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Singing Teacher vs Vocal Coach

Yo you want to learn to sing but are confused by who you should go to? Singing teacher or vocal coach? What do all of these titles mean? Which should you choose?  

Today I am going to be helping you to figure out what type coach to go to and what each of these mean. What is the difference between a singing teacher and a vocal coach. 

So, a singing teacher is someone who you will go to for vocal technique, generally this is someone who has a good understanding of vocal technique and pedagogy to help you with your voice struggles and goals. 

For example: you would like to develop your head voice register, so you would go to a singing teacher so you can learn slowly and surely how you can develop that register. They will be able to provide you with all of the exercises and tips to get you to your goal. Traditionally singing teachers weren’t always great pianists, with many of them having a pianist that they would work with for classes. This is quite different today though, so I’ll come back to that in a bit.  

A singing teacher should also have specific styles or genres that they specialise in. For example, I am a musical theatre, pop and clean rock teacher. Mainly because those 3 styles have very similar voice qualities that they use. Although I am classically trained, I do not teach opera or operetta at a professional level, because that isn’t my specialty. There are plenty of other styles I don’t teach either but the list is long. I am a specialist in the styles I do teach though.  

Just be careful when a singing teacher says they teach all styles and genres. It obviously depends on your level, but no one is able to have a good grasp on all the aspects needed to teach for all styles of music.  

Then we come to the vocal coach, which is floating about a lot in the world of singing at the moment.  

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Traditionally a vocal coach was someone you went to before an audition or to prepare for a performance. A vocal coach looks at the whole performance and gives you short quick tips to make improvements. Vocal coaches also traditionally played the piano better than singing teachers, and thus you were able to run through songs with them. A vocal coach will also have a speciality or two, so be sure to check out what that is. You want to make sure they have a grasp of the genre you are trying to work on. 

What has happened is over the years vocal coach and singing teacher have started to be used synonymously with one another. Basically they now just mean the same thing.  

It is really now up to you to ask if that coach or teacher works technically or not, and what their idea of the title means.  

There is also a 3rd part of the mix and that is a repertoire coach. This type of coach is usually more for Musical Theatre or Opera. It is a specialist who works solely with finding great repertoire for your voice, and helping you learn it. They don’t usually have anything to do with your technique, and I know plenty who won’t mention anything. They are purely to coach you on the rep and play the accompaniment for you. I always go and see a rep coach once a year for new song ideas and to sing through old rep with a live pianist.  

So there you have it, vocal coach and singing teacher… well they mean the same thing. Just be sure to ask what they specialise in because that is the most important when choosing any trainer.  

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