You sing all the time. You sing in the shower, in your car, when you go karaoke, or maybe you’re in a band or doing your own gigs. And you love it! You feel like you cannot live without singing, so you think, “why don’t I take it to the next level and start singing lessons?”.
I say YAY! You took the first step to being a professional singer/performer. But how will you know what kind of teacher you need, and most importantly, where to find one?
Well, I have good news and bad news. The good news is that with today’s technology you can simply browse the internet and look at tons of websites and watch tons of videos from teachers. You search through google, yelp, Facebook, you name it.
The bad news is that, because learning how to sing with a correct technique and learn how to perform is a complicated, and sometimes lengthy process, you can never be too sure about choosing the correct teacher for you just by looking at a website, or even by having a lesson with them. So, I will give you some tips about how to choose the correct teacher for you and your personality:
1) Look for reviews that actually have a content.
What do those reviews say? “This teacher is amazing, fantastic, great?” Well, good, but you should look for reviews that give you a little bit of information about the teacher or the lessons. For instance, if you see reviews that say “My teacher helped me understand how to pronounce my vowels while singing”, or “My teacher showed me lots of breathing techniques”. Because you are not just buying a product, but a service, look for real content, not just revving reviews that are meant to impress. Anyone can make up fake reviews, and remember that there are many people out there that are just good marketers, not teachers. A good teacher will try to help YOU, not their pockets.
2) Trust your instinct.
This is a tricky one, especially when you are a beginner that has never taken lessons before. It’s great that you are excited! But before commiting to your lessons, what you have to do first is establish if your teacher is a good fit for YOU. A good teacher will explain to you that there is no “formula” that they use for every student. You should find a teacher that personalizes the lesson according to your needs and personality. For example, if you have a lesson and then leave having questions your teacher couldn’t answer, or if you are feeling uncomfortable for any reason whatsoever, then that teacher is probably not suitable for you, however good they might be. You have to feel comfortable even from that very first lesson and feel free to express your opinion and discuss all that is troubling you.
3) If you feel pain, discomfort, clenching or strain, RUN.
This is pretty much self explanatory. If you feel ANY of those things during the lesson and you feel like your teacher is not able to help you or they don’t know how, then change teachers IMMEDIATELY. A knowledgeable teacher is ALWAYS able to help with issues like those, and if you make the mistake and stay with them, you will either hurt your vocal cords, develop very bad habits, or both. When you encounter such a teacher, say “Next please!!”.
4) Know what to ask for and what you need from your potential teacher.
Before scheduling your first contact with a teacher, write down all your questions, concerns about your voice, and what you will need from the teacher. For example, if you have trouble with your breath control, write it down. Find out which kind of singing you would be interested in, and if you find you are interested in all of them, communicate that from that very first contact. If you have a long term or short term goal, write it down also. It is important to know WHY you are starting singing lessons, and WHAT you want to gain from having them. Just one thing to remember: teachers are not magicians. You need to understand that they will try their best to help you but they will see you maybe for one or two hours per week. The rest of your practice and progress is on you. 🙂
5) When you have that first lesson, know what to look for.
The difference between a bad teacher and a great teacher, is that a great teacher will never lie to you. I’ve seen (unfortunately) a lot of teachers tricking students into believing that they can be amazing singers in just one month, or straight up lying to them by constantly complimenting them on their “progress” just to have them around and gain profit. Well, a great teacher will tell it like it is: if you need X amount of practice time, they will tell you. If you have pitch issues, they will explain to you exactly how you can work together and what the possible issues might be. A great teacher will also be very cautious if you complain about pain or discomfort. They may possibly advise you to visit a throat doctor before starting lessons with you. Look for a teacher that will be honest and kind to you, and someone that will explain with detail and humility all that you need to know about singing.
I hope you find your path to singing. 🙂 Please message me if you have any questions!