As in all fields of teaching, as well as singing, there can not be a person capable of satisfying anyone’s learning needs; it is a question not only of approach, of technique, or of style or genre of music, but also of character compatibility.
HAVE THE CLEAR IDEAS
The important thing to do before choosing a Vocal Coach is to set yourself goals, decide what are the things you would like to deepen or learn. After the first meetings, if you feel a perplexity about the type of approach of the teacher, about the method of study that has been proposed to you, or if you think that the teacher wants to force your path in a different direction from the objectives that you you were prefixed without really understanding why, then it is better to suspend, at least temporarily, meetings with that teacher and consider an alternative.
THE MUSICAL GENRE
With particular reference to the figure of the Vocal Coach, it is very important to take into consideration the kind of music that you are interested in investigating; and, if the teacher tells you that his vocal technique can work for every style, this is probably true but not enough … is he capable of singing in that style, applying his technique? If you can not find one of his CDs in which he sings in a similar style and not even on YouTube you find anything, probably that is not his favorite style (and there’s nothing wrong with that). So do not be afraid to test him by asking him to sing something in the genre that interests you. Then, ask yourself this question: “I really would like to sing in a similar way to him?”. If you do not think that its interpretation can offer you at least some interesting ideas, then it means that you have to look for another Vocal Coach.
WHEN THE VOICE CAN CHANGE
It is natural that with the studies the tone of your voice may change, as a consequence of a different way of using your own vocal instrument through a particular choice of use of the technique; it is certainly a positive thing especially if you now feel that your voice has become more “open”, free to fly and express yourself, but you may instead feel that your voice has become more “closed” and forced into a pattern that does not feel yours. If your voice changes, probably the thing to your Vocal Coach will like because the change happens as a consequence of the direction that he made you take … but the important thing is, this change must please you too. It is therefore also a matter of taste; your Vocal Coach might like a darker tone for your voice, while you might prefer a lighter one, or he might not be a lover of the vibrato in certain contexts, while you do … Therefore, it is important to find and choose a Vocal Coach that has more or less the same kind of tastes you have, or at least that is able to accept and understand what you like and the goals you would like to achieve, otherwise it will be inevitable that you come directed in a different direction from the one you would like to take.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM A VOCAL COACH
- A Vocal Coach is not a singing teacher, but must be something more: an experienced professional performer, inserted and fully active in the artistic and professional environment of his competence. This is because he will have to teach you things not “in theory”, but with practical examples of immediate application, and, as you know, nobody can teach what he has not already had direct experience of; in other words, no one can teach what he can not do.
- His activity can not be limited to Coaching, otherwise instead of being a coach, it is, more properly, a singing teacher.
- If he is a concert soloist, they should find, on Google or YouTube, many traces of his concert path as a soloist (and not as a choir vocalist, no matter where and with whom, not even for some important Star).
- If he works mainly in Recording Studio, he must be able to present a large discography as a solo singer (and not as a choir vocalist, and no matter where and with whom). Please note that if you have only one or two CDs on it, they are too few, and it does not matter if these CDs have received some coveted prize, nomination or other recognition … You are looking for a person who has a solid and real experience behind, and not just talent; the talent … well, you’ve got it too !.
- Why does not the activity as a choir vocalist have a particular credential value? The activity as a chorister implies a different type of role, which is clearly different from that of the solo singer. If you want to specialize mainly as a solo singer, you have to look for a good soloist like Vocal Coach.
- If he does not work privately but at a facility (eg singing school, music academy, etc.) or if he operated as a coach for special events (cast of a musical, television broadcast, etc.), do not be confused by the prestige of structure itself or of the particular event, but always focused only on the teacher’s prestige, performing research to understand how many and what are his real skills and professional experiences as a performer.
- Do not be distracted by your necessary but not sufficient curriculum of studies: it does not matter with who or where he studied, or if he has obtained the certification to teach this or that prestigious method, if he is not able to apply what he has learned and he does not know … “sing” seriously!The mastery of the technique alone is not enough, you are interested in knowing how to apply it. Moreover, it is not enough that you seem “pretty good”; his way of singing, according to your personal taste, must be convincing.
- Do not be confused by what others say or write about him; instead develop a critical conscience based on your “personal” opinion, as well as on your taste, on comparisons and concrete facts resulting from your personal research done on the Internet. You must also choose it based on what you want to sing, must know how to move with competence and experience in the music of your interest; in other words, he must know how to sing what you want to sing. Also, it should have more or less the same kind of tastes you have, you should have a similar way of considering music.
- It must inspire confidence; after all, you’re entrusting him with a very delicate part of you that you care about, your voice; and also something else, your dreams, your time and your future.
- Instinctively, you should feel a deep respect for him, for what is humanly, and also for his professionalism and experience, for his knowledge, for his artistic sensibility. In this field instinct is usually not wrong; if you do not feel trust and respect it means that there is probably something wrong.
- There is nothing wrong with suspending lessons if you are not satisfied, it is your full right, especially if you consider how much you are spending in terms of energy, time and money. So, nothing personal, it’s just that you need to continue on your way. What will he think of you for leaving? Nothing bad, he too was a student and should know that you can not be a student of the same teacher for a lifetime; and anyway, if he were to blame himself for it, it’s not your problem. Keep away from you, therefore, any sense of guilt and any fear of making a “bad impression” … your life is more important.
Be very careful! For your own sake, always maintain a healthy attitude of initial distrust fed by your critical spirit, and try to base your judgment only on concrete facts and of direct practical application. Beware of “fried air” sellers who wish to take advantage of your good faith.