But what to look for in a good teacher?
Each teacher will be different. You need to find one who works well for you. However there are some things to think about when booking a class or meeting with a teacher for the first time
Whilst some teachers will happily take on students of any vocal style, most will have their own speciality, which usually will be their own area of performance expertise. If you have a burning desire to sing country music, find a teacher who knows this area well. Similarly, if you want to become an opera singer, finding someone who is trained in that area would serve you best. Don’t be afraid however to try a new or different style too. You may be given a song that you wouldn’t have dreamed in a million years you could pull off, but your teacher may see something in you and you never know until you try!
As with anything, it does generally help if you get on with your teacher. If you are filled with dread at the thought of going to them each week, then you will not be as keen to learn from them. On the other hand- make sure you or they don’t waste whole lessons with talking. You’re paying them to teach, not gossip!
At the end of the day, you are paying someone for a service. If they turn up late, don’t have a plan for the lesson, or spend half the time texting someone, they’re not providing you with the service for which you are paying. A good teacher should keep notes about each student, allowing them and you to refer back and see what you’ve done and how far you’ve progressed.
At the end of a lesson you should feel positive about your vocal journey. Even if you’ve not managed to master something quite yet, you should be left feeling that you can achieve your goal. A good teacher will be a masterful encourager, giving you the boost and confidence that you need to go home and practise hard so that you get it right next week.
As well as being encouraging, it’s important that any teacher is honest. We’ve all seen the poor hopefuls on reality TV shows who’ve been told by a teacher that they’re the next Mariah Carey, and who end up publically shaming themselves and being ridiculed by the judges. As performers, we love our egos being stroked, however this is not always the most productive way to teach and honesty and constructive criticism is far more valuable to the learning process.
It often takes time to find the right teacher. You can talk to people who’ve had lessons with certain teachers before, research them online, find out what their credentials are, but ultimately you need to try them out for yourself. Don’t be afraid to book a taster lesson with someone and make it known that you are considering other teachers too. All good teachers will be fine with this, as it is understood that getting the right fit is very important. It may seem like a tedious process, but believe me, once you find the right fit, you’ll know, and the magic can begin to happen.