Many singers out there are looking for the right vocal coach. But how do you find the right voice teacher for your specific needs?
Are you looking for a voice coach that will help your performance, or just looking for exercises?
Does the singing teacher need to be in an amazing band, or is it more important to you they have a music degree?
There are a ton of ways to go about finding the right voice teacher, but in the end the most important aspect of finding a good singing instructor has nothing to do with music.
Can you guess what it is?
It’s the teacher/student connection. Let’s call it chemistry.
Bottom line, do you trust your teacher to take your voice where it needs to go? Can you put your faith in a music teacher that you just met to take responsibility for you and your voice? Or, to look at it another way, do you get along?
This may the most helpful and overlooked concept in finding the right voice teacher for you.
But why is the teacher more important than the technique?
Let me tell you a quick story (some of the names have been omitted to protect the innocent):
When I was busking in the San Francisco train stations (busking is performing in a public place for tips), I sought out the help of a voice teacher because I kept hitting a wall vocally. For me, that meant that every time I tried to hit a high note, it would come out either falsetto or a strained yell. It wasn’t healthy and it didn’t sound good.
So I began taking lessons with a very nice singing instructor in the area. His rates were reasonable and according to everything I’d read, he taught a very successful vocal technique.
In those first few lessons, we worked on my chest voice, head voice and mix. In some time, my break into falsetto was getting less pronounced and I was starting to hit high notes in my bridge with power.
In the end, however, I felt there was more that I was missing. Sure, this voice teacher was very nice, but he had a very muted personality and I had (and have) a ton of energy.
One year later, I fly to Austin, Texas and I take a one-off voice lesson with a singer-songwriter friend’s teacher, Gene Raymond.
Same technique, same price, similar experience levels. But within the course of one half hour, Gene completely transformed my voice. Concepts and notes that had been totally uncomfortable before were now crystal clear.
I was really hitting high notes without straining. Finally!
I’m not embarrassed to say it: in addition to the beautiful weather and people, Gene Raymond and that magnificent lesson were a huge reason I moved to Austin, Texas.
I studied with Gene for several years before he told me to go away and become a voice teacher. This in and of itself is a huge tribute to the man. He saw in me what I hadn’t yet seen in myself: my power to share my knowledge with others. This is the proof of a good teacher.
In essence, there is nothing more important to finding the right singing teacher than your connection to this person. You must enjoy spending time with them if you’re going to do all those silly Nay Nays and Gee Gees.
After all, it’s not the destination, it’s the journey. And the journey is enriched by who is with you.
So, how do you get started? There are lots of good websites that compile lists of good teachers, however there are many teachers that offer a discounted or free first lesson to get started. I think this is a magnificent way to see if you’re a good fit. So shop around, trust your gut and let your voice sing!