Some random thoughts - collected over the years

- What to look for in a singing teacher, the pitfalls.
- How you should approach the experience
- How I approach teaching

People often write to me asking questions about what I do and how I do it. This often leads to a discussion about how you go about choosing a good singing teacher -  the right teacher for YOU! Some collected extracts from various responses I have written over the years:

......Many people who work in the singing teaching "industry" may be very practiced singers, but may not be trained at all in how to teach, -- quite a different skill indeed! We all know that someone may practice something very well, but it doesn't mean they can teach it!

......If you are looking for a teacher, you need to be very aware of what your needs are.
For instance, some teachers are very interested in teaching a particular technique or approach to singing. Example: a teacher who specialises in classical or operatic music, may not be able to help you much when it comes to pop songs. A teacher who really knows pop music well, may not be able to offer you much assistance if you're want to sing songs from musicals.

......If you sense that you will need a lot of help learning the notes of songs, recordings that you can take home are the most efficient way of doing this. You don't want to be wasting expensive time in class while the teacher plays the notes over and over again for you!! If you think you'll need this help, make sure your teacher can do that for you. I have experience in teaching a great variety of vocal styles from classical repertoire and opera through to Musictheatre, pop and folk music. And of course, because I am a experienced and fully trained piano accompanist I can make high-quality recordings for you. I also have the necessary IT skills for editing and processing electronic backing tracks to suit you.

........I have often had students from other teachers coming to me to do some work on their voices, and I discover that even though they have been working with someone for some time, they don't have recordings of the songs to help them learn them. They don't actually know the basic notes of the songs!

....Many teachers who don't have the necessary skills to make practice recordings, will arrange for someone who DOES have those skills to make the recordings for their students. This is a good alternative, but probably not the best option compared to someone who can do the lot for you!

.....If the teacher does make practice recordings for you, make sure they are of high quality.   (Not just an iPhone sitting on top of the piano, with the cat meowing and a clock ticking in the background!) They need to be customised to your key and style. Not just existing recordings that they have found somewhere - A lot of singing teachers who can't play the piano do this. They use karaoke CDs that they have bought elsewhere, all very nice unless they don't suit the key and the style you wish to sing in! Do not waste time and money working someone who cannot do that for you OR is unable to arrange for someone else to make recordings for you!.

......In summary, you can't really learn to sing properly, if you're not sure what notes you are supposed to be singing!

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