Questions To Ask A Singing Teacher
We often get requests for the types of questions to ask both yourself and a potential teacher when looking for someone suitable to train your voice so here goes!
There is an article on finding teachers here in the Articles section that you may wish to read first but essentially what counts in a potential teacher are the following:
Does the teacher have a qualification with a certificate (most will have these displayed on their studio wall and their qualification can be checked with the school, university or accrediting authority for verification). Most teachers with qualifications state them on their listing at the Singing Teachers Worldwide Directory along with their related experience in the field.
A good teacher does not require a qualification however! There are both good and bad teachers, some are qualified, some are not. Those without qualifications should have a background in performance i.e., they will have appeared on stage or have a wealth of experience in the field of their choice (opera, pop, musical theatre) with some form of accreditation or checkable background i.e., CD recordings, signed to labels, list of shows they have appeared in, testimonials from satisfied clients who you may contact for their opinion.
Of course there are good teachers who do not perform just as there are bad ones who do so there are no easy answers!
The difference between a good teacher and a bad one is the ability to teach healthy techniques and communicate them well to their clients. He/She should have a good understanding of the vocal mechanism and be able to answer any queries the student has regarding the exercises and techniques they are asked to do. A good teacher should have no problems with providing you with references for previous or existing students and you will find the Singing Teachers Worldwide Directory includes reviews that are submitted by the teachers students.
It is not always an easy process because part of the teaching process is dependent on the character of both the teacher and the student. Whilst the teacher may well be perfectly competent and eminently qualified, if the two personalities clash then no matter how good the teacher is, the student will fail to learn! The same applies for the student… who must be prepared to take criticism in the manner in which it is given and work on improving at home as well as in the lesson.
The character of any potential teacher, regardless of technical or academical qualifications is an important consideration for any parent. Leaving your child can be a worry, especially when they may be young and impressionable and it is YOUR responsibility to ensure that they are in safe hands. All reputable teachers of young children in the UK SHOULD hold a Disclosure and Barring Service Certificate which has replaced the CRB certificate and may be checked prior to engagement, however, we also advise reading the government guidelines and browsing the ban list to ensure you are placing your child in reputable hands! Other countries may or may not provide this service, so please check with relevant authorities and do some research prior to engaging a teacher.
Ideally, it would be preferable to search for a selection of suitable teachers and go for an evaluation lesson so that you can choose which one you feel comfortable with. Alternatively, considered trying one of the many group workshops, masterclasses or classes that are often cheaper and allow you to see how you get on.
Regarding value for money.. this is a relative thing and prices can vary considerably. The most expensive is not always the best but a busy reasonably priced teacher must be pretty good to have a studio that is constantly booked and with students that are progressing.
So… the main questions to ask:
1. Do you have any teaching qualifications that are checkable.
2. Do you have a Disclosure and Barring Service Certificate (DBS) or equivalent to work with children?
3. Can you provide references from satisfied clients?
4. Do you have actual stage or recording experience?
5. Do you provide evaluation lessons and/or allow potential clients to watch a lesson/class prior to paying for a full lesson?
You may think of other questions to ask in your initial inquiry but if the teacher seems reluctant to answer the basic queries or you are unable to find anyone who has previously used their services do not be afraid to look elsewhere!