Do singing lessons work for everyone

Selection criteria for good singing lessons

Part 1 - The outer frame

1. Fame

Fame is not a criterion for good teaching, but rather the ability to teach. There are many great vocal coaches who are not exceptional singers, but can get the best and even more out of their students. Do not be blinded.

2. Free trial lessons

Some coaches give it as an incentive. The really good ones don't need that. Instead of talking a little about singing and doing two or three exercises, as is often the case in trial lessons, take a regular class where you are fully instructed. You should also come out of the first lesson with new inspiration, exercises and a concrete exercise goal.

3. Price for the lesson

Good teaching is never cheap. Think about whether you take an hour every week with a cheaper coach who has not been teaching for that long (doesn't have to mean that the technique is bad), or if you take an hour every two weeks to a real (more expensive) crack who through years of experience, connections are captured and conveyed much faster.

4. Choose method of technique

Classical is not the basis for all music. It's an equal option. Of course, certain vocal technical aspects are the same in all styles of music, because our body, i.e. our instrument, functions the same way. But classical singing in particular has a very specific sound ideal that every singer has to satisfy. Pop, on the other hand, lives from the individuality of a voice. The classic sound is very different from the pop sound. The prerequisites are also completely different.

Classical singers have to be able to fill a large room without a microphone. To achieve this, they emphasize completely different parts of their voice than a pop singer whose voice is amplified by a microphone. To put it simply: a classical voice must be able to spread large and wide in order to fill the room. A pop voice has to be narrow and bundled in order to be well reproduced and amplified by the microphone.

Nowadays we have the choice between various teaching methods and vocal techniques. You should first consider what kind of repertoire you want to learn. If you are interested in classical music, you are probably best off with a teacher who teaches classical technique. However, if you want to sing pop, rock, soul or jazz, etc., it makes more sense to go to someone who is also familiar with the vocal sounds from these genres.

Many vocal coaches who teach the popular styles today have access to up-to-date methods that have been shown to be based on techniques that are gentle on the voice. For example the Estill Voice Training or CVT. But there are also other well-functioning methods that are perhaps a little less "technical", but work more with images, perception and breathing. It is best to ask which method the coach is working with and try out different ones. A really accomplished vocal coach can teach you all vocal sounds, including those from the opera world.

In my experience, it is not so important that a man teaches a man and a woman teaches a woman. All combinations work. You should rather "click" in your head with your vocal coach than that you can hear an image of yourself vocally. A good vocal coach should point out the differences between male and female voices and compensate for any vocal differences with good explanations.

6. When the chemistry is wrong

As in love, some people just don't go together. And so it can happen that the chemistry between you and your coach is simply not right. If you are unsure after the first lesson, take a few more hours to form your own judgment and then make up your mind. But there must be an opportunity for that. Some coaches try very quickly to set up a contract with their students. In general, I think contractual commitments are ok, but not after the first hour, please!

The second part of the feature next week is about the internal structure of a singing lesson.