20 Things To Look For In A Voice Teacher

My colleague and friend Sharon Erman and I often have great conversations on singing and teaching, and she inspired this list of “20 Things To Look For In A Voice Teacher”:

  1. Does the teacher understand how the voice works? It’s a rather shocking question, but can the teacher explain in simple terms what happens when the human voice sings, especially in a VARIETY of styles?
  2. Does the teacher have the ability to diagnose what they hear and offer suggestions based on that diagnosis?
  3. Does the teacher continue to study, either on their own with THEIR teacher or coach, or collectively with other voice teachers and/or voice specialists?
  4. Does the teacher make you feel at ease and comfortable in lessons?
  5. Do you feel valued by the teacher, and is your opinion also taken into account?
  6. Do you feel open to express your ideas, opinions, or reservations without fear of reprisal or scorn?
  7. Does the teacher teach what they were taught by their teacher, or have they explored other avenues of thought on the singing voice? Can they justify WHY they teach WHAT they teach?
  8. Does the teacher have great relationships with other voice specialists (other teachers, coaches, voice therapists, etc) that can also help the singer outside of their voice lessons if they need it?
  9. Does the teacher have the ability to suggest repertoire appropriate to your current level of development?
  10. Are there applicable exercises that are given in each lesson based on your current needs?
  11. Does the teacher explain WHY they are asking you to sing a specific exercise in lessons?
  12. Do you understand what the goals are for each lesson, so that you have something to work on outside the lesson?
  13. Does the teacher help you structure and understand how to practice when you are not in the studio?
  14. Is the teacher able to say “I don’t know, but I’ll find out” when it comes to questions that you ask in lessons?
  15. Does the teacher provide you with resources (books, audio, videos) if you need them to learn more about singing or singers?
  16. Is there an understanding of balance in singing? Does your voice feel freer, easier, and more expressive?
  17. If something isn’t working in lessons, can the teacher adjust and move in another direction if needed?
  18. How does the teacher sing? Are they able to vocally demonstrate concepts to you clearly in a way that you are able to understand?
  19. Does the teacher frequently ASK for your input and feedback on the voice training process?
  20. Does the teacher continue to practice THEMSELVES as a singer?

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