Male vocalist is encouraged by his vocal coach during a performance.

Why You Need a Voice Coach

Posted on Posted in Voice and Singing

Why You Need a Voice Coach

A lot of young (and older) people who have a genuine interest in singing will take many different steps to fulfill their desires and reach their goals. The two most common and practical methods which people choose to better their vocal talents are taking lessons and practising. Combining these two activities is integral to improving your craft. Lessons with a voice coach, more importantly, are the perfect place to start; without them, it is a hard and often unhealthy journey to achieve your goals.

Male vocalist is encouraged by his vocal coach during a performance.

Singing in the Shower

It is enough for some people to practise in the shower. The notorious shower-singer is a common occurrence, and we all have that one friend that boasts of their fantastic vocal/bathing escapades… Whilst it is true that the acoustics of a bathroom create a great environment for your voice, not much else can be gained from consistently belting Katy Perry’s “Firework” every night (apart from maybe annoying your neighbours). Furthermore, some singers often fall under the impression that watching various YouTube videos and online presentations about the voice and singing will guarantee improvement and are the free equivalent of professional lessons with a voice coach. In their own right, these online videos are often quite informative, but they are not nearly enough for keen vocalists to truly engage with their voice physically, emotionally and mentally.

Your First Lesson

Let’s talk about lessons. At first, it can be scary to have your first real lesson! I know that I was petrified when I first started out with my coach; don’t stress too much – we all have to start somewhere! Finding a voice coach that you connect with can be hard, but once you do, you’ll begin to feel comfortable after a few lessons. In these first few lessons you are not only discovering how the lessons will work, but your voice coach is also learning what is going to work best for your voice. They will then cater the lessons to ensure you gain maximum improvement.

It Won’t Happen Overnight

Don’t worry if you don’t immediately become a pop sensation overnight, or even after a year of lessons. That’s not how lessons work: nothing happens overnight! Your voice coach will however help you achieve your goals at your own pace in a safe environment. A video presenter, on the contrary, is not physically with you, and has only a script to work from. They can only offer so much, and it is all basically in the form of vocal knowledge.

A voice coach is present, can hear you, can talk to you about what feels right and wrong, can encourage you, can stop and repeat things, can offer immediate advice and tips and is a person who you can build a bond with. This is simply not accessible from an online source. The goal of the voice coach in a lesson is ensuring that their clients are content, having fun, learning and improving; a YouTube video simply wants views and likes.

More Than ‘Just’ Singing

Lessons are designed to not only allow you to improve vocally, but also in many other aspects of your life. A big part of singing is applying your art in a performance context, and it is the joint responsibility of you and your voice coach to make sure that you are ready vocally, physically and mentally. A good voice coach will have a substantial amount of performance experience, and will be well acquainted with all the lead-up and post-performance issues; they will know how to make you feel confident in your voice, in your ability to entertain a crowd and in your self-presentation.

As your vocal confidence progresses, inevitably so too does your confidence in yourself, and you learn about who you are as a person. Engage your voice coach in a dialogue about how much they have discovered about themselves over the course of their vocal growth and performance experience. These invaluable aspects are extremely difficult to obtain from anywhere but professional lessons. The reason that so much development occurs in what may appear to just be a simple lesson? Passion. Your passion for music, and your teachers passion to tend to that passion can lead to great results.

Your Voice Will Grow and Change

Coming to terms with your ‘sound’ emotionally can take time for some people. You may not begin liking how your voice changes as you take lessons. But don’t give up! It’s possible for you and your voice coach to discuss repertoire that would suit you specifically, and styles that you like which cater to you. Without lessons, you are more likely to pick songs you like and aren’t incredibly difficult for you, and hence won’t let your voice reach its full potential. Or even worse, select music that is completely inappropriate for your voice and will have serious negative long-term implications. A voice coach can healthily let your voice expand its many elements, including range and control.

Understanding your limits in a safe environment is a key part of professional lessons, even for stars and performers with a wealth of experience. Carefully testing those limits, and overcoming a few of them with your voice coach’s guidance is exciting and extremely rewarding. It may be that this takes time – you may need to overcome many problems to reach a stage where you are happy with your voice and are ready to perform – but with patience, practise and regular lessons, the positive results are bound to show!

Get Prepared!

Finally, it is so important, especially for students who are aged 16 and up, to be prepared physically and mentally for lessons and performing. To put it bluntly, you will not always find every lesson easy; in fact, more often than not, you will leave your voice coach or come off stage feeling like you have just run a marathon. The physical stamina required to perform can take a lot out of you; the moving, the breathing, even holding a microphone can be surprisingly taxing. Making sure you eat a hearty breakfast before a lesson or performance, having a lot (and I mean A LOT) of water to lubricate your vocal chords and being well-rested and aware can help ensure you get a little extra from your lesson, and give you that extra energy boost for a performance.

The Mental Game

Mentally, the game is tougher. So many details will all flash through your head in a performance. Therefore, it is up to you and your voice coach in lessons to equip you with the skills to tackle these problems before they become too big and affect you negatively. After time and dedication and proper preparation, these problems will minimise in proportion, but it is important to always be mentally prepared for anything to happen; improvising is something that you will definitely have to do eventually! I know I have!

Hopefully, you now understand why it is necessary for anyone who wishes to improve their voice for any reason to take singing lessons. The improvements that occur in the multiple facets of your life through taking professional lessons are so incredible! For long-term or short-term or any-term development of your voice and passion, lessons with an experienced, open and exciting voice coach can let you explore your voice in new ways – ways which you may miss out on if you stick to bathroom singing and online resources!