Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Dances With Coaches pt 2: Choosing A Coach

Lets take a moment to talk about how to choose the voice coach thats right for you shall we?
A lot of times we hear that a coach has done wonders for someone's voice, or has an excellent reputation and so we eagerly sign up for sessions with that coach hoping that miracles will occur for us, sometimes without really looking into how the coach works or what their actual experience is.
For example classical coaches often have no experience with other forms of music or voice production and sometimes actively discourage ways of producing sound that are outside the specifics of classical technique. This is not necessarily a bad thing, especially if you are looking to work in classical music of course, HOWEVER, sometimes a singer is working with a classical coach from a very early age and later discovers an interest in pop songwriting or musical theatre and is actively discouraged from "ruining their voices" with other styles. Yes. Happens ALL the time.
Likewise, a coach who works as a Musical Theatre coach will understand how to prepare us for auditions, support our working up repertoire and a specific style of performance skills, but could be ill- suited to helping us work with jazz or pop material.

Jazz and Pop coaches tend to be attractive and powerful personalities,"self taught" in some instances, and although potentially very useful in the short run for helping us understand ourselves as artists, sometimes their lack of technical understanding shows up in our lack of foundation as we move out into our careers and stumble on our own bad habits.
Not all coaches have YOUR best interests at heart!

Many coaches may have a decent skill set but are in fact frustrated singers, demanding of your respect and obedience without offering a respectful and supportive environment for you to grow in. You'll know it because you will feel like you are never "good enough", and you're working to "please the teacher" rather than understanding the technique for yourself and growing into a "self coaching" professional singer!

SO…Not all coaches are good for all things. I always suggest a singer INTERVIEW THE POTENTIAL COACH FIRST in person or on the phone. Most pro coaches will have a short "meet and greet" moment with a perspective client. Take advantage of that and ask as many questions as you can about their background and experience, client base and working methods!

A quick interview will help you determine if the relationship will feel good to you and allow you to be supported while you grow!
Find out how they trained, who they coach, how they work and what their expectations are before diving in and becoming either financially or emotionally committed!

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