Episode 12

Episode 12

How to Choose the Right Voice Coach

September is back to school month for so many, and that might mean getting yourself a new voice coach or singing teacher?
In this episode we have a look at my “7 Simple Steps to Choosing the Right Voice Coach”

1. Be clear about what YOUR goals, budget and commitment are.

2. Ask for referrals from your community. Who is already doing what you want to do?

3. Check their experience & relevant training. Is this teacher skilled in the area you need help with?

4. Do they fully understand vocal function and can they help you prevent injury, or recover from a current or previous injury?

5. If you’re looking for singing lessons for a younger singer, are they not only fun, kind and skilled, but do they offer performance opportunities?

6. Do they offer a short free meeting, call or a discounted first lesson? Do they ask you questions about your goals, vocal health and vocal history?

7. Do they listen and SEE you? It’s so important to have a good ‘feeling’, trust your instincts.

Thank you for listening! ❤️

Messy Transcript

Hello. And welcome back this week. We have episode 12, how to choose a voice coach or singing teacher. I don’t know about you, but September always feels like back to school, months to me, um, in England, we would go back to school in that first week of September. And it would mean, uh, brand new exercise books.

When I got to the classroom, which I loved to sniff, uh, new pencils and, uh, You know, I would be exciting, maybe new socks with days of the week down the sides. oh yeah. So the visions of Julia standing at the school bus stop. Yeah. It’s all a bit much really say let’s not go there, but let’s think back to school often, uh, is the time when we feel invigorated to start something fresh again.

And I know that lots of people are out there looking for singing teachers or voice coaches for themselves or their kids or for their voice acting career. So the things I’m gonna talk about today is how to choose the right voice coach or singing teacher for you. Now, if you’re a voice actor, obviously you need to really think about what is it that you need to learn right now.

Like take it in baby steps, make sure that you get the groundwork laid first. There’s such a flurry of people offering voice, acting, coaching out there on the internet right now. Be very wary. Only work with people that have come recommended to you by somebody that you trust and understand that it’s gonna be less helpful for you to take really advanced level classes right out of the gate than it is for you to build up your skills as you go along.

So there are some really reputable places out there, uh, to get training. I’m not gonna name any. Because, you know, it’s a big wide world out there, but if you wanna DM me, I’m happy to share some of my, uh, at least my personal favorites. Uh, I’m on Instagram at Vox chops, uh, and on Facebook at Julia Norton’s voice box.

So, or follow me anyway, shoot me a message. Tell me you’re listening to the podcast. I’d love to hear from you, but if you have questions about, uh, voiceover coaching, let me know. There are some people who are much more geared towards training kids than others. Uh, obviously you need to look into the area that you are trying to stretch into, whether it’s promo animation, narration, eLearning, or the business side of voiceover, uh, it’s a massive industry.

And, uh, there are lots of people with lots of skills that they’re ready to share with you. So, uh, let me know, and I will see if I can point you in the direction of somebody helpful, um, for singers. Understanding that a lot of voiceover actors are also singers, uh, and singers are also voice actors. Uh, I’m covering both, uh, sides of the camp today with singers.

Uh, be really clear about what your goals are as well. Are you wanting to get better in, um, a specific area of singing or is it, um, that you have an injury you’re trying to rehab from, or are you wanting to work on your mix range or get better at sing an Italian, you know, like really know, be honest about what’s your goal, just because your friend has an excellent voice teacher doesn’t mean they’re gonna be perfect for.

Because maybe your friend is a classical singer and you are looking for a more musical theater style approach or rock or rap or something like that. So, uh, be specific about what your goals are. The, the thing about when COVID hit and all of us voice coaches had to go online for a while. Uh, and many of us stayed there.

Um, how was a really steep learning curve? I had been resisting teaching. Online for 20 years, um, feeling like I really needed to be in the room with somebody to give them the goodness being forced into doing that was actually a real wake up call for me and helped me understand that you can actually give people a lot of goodness.

Um, online. It takes a bit more focus for everybody to be really present in that situation. And, um, But it means that I teach internationally. Now I teach people all over the UK, Canada, and all over the states, as long as the time zone is fairly workable and I can be pretty flexible for my, um, international peeps.

Um, that’s a great thing. As you have all kinds of coaches now at your disposal who are just there, ready to coach. So, um, if you’re open to online coaching, then. The world is your lobster. You know, here are my seven simple steps to help you choose the right voice coach or singing teacher. And, and this could apply for voice acting too.

Number one, be clear about what your goals, budget, and commitment are. Uh, if you have a bit less in the budget, you might look for more newly qualified teachers or coaches. Um, There are some exit. We all start somewhere, right. Everybody starts somewhere and just do your homework and, and read their testimonials and, and you know, all, all that good stuff.

It may be that you can work with somebody who is a little bit lower budget. It may take you longer to get to your goal. Um, if you’re not in a hurry, that’s okay. Just, um, you know, be, be wary sometimes, uh, coaches with more experience, can. Really work on a much larger scale with you and hone in on the issues much faster.

So one be clear about what your goals, budgets, and commitment are no going in. Do you want a weekly lesson or, or twice a month, or are you ready for a six month full on coaching commitment? What, what is it you’re looking for? Because that will really help you weed out, which, uh, coaches or singing teachers might be right for.

Number two, ask for referrals from your community who who’s already doing, what you want to do, and where did they learn to do that? Um, and as I said before, if they’re singing classical and you wanna do musical theater, then you’re gonna need a different, uh, voice coach, usually number three, check their experience and relevant training.

If you want to learn how to sing in a classical style, it’s gonna be very important that you work with somebody who’s gone through that conservatory type of experience themselves. They can understand what you’re gonna be up against. Same. If you are wanting to really branch out and hit the musical theater scene, um, it’s gonna be helpful for you to, to work with somebody who has experience of sustaining seven shows a week or something like that, you know?

Pick a voice coach. Who’s gonna be right for you if you, um, Want to, uh, sing jazz or folk or, uh, rock and pop and all these things. Then you are probably looking for a, uh, contemporary type voice teacher, somebody who knows how to teach you to work with getting mixed register, working across the bridge with fluidity and ease.

Um, and then if you are looking for, um, More of an emotional approach to singing. Like you feel like you have, you know, internal issues that are holding you back more kind of psychological, then, then work with somebody who has that training. Right. It’s really important to find the person who is trained in the area that you are looking to sing in, or that can help you with a certain specific issue.

Number four, do they fully understand vocal function? And can they help you prevent injury or can they help you recover from an injury you’ve had in the past or bad habits you’ve had? So if you have persistent wholeness or what have you, are they going to be able to help you build a team, refer you to the right T or laryngologist and help you retrain so that you don’t get injured?

Right. Uh, it’s really, really important that your voice coach knows how the voice works and how to prevent injury. I can’t overstate that enough. Number five, if you are looking for a voice teacher or singing teacher for your, uh, child, then. Make sure you pick somebody who’s not only, uh, super experienced working with kids.

Um, but that they also offer some kind of recital situation. Uh, I worked with kids for years and, uh, the biggest growth opportunity for them and the thing that they love the most. Was having, uh, small recitals, uh, twice a year, where everybody came together with the families and they supported each other.

And they really built confidence, uh, standing in front of each other and singing and singing the group songs and, and doing little bits and, and everybody loved it was amazingly fun. And I cried all the way through all the time. Uh, I couldn’t, I couldn’t have been more proud or more touched by their, uh, efforts, but it’s so, so good for them to build confidence.

Uh, really just having your kids take singing lessons is such a gift for them to start with. Um, So, yes, if you are looking for a child, make sure they have a recital component in some way. I know with COVID, everything got a bit thrown on top of its head and we had to move to zoom recitals and things like that, which were less fun.

But, uh, performing is a great way to build that muscle. Okay. Number six. Um, so say you have found somebody. Well, it would be really great. Actually, if you found three, somebody, I always suggest to people like find three people that you think could be a really good fit. Do they offer you some kind of discounted first lesson or a free 15 minute meeting, something like that so that you can get an idea of their flavor.

Right. It’s, it’s so important to work with somebody, especially around the voice that you can trust and that you feel held by and that you feel you can be vulnerable in front of. I think the most important thing for me is to be seen. And to see. So if I feel like I can really hold my student, my client so that they can fully go through whatever experience it is, they need to have, maybe we’re working with a persistent issue.

Technically I. And it starts to transpire that that’s an emotional issue underneath that we need to get rid of. Like, I, I really need to feel like I have that flexibility to go from technical work to the emotional work and then back into the creative so that we can just keep moving forward so that we can uncover transform and release.

Right. That’s the, that’s the kind of process for me. Um, if you. Enjoy that person, when you have that little meeting move on, there’s, there’s plenty more in the sea, right. Or lobsters or whatever it was I said earlier. Um, and number seven, when you are in that meeting, do they listen? Do they, do they see you.

Are they asking you pertinent questions about your vocal history, any injuries about your goals and dreams and fears. Right. Then, you know, you’ve got somebody who’s really prepared to go deep with you on the work, and isn’t just gonna charge you a fortune for 30 minutes and, uh, you know, you’re not gonna get anywhere.

So there we have at my friends, uh, seven simple steps to help you choose the right voice coach. Be that a singing teacher or, um, a voice acting coach. We’re just gonna go through those one more time, very quickly. Uh, number one, be clear about what your goals, budget, and commitment are. Know what your goals are.

Number two, ask for referrals from your community. Who’s already doing what you want to. Who’s already doing that. And, um, number three, check their experience in relevant training. Don’t go to them for animation, uh, uh, animation coaching. If they’ve never been in an animated series. Right. That would be crazy.

Uh, don’t go to a, uh, classical teacher for help with your rock singing, you know, uh, number four, um, make sure they know about vocal function. This is essential for singing teachers. It’s really, uh, helpful for voiceover. Uh, acting coaches too. Although there are many of us in that area who do that as a specific track.

So you have somebody who teaches promo, somebody who teaches animation or somebody else teaches commercial. And then people like me that actually teach vocal health and how to do vocal efforts and, um, long form narration without vocal injury and how to bounce back faster. So that’s kind of like a category of voiceover coaching, uh, number five.

If you’re looking for singing lessons for kids, make sure that they offer, uh, recitals as well. And if you are looking for voiceover acting for kids, make sure they’re really experienced in that area. Uh, what you really want from somebody who’s working with, uh, younger actors and singers is to make sure that they feel totally safe and supported and that there’s no kind of judgey, uh, criticism going.

Uh, number six, do they offer a short, free meeting or a discounted first lesson? Because you need to, uh, be able to get their vibe and find out what questions they’re gonna ask you. Uh, number seven. Yes. Number seven. Do they actually seem to be listening to you or are they glancing at their phone? Or their watch or anything else that’s, I’ve actually seen so many times and it’s really uncomfortable.

So make sure do they listen to you and do they really see you right. Metaphorically and really, uh, is the tech good? Right? Is the booking system, are the booking set up, uh, easy for you to use and, um, Do they have clear cancellation policies in place? Because if, if you’re working with somebody who knows how to set their own boundaries, that’s actually gonna be better for you.

Right? So those are my seven simple steps to help you choose the right voice coach or singing teacher. Please reach out and let me know what you thought of this episode. If it was helpful or not. You’ll find me at Vox chops on Instagram. Or at Julia Norton’s voice box on Facebook, I would love to see there.

And, uh, again, please rate and review this podcast. It’s buried very deeply in the weeds right now. So, uh, it’s you first few listeners who are going to be helping me haul this up the hill. Remember the power is in your hands. When you’re choosing a teacher, find somebody who feels really good who’s within your budget and who can take you where you want to.

Okay, have a great week. And I see you next week. Bye.