After graduating and finishing up with my high-school voice lessons with a pre-assigned teacher, I didn’t know how to choose a singing teacher that would get the best out of my voice. Luckily I was able to find a range of things to look for in your future singing teacher.
An ideal singing teacher has the following qualities:
- Qualifications and/or experience in teaching voice
- Experience in vocal performance
- Good rapport
- Understanding of a range of vocal styles
- A flexible teaching style that is able to compliment your learning style
- Reasonable fees
- Able to identify areas of improvement in your voice
- Can provide opportunities for you to perform
I will discuss these points in more detail. But with all this in mind, you still have to know where to find a singing teacher and how to get this information about a teacher. I’ve also outlined these things to help you on your way.
Finding the Right Singing Teacher
Qualifications and Experience
A singing teacher should have some form of formal qualification, such as a bachelor degree or diploma. This can be more general, such as music performance or a more specialized qualification in voice studies.
They may even have a qualification in both singing and teaching, which would be ideal as the teaching aspect is half the battle to becoming a great singing teacher. For information on some of the requirements to be classically trained singer, click here.
If a teacher you have found does not have a formal qualification, you can still be rest assured that someone who has had many years of experience is also a good candidate. They would be well acquainted with what works and what doesn’t work with teaching voice.
Experience in Vocal Performance
If you are learning to sing, or trying to improve your voice, it is important to find someone who has had experience in singing professionally. This means that they would have had the opportunity to road-test all the techniques that they are teaching you and can teach you not only how to sing, but how to perform in front of an audience.
A very important attribute is that the singing teacher is easy to get along with. They should make you feel comfortable. You will be exposing a very vulnerable side of yourself, as your singing voice is a very personal instrument. If you don’t feel comfortable with a teacher, you are less likely to open up to them and sing to your full potential.
They should make you feel comfortable
Understanding of a Range of Vocal Styles
Everyone has their preferred singing style, whether it is jazz, pop, classical, etc. A good teacher should have an understanding of most, if not all, of these styles so that they can work with yours.
If you have an idea of what your style is, they will work with you on this style, or may even recognize if you are actually better suited to a different style. If you are unsure to begin with, they will be able to identify what it is.
A Flexible Teaching Style
Everybody learns differently. In singing, this is not so much visual vs. technical learners; but more to do with how well you respond to criticism.
Some people respond very well to constructive criticism, and can therefore take blow after blow to their ego in the name of improving their voice. Others may have a more sensitive soul, responding better to a more gentle approach so they don’t buckle under the pressure.
Know which style you are and make sure your teacher fits with that style, or at least understand that about you.
Your singing lessons should fit within your budget. On average, a singing lesson will cost $60 per hour. There are certainly cheaper teachers out there, so make sure to choose one that is right for you. A cheaper teacher doesn’t necessarily mean they are not as good at teaching. So I would not use this as a measure of quality.
This price may be negotiable if you are willing to commit to a singing teacher long-term, but most teachers will have a flat rate.
Also keep in mind that lessons can be booked for varying lengths of time. The most common lesson is 30 minutes (which would therefore be $30), but you could still book a 60 minute, or even 45 minute lesson if you prefer.
Able to Identify Areas of Improvement
A good singing teacher will listen to you sing a song or a set of scales and be able to identify areas that need improvement.
I had this exact experience during my first singing lesson. My teacher had me do a few warm-ups and found that my higher range lacked strength. We then worked on strength in that area and I saw improvement in that same lesson.
You should have the same experience, if not in your first lesson, at least over your first few. Here is an example of some of the things your singing teacher may go through with you to sing higher.
Can provide opportunities for you to perform
This attribute is only essential if you are wanting to pursue performance opportunities. If that is the case, make sure you find a teacher that can link you in with singing groups or auditions that give you that opportunity.
It would be a shame to have all that coaching and nowhere to showcase it! If you are preparing for auditions, perhaps consider someone who knows the ins-and-outs of singing audition. Otherwise, you could always check out this article.
Where to Find Singing Teachers
Actually finding a singing teacher is the next challenge you will face. Fortunately, there are a number of places you can look.
Online is a great and easy way of finding a singing teacher. You will be faced with many possibilities, but at least you have options for finding that perfect one. If using Google, you can search through maps to find which teachers are closest to you. Other platforms include Craig’s List or Facebook. Although, just be careful because those advertising through this method may not be as experienced or qualified.
Music shops almost always have links to music teachers for many instruments. If you were to ask a staff member, they will likely be able to provide you with the contact details of a singing teacher, or may even offer lessons through the shop.
Schools almost always offer singing lessons to their students. There may be a chance that you could contact the head of music at a school and ask them for the contact details of their singing teachers (assuming the teachers are also teaching privately).
Another possibility is your local community center. They may have singing groups running during the week, or be advertising for local singing teachers.
Newspaper or Phone Book
Never underestimate the old fashioned methods of looking at an ad in the newspaper or phone book. These teachers are also likely to be more local.
Another timeless method is to simply ask someone else that sings. You may have friends or acquaintances from school, work, gym, etc that can help you out.
How to Assess a Potential Singing Teacher
So you may know exactly what to look for in a teacher, and have now found a few contacts, but how do you find out this information about these teachers?
The most useful way is finding their website if they have one. This should give a bit of information about the teacher, their fees, where they are located and how to get started. You should find most of the information listed above from their site.
Calling them can also get you the information you need, but may be a little bit confronting if you bombard them with all those questions, and also catch them off guard.
A better method of getting this information out of a teacher if they haven’t already provided it is through email. An email will give the singing teacher plenty of time to think about their response and provide you with all the information you need.
One thing I would recommend is, again, don’t bombard the singing teacher with a whole bunch of questions in an email. Instead, you could indicate that you are interested in their services and would like it if they sent you some information about them, their lessons and their specialization or passion. Usually a professional would know what information to provide you for you to make your decision.