Regardless of where you start out, anybody can be trained to become a good singer. And while many are gifted with a good singing voice, but not everyone can use this gift to perform.
This is exactly why a lot of aspiring singers seek to have a vocal coach. A vocal coach can help you reach your utmost potential when it comes to performing on stage, but the question is, how can I find the best vocal coach for me? So to help you out, we’ve searched and compiled some of the best advices on how to choose vocal coach – coming from, of course, no other than the vocal coaches themselves.
In choosing a vocal or singing coach, you’ll benefit the most if you have some background knowledge on what to look for in a vocal coach, and how these coaches can help you bring out the best in your performances. So before you actually commit to a voice coaching program, here are some important ideas that you might be interested to know.
Vocal Coach vs. Voice Teacher- Which One Do I Need?
For all we know, vocal coach and voice teacher are terms that are often used interchangeably when in fact, there is a very thin line that separates these two professions.
A voice teacher is a professional that often has a degree or certification and experience in voice teaching. A voice teacher is the person that you will need if you want to learn how to sing, improve your voice (like in terms of range), or learn various vocal techniques that you can use for singing.
So, you may want to have lessons with a voice teacher if:
- you want to develop your voice at any level (beginner to expert)
- you want to learn about a specific or different singing styles (musical theater, classical, pop, folk, soul or rock)
- you want to learn or enhance your vocal technique or skills (vibrato, falsetto, breath control, diction or vocal flexibility)
On the other hand, a vocal coach is someone who can boost the skills of a singer and help him or her prepare for a particular performance. With a degree or not, a good vocal coach helps a singer make a remarkable performance out of their previous knowledge and skills in singing.
So you’ll want to consult a vocal coach if:
- you are already equipped with the knowledge and skills of a singer
- you need help in selecting the best piece to suit your voice
- you are preparing for an audition or performance
- you want to build your character on stage, including gestures, facial expressions, and stage presence
So to make it simpler, you’ll need help from a voice teacher if you want to become a singer, and you’ll need a vocal coach if you want to upgrade and become a performer. In some cases, you’ll find voice teachers who can also effectively coach once their students need their assistance in a particular performance.
That being said, the majority of what’s written below applies to both voice teachers and vocal coaches.
Things To Consider When Choosing A Vocal Coach
This is among the first things you’ll want to make sure of when looking for a good vocal coach. More than their academic qualifications, vast experience in the field of voice coaching is a huge advantage, particularly one who has worked with clients having a similar singing style as yours.
With this, you can check through the internet about the voice coach that you are eyeing for or better yet, take some referrals from the people you know. First-hand experience from your family, friends or colleagues is a reliable source of information when it comes to knowing their coaching style. After all, you would want to entrust your voice and hard-earned money to an expert who really has the skills to help you get better.
Being able to sing and being able to teach are two separate skill sets, and it’s important that your vocal coach has both of them. Someone can be an amazing singer, but if they aren’t able to help you understand how to develop your own singing voice, then it doesn’t really matter.
Bonus tip: Teaching someone who ended up becoming a famous or successful singer does not necessarily mean that the teacher is credible. If a famous person worked at all with the vocal coach – even if that singer hated the experience, the vocal coach may still claim they taught that famous person.
Just because a vocal teacher is amazing at one genre of music, doesn’t mean that they’ll be able to effectively teach you in another genre of music.
Taking rock vocal lessons from an opera teacher probably isn’t the greatest idea, if they may have mastered the vocal techniques for opera. You’ll surely learn useful information, but it may not move you towards the goal that you’re hoping for.
Instead, look for teachers that specialize in the genre that will become your primary focus – this will help you develop the nuances of the genre and achieve your vocal goals more quickly.
Personal Skill Level
It may go without saying, but it helps to be learning from someone that is actually skilled in singing themselves.
There are certain professions in which someone can become an effective coach or instructor without having the raw skill themselves. However, vocals are one of those skill sets that require personal skill in order to teach effectively.
This isn’t to say you can’t learn from someone who isn’t a professional singer, but a skilled teacher will be able to bring out the best in their own voice – even if they weren’t blessed with the natural talent some people are lucky to have.
Many vocal coaches would agree that just anybody can learn to sing and become quite great at it with practice.
Your teacher doesn’t need to be the next winner of American Idol, but they should at least have a pleasant singing voice with a solid tone and the ability to match pitch. Otherwise, how will they be able to help demonstrate what you need to learn?
Another thing to consider in choosing a vocal coach is the location. Being coached by someone who is just a few minutes-drive from your home will save your precious time from travelling long hours or being delayed by the traffic.
In searching online, you can simply type “voice coach near me” or “singing coach near me ”. This will typically make your options limited to the ones who offer their services near you.
In recent years, there has also been an increase in online-only vocal coaching through platforms like Skype or Zoom. This may be another option worth considering, and can even be cheaper or more convenient in some circumstances.
Just be warned however that it may require you to purchase a better microphone, for your coach to properly assess your voice throughout your lessons.
This will refer to your chemistry with the vocal coach that will handle you. Vocal coaches may have, more or less, similar credentials and experience, but there is this one person that you can truly feel comfortable working with. A person that you can trust and connect with, and help you achieve your greatest potential. However, you wouldn’t have any idea if you’ll be compatible with your vocal coach unless you meet him in person, and work some time with him or her.
A large part of effective singing, especially when you’re starting out is confidence. Your mental state really affects how strongly you’re able to perform, and it’s very important to work with somebody you really feel comfortable with.
When we’re unconfident, we have a natural tendency to do less than our best, in order to save ourselves from potential shame or embarrassment. Unfortunately, because this doesn’t cause you to actually push your limits, it can be slow to progress and build skill.
Because of this, it would be best to ask for a trial period with your prospective coach before you commit to a long-term contract. This would allow some time for you to get to know each other and check if you’re a compatible team.
Usually, the better the vocal coach, the higher the cost. This is understandable, as vocal coaches only have a limited number of students that they can teach at any given time. As demand for their services rise, so does their cost.
If you’re just starting out and you’re not sure if you’ll stick with vocal coaching, it may be best to avoid any long-term commitments. However, if you’ll think about it as an investment, you’ll be saving money in the long run because a good vocal coach will make your future performances a lot better and give you an edge towards your singing career. Better coaches will also be able to help you progress more quickly, meaning you won’t need to take as many lessons to make the same amount of progress.
To help spread out the cost, we recommend working with instructors that give you exercises to work on and other things to do between lessons, to speed up the rate in which you progress and to make the most out of each lesson.
Willingness To Compromise
The last, but equally important factor to consider in selecting a singing coach is the willingness to compromise. While inquiring for a vocal coach’s services, you’ll want to ask about all of the ‘what-if’ scenarios. For example, you may ask if they are open to rescheduling your appointment if there’ll be some unexpectedevents in the future, like bad weather or an emergency. You may also ask for the flexibility of their program, such as shifting to online coaching if needed, or taking short-term breaks when necessary.
Don’t Be Afraid To Switch Coaches
Just because you start out with one coach, does not mean that you need to stick with them.
Although you’ll make the most amount of progress working deeply with one coach, you shouldn’t feel obligated to stick with someone who is not working for you. There are a large number of vocal coaches available in most areas, and online coaching is always an option as well. If you want to try someone else out, it certainly couldn’t hurt.
Enjoying the lesson is critical, and you’ll stick with it longer when you’re working with the right person.
So overall, there’s no right or wrong way of choosing a vocal coach, but you can use the above-mentioned tips as a guide to finally end up with the best vocal coach out there. More than anyone, it is you who can tell if you’ve already met the one that can truly lift you up in your chosen career.
Have any questions? Please feel free to ask them using the comment form below. We’d love to help out!
Best of luck,
– The Musical Sanctuary Team