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What do you need to look for in a vocal coach?

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I live in England and I am interested in learning 'classical voice' techniques. I have only found two tutors within travelling distance for me and I am confused who to choose from.

One seems to have better qualifications and has a BA Degree in Classical Music. Whereas the other seems to have many Diploma certificates, and is also older and more experienced that the other tutor. Both don't seem to have any feedback either.

Say like if I was to select at random one of these as my vocal tutor how would I know if I am learning well, or they are good at what they are teaching? As a complete novice, this is something I need to know. Thanks.

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The degrees and diplomas don't matter nearly as much as:

1. Can they sing in a way that you like, and fairly reliably?

Doesn't have to be the same style as you, but simply, do you admire their voice and singing ability a lot? And can they demonstrate with their own voice what they are teaching you in any vocal lesson?

2. Can they teach in a way that you like?

This has nothing to do with WHAT they are teaching you (you won't be able to figure that out instantly unfortunately) but rather, HOW they are teaching you - how well do you understand their explanations? Is it too vague for you, or too complex for you, or just right? Do the exercises they suggest to you seem to improve your voice after some consistent practice?

3. Do they have other successful students that they exclusively trained who started at your skill level or lower?

Doesn't have to be pros, just good singers. Again, a bit hard to find out if they don't have a full fledged website, but if at all possible, see if you can do this kind of research, even if it means just asking them about it over the phone.

What I would recommend if you can't figure out who to pick from research alone is, first take one lesson with each so you can take a peek at what they're all about. Start with a lesson with one coach, practice what they suggested for a week, then try the other coach for the next lesson, and practice what they suggested for the next week. After that I think it should be evident which one is better for you. If not, repeat the process a bit.

It is better to figure out with certainly what coach you want to train with from the get go rather than take a chance on a poor one.

Also don't view that one (or more) lesson(s) with the other teacher during your decision period as a waste of money. It is likely that you will continue to remember and implement a few things you learned from them as you train regularly with the other coach. It's good to bounce around quickly in the beginning just while you are looking for a good coach just to find one quickly and not waste your money trying out someone long term who ultimately won't teach you what you really want. But then when you find a good one, it's very important to settle in long term and commit, take regular lessons with them exclusively for a few months at least. ESPECIALLY if you are a beginner.

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Life is a gamble. A new member of ours is recognized american opera star Debra Lynn, with an illustrious career, with a long residency in her favored state of Hawaii. She has a college degree, is a published author and also a recognized teacher of singing. So, she has both creds working for her.

So, one teacher has bona fides, academic creds. And the other has "experience." What kind of experience? And is it better than the one who has academic creds? And why?

I studied Tae Kwon Do and Aiki Jujutsu from Bryan Robbins at SMU in Dallas. Technically, he was the swim coach and he was once a US olympic swim coach. Does that help his ability to teach Tae Kwon Do and Aiki Jujutsu? He was a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, a black belt of several degrees in Aikido, and several degrees in Aiki-jujutsu, a hybrid of Aikido and Jujutsu. In the end, what was important was that I learned some valuable things, as much from classmates as I learned from his direct instruction.

Same with singing, to an extent. It sounds like either teacher is going to be good but you might have to make a choice, at first. And you don't want the responsibility. You want us to say "one, or the other." I can't help much but I can say, go with the teacher who's descriptions are easiest for you to understand.

Does having experience make a better teacher? What if you were taught by the lady that sang for 4 Non Blondes? She was consistently flat. But she had "experience."

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1 - They need to sing, and they need to be good at it.

2 - Check the students and see if they achieve quality on their singing. Not if their "happy", quality.

3 - Their formation, check who were their teachers, not the certificates but who actually trained them.

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