||Frequently asked questions about:
FINDING THE RIGHT
Q01 Every voice teacher
/ vocal coach I have studied with forces me to sing classical music
- do I have to sing this stuff to sing well?
my voice teacher / vocal coach need to have a vocal music education
Q03 My voice teacher / vocal
coach doesn't perform much, does this matter?
Q04 How do I find a good voice teacher
/ vocal coach?
I study with only one voice teacher / vocal coach?
Q01. Every vocal coach I have studied with forces me to sing
classical music - do I have to sing this stuff to sing well?
Classical music is a style of music - just like pop, rock, country,
rap, etc. It is unfortunate that many people turn away from singing
lessons due to voice teachers and schools forcing such a stylistic choice. Don't
be so hard on them, historically there is a very good reason for this
type of vocal training - the style of classical music tends to follow
the actions needed to use the voice instrument to its full and natural
capabilities. Other vocal styles tend to require nuances that are
very effective during performance, but are not conducive to optimal
Fortunately, there is a very simple solution for those of us that don't
want to study classical music every day. Focus first on the full
and natural voice - learn the mechanics and athletics of singing
before concentrating on style. This can be done by singing popular music,
as long as the focus is on the natural voice and natural vocal production
(stylistic nuances not allowed).
Once the vocal production development is in line, then it is time to
concentrate on stylistic nuances. They should not be sung as "accidents",
randomly placed here and there -- they are choices. The wise singer
will add nuances in specific places of song material for effect. Overusing
a nuance (sliding into the note, scooping, growling, etc.) will diminish
its overall effect. Stylistic nuances, while not conducive to optimal
vocal production, are often necessary for a successful performance and
are not detrimental if done with care and in moderation. Your voice
coach needs to have this knowledge.
The ideal long-term vocal training situation would be to work with
a song, first focusing on that natural, powerful, strong voice. Then
take it one step further - sing the same song in many different
styles, or whatever styles you wish to be associated. Study and
understand the differences between those styles, and then put it into
If your vocal teacher does not agree to this type of logical plan,
I would continue in your search for a vocal coach.
If your time is limited and you are taking lessons to prepare for a
certain performance, be sure your voice teacher is willing to openly
discuss your lesson plan. Be sure that both the mechanics of singing
and the artistry of singing is discussed. Remember, it is your
time, your education, your money.
Does my vocal coach need to have a vocal music education degree?
A performer is trained to perform, and an educator is trained to
educate. Don't be fooled by the glitter if you really want to be
the best singer you can be.
It has been my experience that the BEST vocal training is obtained
from those individuals that have a music education degree, with their
primary instrument studied being the voice. Why? These are
usually the only people that have specifically studied vocal production,
numerous musical styles, advanced music theory, conducting, educational
philosophies and more. Their higher education curriculum was designed
to create vocal educators so they could effectively pass their knowledge
on to you.
Singers with performance experience or performance degrees often "fall
back" on music education and therefore, coaching you is not their first
In addition, "performers" often spend much of their time
developing "their personal style", limiting their knowledge and promoting
themselves (instead of you). Which means they teach a lot of singers to "mimick" their own sound, not help the singer find their own voice. If your current focus is on SONG STYLING only, then a singer of like-minded styles can assist you, but if singing becomes "hard" at any time, you need a teacher that can assist you with the mechanics of your own voice.
Bottom line. Don't be fooled and don't be intimidated. Do your research
and don't be afraid to ask questions. If possible, interview several voice coaches
and voice teachers before making your decision. If you need help knowing what questions to ask for your situation, visit our help desk for assistance with your personal situation: A2Z Smart Music Group Help Desk
Q03. My vocal coach doesn't perform much,
does this matter?
It is important that your vocal teacher have performance experience,
and is a big plus if they have had experience in a variety of musical
styles and musical groups, but it is not primarily important for them
to be full-time or even part-time performers.
are no longer required to participate in the game on-field but are respected
because they are the masterminds behind the teams. Vocal coaches
deserve the same respect. Not to mention that performing and teaching are both a full time job; sometimes teachers have to choose.
Q04. How do I find a good vocal coach?
Know what you want.
Be sure you know what you want to accomplish vocally when you begin
looking for your vocal coach and don't be afraid to interview them.
Be sure to engage in discussions regarding:
The mechanics of the voice.
Musical styles and performance.
Music theory, Ear Training and Sight-Singing
If you want to be the best singer you can be, these three aspects of
vocal training that need to be included. Your singing teacher should
have a lesson plan or coaching program that is utilized. This plan should be designed around YOUR GOALS. If you are going to a lesson and simply singing
your chosen song material over and over again -- this DOES NOT constitute a
qualified voice lesson and will most likely not result in the development you
Your voice coach should recommend or require vocal coaching products
or song materials for you to use between your lessons in order to guide your
vocal development. Not having these tools will slow down your development,
so be sure to ask about it.
The A2Z Smart Music Group provides singers a convenient place to find a variety of high-quality vocal coaching and
voice training tools.
We even recommend you get started with one of these programs
before visiting a vocal coach as they contain additional information
on what a voice coach should be providing you. If they can't answer questions you have about the program you have been using....find another coach.
Know where to look.
Educational institutions and trade associations are usually the best
place to look for qualified instruction on any subject. Look to
your local university or college or nationally to NATS, National Association
of Teachers of Singing. The internet also provides many possibilities
for finding local teachers and even the option of learning to sing
online. We are doing our best here at Vocal-Coaches.com to provide an easy connection point for singing students and teachers.
Speaking of the internet, lately we've witnessed an alarming number
sites being launched by people claiming to be qualified to teach others
to sing. Some of these individuals even go as far as bashing qualified
vocal coaches that have dedicated their life to music education, stating
anyone properly trained to teach music will lead you astray. Some have
blatantly copied lessons and material from these same qualified teachers
they are bashing. If these outspoken individuals provided original good
instruction it would be one thing, but sadly some of the samples are
Think about it this way, we all have been going to the doctor all of
our lives and learning a lot about how our bodies work along the way
-- that doesn't mean we are qualified to give medical advice or medical
training to others. So be sure to look at the qualifications of
your vocal teacher closely. Just because someone has attended
a lot of voice lessons, doesn't mean they know enough to train you. I have heard some voices destroyed by these types of training situations. Students
Know who to ask.
Don't be afraid to approach other singers to find out where they are
training. Learn early to network with those in your field, don't
get caught in the competition trap.
Q05. Should I study with only one vocal coach?
There are very few cases where a training singer should study voice
lessons with only one singing teacher, and this situation generally occurs
only when you are well into your singing career. For the rest of us
the general rule applies, learn as much as you can. Embrace the
stuff that works for you and file away the stuff that doesn't work for
you -- because with ever changing vocal development you just might need
it later on.
Vocal development and training has gotten easier in the past years
with the publishing of vocal coaching programs and exercise tools. These
make training your voice on a daily basis much easier. Instead
of turning to your piano keyboard, you can simply play your audio CD
or click a button on the computer. It's also much easier to study
the opinion of many vocal coaches and resources. Don't randomly
purchase products just because they are available, use the criteria
outlined above to help you decide which coaching product is for you. I,
for one, love to sing and agree that vocal warm-ups can be boring and
tedious, especially day after day. Having vocal exercise variations
on CD makes it that much easier to keep my voice in shape.
There are many quality vocal training programs available and the A2Z Smart Music Group prides itself on finding the best courses available. Visit http://SingerCity.com and http://A2Z-Smart-Music.com to see our favorite online training choices, along with hard copy materials if you want to hold the item in your hand.
These questions have been answered by Vocal Coach Yvonne DeBandi, BME. If you like her answers and would like to learn more, check out her page on this site:
Visit the A2Z
Smart Consulting Help Desk.