The right voice teacher can make or break a singer’s improvement and vocal health. As someone who has experienced a few different voice teachers, I have discovered what works better for me in the voice studio. From my perspective, I will share some methods, personalities, and experience-levels that have worked best for me. However, keep in mind that everyone is different!
In terms of a voice teacher’s method, I always prefer when it’s a team effort between the student and the voice teacher, not just one-sided. I have had voice teachers that have been very one-sided; either they assign all the songs, or I get to choose everything. When a voice teacher chooses all the songs for a student, the student may feel uninspired because they don’t connect with the music or subject matter. However, if a student chooses all the music, they are not broadening their range or expanding their musical knowledge. When looking for a voice teacher, I recommend finding a happy medium. For example, maybe the student chooses some songs, and a teacher chooses some songs. Or, the student and teacher work together to find songs to work through. Just keep in mind, the songs that you sing should not be one-sided by either party.
I’ve experienced some very different personalities when it comes to voice teachers! To be a voice teacher, you have to be special. For me, I always preferred a voice teacher that was very encouraging, but also constructive. I’ve had voice teachers that were overly critical, or perhaps too precise with their tastes. I like to know when I’m improving, and I also like to be able to add some creativity to my work. When a voice teacher is too critical or narrow-minded, singing and learning can feel like a chore. Singing is supposed to be fun, creative, beautiful work. Be with a voice teacher that acknowledges that.
Finally, I prefer to have voice teachers that are performers themselves, not just people who have studied music and vocal health. As a musical theatre major, when I sing, I’m most likely performing in front of an audience. I always liked to have a teacher who understood that world and that experience. When a voice teacher is also a performer, they have better tips on how to preserve your voice, accurately convey the message of a song, and understand your experience first-hand. It’s like you’re in it together. A performing artist should learn from other performing artists to truly understand their craft.
No two singers are alike whatsoever, but as a singer and a student, I believe that some voice teachers are more helpful than others. Go out and experience different voice teachers for yourself, you’ll feel when you and them truly click.