performing career.