What To Look For in a Vocal Coach: 10 Questions To Ask To Find the Right Instructor for You

What To Look For in a Vocal Coach: 10 Questions To Ask To Find the Right Instructor for You

what to look for in a vocal coach

Singing is your passion, and you want to do it better. But how?

Is it necessary to have a voice teacher to improve, or are there things you can do yourself?  

And if hiring a voice coach is the best way to move your singing to the next level, how do you know what to look for in a vocal coach?

Those are all great questions, and we’ve got answers. 

Keep reading to learn why hiring a vocal coach is recommended and what to look for in your voice teacher.

Table of Contents

look for in a vocal coach

Is It Worth Getting a Vocal Coach?

You have an amazing voice and lots of performance experience, but you’re wondering if vocal coaching might still be beneficial.

Yes! Vocal coaches can help make your voice the best it can be.

Whether you’re a talented singer or a beginner, vocal coaches have the education and experience necessary to help you master vocal technique and improve your singing whether you’re interested in:

  • Theater
  • Vocal performance
  • Recording
  • Choir; or
  • Singing for pleasure

Finding a reputable coach is the first step in achieving your singing goals.

Why Is It Important To Find a Reputable Vocal Coach?

Vocal coaches do so much more than teach you how to have a pleasant singing voice. 

Working with a reputable vocal coach also comes with many benefits. 

Vocal coaches:

  • Teach proper technique – This is the most important foundation a singer can have. Voice teachers can teach and demonstrate proper technique to help get singers off to a promising start. Vocal technique includes posture, breathing, diction, support, control, and a host of other aspects.
  • Point out strengths and weaknesses – Along with technique, vocal coaches can help students see where they are weak and help them make corrections. At the same time, vocal coaches can praise their strengths to bolster confidence and promote success.
  • Provide performance instruction – Most singers want to perform eventually. Vocal coaches can help singers perform well by instructing on movement, facial expressions, and posture so they can expressively convey the message of their music to the audience.
  • Teach about vocal health – As a singer, your voice is your instrument, so keeping it healthy is vital. Vocal coaches encourage singers to keep their voices healthy by eating a healthy diet, warming up their voices correctly, and maintaining vocal control in other environments (cheering at games, concerts, etc.).
in a vocal coach

10 Things To Look For in a Vocal Coach

When looking for a vocal coach, you might think that talent is a vital quality in a coach. Even if a vocal coach has loads of talent, that may not make them a good instructor.

So, what should you look for in a vocal instructor? We’re glad you asked.

We’ve compiled a list of what to look for in a vocal coach that will help you achieve your goals.

#1: Do They Have a Degree?

Lots of people can say they can teach music, but you want to know that your vocal coach has a degree or has studied voice professionally. 

The pedagogical knowledge that comes with an earned music degree is essential to teach students proper technique and execution. 

Having studied professionally, vocal coaches not only have the intellectual knowledge to pass on to their students, but they also will have plenty of performance experience that will enable them to demonstrate and model for their students.

#2: Are Their Musical Skills Evident?

Just as you wouldn’t hire an out-of-shape personal trainer, you also wouldn’t hire a vocal coach with no talent.

Vocal coaches who have received training themselves give credence to their abilities and coaching techniques.

In vocal coaching, an explanation can only go so far. For students to be able to put the instruction into practice, the teacher needs to demonstrate the concepts they are explaining — and that’s easily done by a coach who has experience and is proficient in their vocal skills.

How can you know if a vocal teacher has this kind of skill? Do some research, read the teacher’s bio, and see if you can find some recordings of them performing. 

Another way to get to know the coach’s skills is to start lessons on a trial basis. When considering what to look for in a vocal coach, Northwest School of Music offers a free trial lesson. This gives you a chance to get to know the instructor and their style of teaching to decide if you will be a good fit for each other. 

Register for a voice lesson today to get started.

vocal coach

#3: Do You Connect?

Finding a connection with your voice instructor is key to success and enjoyment. When your personalities jell, you and your instructor can share a level of trust that might be lacking when your personalities clash.

For a beginner, a voice lesson can be intimidating. 

Finding a teacher that has the perfect mix of encouragement, warmth, and challenge will help put the student at ease while at the same time pushing them to achieve their goals. 

How do you know if you’ll connect? Make a list of the things that are important to you in your voice instruction and look for a teacher with the same values. 

In voice instruction, you may value:

  • Expression
  • Goals
  • Communication; and
  • Performance opportunities

Look for an instructor who prioritizes those same goals and listens to your desires and dreams. The ideal coach will take time to get to know you as a person and design their lessons in keeping with what they know is important to you.

#4: Are They Trained in the Musical Genre You Want To Learn?

One of the best things about vocal training is that there are so many genres to choose from, like:

  • Classical
  • Jazz
  • Pop
  • Broadway/Theater
  • Rock
  • Country
  • Sacred
  • And more

If you are interested in a particular style of music, you’ll want to find an instructor with training and experience in that genre.

Or, if you’d like to be able to sing several different styles, look for a vocal coach who has experience in several different areas. 

Not sure what you’re interested in? 

It might be a good idea to start with some classical training as a foundation for all sorts of other genres. Classical music has been around for nearly a thousand years. And with a strong classical foundation, a singer ought to easily be able to build their repertoire from there and move into other areas like jazz or pop.

#5: Do They Individualize Their Lessons?

Look for a vocal coach who doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all approach. 

Each student is different and has their own unique:

  • Voice
  • Style; and
  • Learning preference

Finding a teacher who individualizes their lessons based on those factors will be key to achieving what you want from your lessons.

Exceptional vocal coaches will be able to recognize each student’s strengths, weaknesses, and challenges and design their lessons with exercises aimed at addressing those areas. 

What works for one student may not work for another. Look for a teacher offering a variety of teaching techniques and examples and who will work to find the right mix of instruction techniques that both challenge and encourage you.

#6: Are They Realistic? 

A voice teacher who’s too intense or one who’s too flattering can leave the vocal student in a tough place — either discouraged or unrealistically confident.

Instead, a great vocal coach will be realistic with their students and their improvements and areas of growth. 

Look for a vocal instructor who will kindly tell it like it is, one who will:

  • Praise your successes
  • Point out areas of needed improvement; and
  • Give practical and realistic instruction for growth at your current level

At Northwest School of Music, we strive to put our students’ voices first. We want our students to grow in their vocal skills and are realistic in our instruction to help our students succeed. 

When students work on a concept and can say, “I finally did it!” — both the student and the instructor can celebrate.

#7: Do They Celebrate Student Achievements?

At Northwest School of Music, we believe in celebrating successes and have designed our Musical Ladder program to reward students when they reach their goals. 

Our students can earn …

  • Wristband bracelets
  • Practice buddies
  • Trophies; and
  • Certificates

… for passing music tests designed around their personal goals and lesson materials.

These special rewards encourage students to practice and give everyone — students, parents, and teachers — a reason to celebrate. You’ll only find the Musical Ladder at Northwest School of Music. See what the excitement is all about when you register for your first lesson.

vocal coach

#8: Can They Provide References?

References are one of the best ways to learn if a vocal coach will be a good fit for you or your child. Ask prospective vocal coaches for references and ask their current or previous clients about their experiences.

Ask them if the instructor …

  • Demonstrates their skill in their lessons
  • Is realistic and encouraging
  • Individualizes their lessons; and
  • Listens to them and their goals

… along with any other questions or details you’d like to know about the instructor and how they execute their lessons.

#9: Are They Accessible Outside of Lessons?

You had a great lesson and learned a new technique. You can’t wait to practice the new skill at home, but when you begin to practice, you can’t remember exactly how your instructor explained it. If only you could get some clarification before your next lesson the following week.

An added perk that a great vocal coach will provide is a way to contact them outside of the scheduled weekly lesson. When looking for a voice coach, ask them if they provide a way for students to reach out for feedback outside of regular lesson times.

#10: Do They Teach Vocal Health?

Vocal health is of vital importance. You don’t want to damage your vocal cords by singing using bad techniques or coaching. Damage can occur when students try to sing too loud or strain too much.

A good vocal coach can demonstrate proper technique and will be able to recognize when students are unintentionally doing things that are unhealthy for their voice. 

Other things that are important for vocal health include:

  • Properly warming up the voice
  • Maintaining good singing posture
  • Maintaining proper breath support
  • Staying hydrated
  • And more

Remember, your voice is your instrument. Keeping it healthy and in good shape means you’ll be able to keep singing and performing without discomfort and undue damage. At Northwest School of Music, our priority is to teach our students to sing in the healthiest way possible. 

what to look for in a vocal coach

What Sets Vocal Coaching at Northwest School of Music Apart?

Since all of our voice instructors were trained by the same person, we are all in agreement when it comes to how to teach voice. We care about our students and want them to flourish in their singing and reach their goals while keeping their voices as healthy as possible.

Our Northwest School of Music instructors are also trained in classical, jazz, pop, and musical theater, so you’ll find a teacher who is equipped and able to teach whatever style of music you choose.

And we are the only music school in Oregon and the surrounding area that offers the Musical Ladder program that encourages and rewards students for achievement.

Northwest School of Music: Receive Reputable Vocal Training With the Best Vocal Coaches in Oregon

Northwest School of Music delivers on all ten of the things to look for in a vocal coach. 

With reputable instructors who have an array of experience, you’re sure to find an instructor that will listen to your goals and aid you in being the best singer and performer you can be.

And if you’re interested in other types of music lessons, we offer a variety of lessons, including:

  • Kinder lessons
  • Piano lessons
  • Guitar lessons
  • Ukulele lessons
  • Cello lessons
  • Violin lessons
  • And more

It’s easy to get started with online registration and get your first lesson free.

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what to look for in a vocal coach
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Northwest School Of Music, 387 Mission Street SE, Salem, Oregon 97302, USA

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Northwest School Of Music, 387 Mission Street SE, Salem, Oregon 97302, USA​
503-999-4343​ | office@nwschoolofmusic.com​

Follow Us

Northwest School Of Music, 387 Mission Street SE, Salem, Oregon 97302, USA​
503-999-4343​ | office@nwschoolofmusic.com​

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