As a singer, you’re probably already aware of how many facets there are to learning how to give an effective performance. You’ve got to have reliable vocal technique to trust that your voice will always do what you intend, even under pressure. You’ve got to work on your stage presence and performance skills. You’ve got to use stylistic effects appropriate to the genre (or have good language diction skills, in the case of classical singing). You’ve got to be able to communicate with other musicians, and/or have some degree of musical literacy and vocabulary. You’ve got to have great rhythm skills (and the ability to serve as band leader, in the case of pop, rock and jazz singers). And the list goes on!
With all these elements to consider, the terminology can get confusing. You’ve probably encountered phrases like “voice teacher” and “vocal coach” in your research, but are you clear on the differences? Let’s break it down:
- Voice Teacher: Traditionally, voice teachers are people trained in voice technique, and nowadays, also in some voice science. This means they are strong technicians who can help you engineer the way your voice works to best meet your needs. Most commonly, voice teachers hold academic degrees (often in “Voice Performance”), which tends to mean they come from a classical singing background (as of 2021, there are only two universities in the US who offer a degree program in Voice which is not solely classically based). If your interest is in pop/rock or other contemporary styles, look for a voice teacher who has also had some training in pedagogy specifically for “CCM”, or “contemporary and commercial music”. A classical foundation can certainly help a pop/rock singer, but there are some stylistic differences your teacher should be aware of. Most instructors who label themselves “Voice Teacher” also do some vocal coaching, but not all. This is a good question to ask before you begin study!
- Vocal Coaching: Vocal Coaching is the second layer to voice lessons. Lessons lay the foundation, and coaching adds the polish. In the traditional model, both parts are necessary (which is why some teachers also act as coaches; fewer coaches also act as teachers). When working with a Vocal Coach, you will receive feedback and guidance related to style, interpretation, and performance (depending on the coach, also maybe some music-theory re-working of songs you’ve written, etc). Coaches won’t necessarily help you with technical skills, although in CCM (“contemporary and commercial music”), the lines are blurring and some coaches do provide excellent technical training. Again, asking questions about their background is strongly encouraged so that you know what you can fairly expect.
All teachers at Cardon Studios have been vetted to ensure they have the skills necessary to help you succeed. Although voice lessons are the core of our offering, we put a strong emphasis on performing as well, so elements of coaching are sure to be part of your lessons! Join us for our next live event to see what we mean. Wherever you are on your journey, we’ve designed our studio to meet you where you are. Check out our membership packages to learn more.
Ready to get to work? Take a Vocal Coaching video exchange for a spin — On the House! We’d love to hear from you.