Here's a list of questions that I get asked regularly by clients. If you can't find the answers you're looking for, please don't hesitate to get in touch.
You could probably find a multitude of answers on this and each one will probably be slightly different!
The general opinion of a vocal coach is that they concentrate mainly on repertoire and interpretation by providing feedback and advice on how the song is performed, while the singing teacher focuses on teaching technique.
I am proud to say that I am a very modern voice teacher, who encompasses the underlying technique into her teaching, in addition to all elements of performance and repertoire.
Both technique and performance are extremely important to me, and as such I provide students with the whole singing package to enable them to become, not only a great singer, but also a fantastic performer!
There are three elements that you will need to consider:
Firstly, it is essential to find someone who knows what they are doing! You may think this is common sense but, as with all professions and trades, there are always a small minority of ‘cowboys’ out there who profess to know everything about technique and who can list a number of stars as long as their arm who they ‘claim’ to have worked with. Remember that someone with a grade 8 in singing or a degree in music may be a great natural singer themselves but singing exams or a general music degree won’t provide them with a knowledge of vocal technique or the ability to teach others how to sing! It is always good if you can find a singing teacher by recommendation but, failing that, don’t be afraid to ask questions about the types of qualifications the teacher has and what techniques they teach. A simple question to start with is to ask them if they teach ‘head and chest voice’ – a teacher who is up to date with the latest singing techniques and practices should tell you that the teaching of ‘head and chest voice’ has moved on significantly! Alternatively, ask the teacher if they have any students who you could contact for their views.
Secondly, when choosing a teacher it is also important to find someone that you feel comfortable with; just because a teacher has qualifications or numerous stage credits doesn’t mean to say that they will be the right one for you! This is part of the reason why I ask all students to come for a half hour consultation before progressing to the ‘full blown’ lessons. I appreciate how hard it is to sing in front of a complete stranger, so it is essential that you can relate to your teacher while gaining continuous support from them.
Thirdly, singing lessons should be enjoyable. If you don’t enjoy your lessons it will be much more difficult to learn and apply what you are being taught and, if the worst comes to the worst, you may even be put off singing altogether – this should NEVER happen! You are obviously reading this right now because you already enjoy singing and my aim is to keep it that way! That is why I always make an effort to get to know my students and teach them in a relaxed atmosphere while tailoring the pace of learning to each individual student. I absolutely LOVE singing and I also LOVE teaching people to sing, so my enthusiasm, coupled with my ability to get on with almost anyone, generally makes for fun-packed lessons with amazing results.
I teach all contemporary styles of singing.
This means that I don’t teach classical/opera but I do teach all other forms of singing including:
- R & B
- Musical Theatre
Some vocal coaches don’t teach students under a certain age, however, I am happy to teach children from as young as 7 up to any age, as I enjoy the variation that teaching a wide age range can provide.
I certainly do! This can be viewed on request when attending for a lesson.
Absolutely. Everyone has their own reason for singing, which is why I tailor lessons to the individual and their goals.
I don’t believe there is anyone out there who doesn’t have room to improve their singing and performance skills.
Even if you are brilliant at both, another person’s perspective can still help you to find those missing pieces of the jigsaw puzzle that have been eluding you for so long!
Whether you are looking to increase your range, power and/or control, or you want to improve the interpretation of a specific song, a good voice teacher will help you to do these things and so much more!
Definitely! I always start lessons by teaching my students the fundamentals of breathing and support before we start on the serious singing (for experienced singers, I will still ensure that these elements are correctly in place).
Following this I tailor lessons to the individual to ensure that they can achieve their personal goals. In some cases this may centre on technique, and in others – for example, those individuals preparing for auditions – lessons may require a heavier focus on performance and repertoire.
Most definitely! This is a fundamental part of teaching a person to sing and something which all good teachers should be able to help with.
Yes it is possible, but it can be very hard work, depending on how out of tune you are. As long as both you and your teacher are committed then improvement can most definitely be made but you shouldn’t expect to see instant results.
From a teacher’s perspective I find it extremely rewarding to work with students who have issues with pitching and to hear the improvements they make!
Absolutely – lessons are tailored to the individual and their goals.
Of course! I completely understand your reservations, because everyone has their own vocal style and this is characteristic of you and the way you sing.
The first (and most important!) thing I will do is check that the way in which you sing is safe and healthy. Remember that the aim of singing lessons is NOT to change your vocal style but to provide you with the tools and encouragement you need to develop your voice in and safe and healthy manner, while still retaining ‘your sound.’
This depends on the type of teacher you choose. Many singers come from a classical background; as a result, their teaching methods are likely to be based on this style of singing.
If you are taught by a vocal coach who understands the techniques utilised in contemporary singing, this problem should not happen.
It most definitely isn’t normal! If you are getting a sore throat from singing then it is likely that there is something wrong with your technique and you should visit a good vocal coach who can check and, where necessary, correct your technique.
Always remember: If singing is done correctly, it does not cause sore throats.
Unfortunately, as there is currently no regulation of singing teaching, there is nothing to prevent situations like these from happening. However, the best way to avoid this is by asking your prospective voice teacher lots of questions about the techniques and elements that they cover.
Any teachers who are still teaching ‘head and chest voice’ are best avoided, as research has proved this to be incorrect! Remember: being a good singer, having lots of qualifications or having a fancy studio doesn’t necessarily make a good singing teacher!
This is a very misleading question as you sing in all keys depending upon the song you are singing! What you need to understand as a singer is how a particular song sits within your voice and whether it is necessary to change the key for each specific song in order to make the most of your vocal abilities.
I can provide one to one online lessons via the Zoom platform provided you have the use of a computer with a good quality webcam and soundcard, along with a reliable broadband connection. Online lessons can also be undertaken using a tablet or smartphone, however, the quality of the sound and images produced by these devices are unlikely to be of the same quality as those provided on a computer. If you are unsure as to whether online lessons could work for you, please contact me to discuss this further.
This is entirely down to the individual and will depend on their goals and needs. I am happy to provide ad hoc lessons for people who are preparing for auditions or who have specific problems that need addressing. Alternatively, I am also able to provide regular lessons for individuals who wish to continuously train to develop and improve their voice and repertoire.
By booking a consultation, I will be better able to understand your needs and, where necessary, we can discuss the number of lessons you may require.
Again, this is entirely dependent upon the individual. It stands to reason that the more lessons you have in a short period of time, the quicker you will improve. However, lessons are always subject to your time and money, so the decision is entirely up to you!
Rest assured that I will never pressure you into having a certain length or frequency of lessons, but at your consultation I will be happy to provide you with some ideas of how you may want to approach your lessons.