It may not seem obvious when choosing your singing teacher, but the quality of the relationship and the teaching will be critically important in the approach to singing. Here are a few tips to help singers make the right choice.
Determine Your Objectives
Not everybody sets the same goals for themselves, and since singing teachers generally have a speciality, choose one whose approach is in line with your desired style. To successfully set clear goals, the best method involves making a list organized according to three topics: specific vocal problems, development, and constraints.
Shop Around for Teachers
Finding a good singing teacher is like everything else: whatever a professional’s area of expertise, from the moment they become competent and reputable, they’re rarely available. You should therefore contact them at the end of the year rather than at the beginning, before all the spots are taken and their schedule is already filled. Otherwise, it’s often necessary to wait for a student to leave the course – in other words, move – to hope for a spot: because if the teacher is good, it’s unlikely that they’ll leave the course unless they’re forced to do so.
To find contact information for singing teachers, it’s best to avoid directories, which offer no guarantee of quality, but instead to focus on:
- Personal recommendations
- Specialized websites with reviews from students, which give you some idea of the quality of the teaching
- Conservatories, which can provide lists of singing teachers or let you leave an ad
Take a Trial Lesson
After exchanging emails or – even better – having a phone conversation where the objectives, rates, schedules, and desired frequency of lessons are clearly explained, all that’s left is to put all this into practice to see if the chemistry is there.
Generally speaking, the trial lesson makes it possible to:
- Clarify the objectives
- Assess the singer’s voice
- Do some vocal exercises
- Discuss the method that the teacher plans to apply
- Ask questions
This first lesson has the benefit of giving you a good idea of the teacher’s quality of work and lets you know whether you feel like working with them. Some teachers provide a copy of the assessment and the working plan, which allows the student to be able to position themselves, be reassured, and plan.
It’s also possible to record your trial lesson to remember it well, especially when you take these with several different teachers before making your choice.
Make your Final Decision
It’s time to review your notes and recordings to determine which teacher is on the same wavelength as you and is most able to achieve the objectives you’ve set. It’s not uncommon for two teachers to suit you perfectly, and in this case, there’s a rather simple way to decide: feeling. Because being comfortable with your teacher is more important than choosing a teacher with an impressive resume but with whom the spark just isn’t there.
The best singing teachers often have an already full schedule, and you may have to put your name on a waiting list before you can finally take advantage of their advice. This is generally worth the trouble, and while waiting, nothing is stopping you from starting to study with another teacher. If a spot frees up, it will always be possible to change teachers by giving notice. Not to mention that you may also be lucky enough to stumble upon a teacher who suits you perfectly in the first attempt!