Looking for Voice lessons? What to ask….
In the United States, there is no certification or licensure to teach singing. Anyone can hang out a shingle and promote themselves as a voice teacher. So the consumer has to wade through the many options and make a choice. Here are some guidelines.
Teacher qualifications –
Is the teacher a performer? On what level (local-regional-national-international)? Are you able to listen to recordings online of the teacher’s performances?
Does the teacher have degrees in vocal performance? Does the teacher have any additional certifications in particular vocal techniques (for example Somatic Singing). How long has the teacher been teaching?
Is the teacher a member of NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing)? This is the only professional organization available to voice teachers. It is not a guarantee of quality, but it is a sign of a professional attitude.
Take a trial lesson.
A trial lesson is recommended – you will see the teaching space, you will get acquainted with the teacher, and get a sense of compatibility.
Questions to ask at the trial lesson:
- What are the areas of strength and weakness of the student, and how would you address them?
- What songbooks/repertoire would you recommend for this student?
- If the student does not read music, will you teach them?
- What are the expectations for individual practice? How is the student going to practice on their own? Can they record their lessons?
- Who will play the piano for the lessons?
- Are there any performance opportunities?
If you are seeking lessons for a young teen or child:
- What special considerations do you feel there are for this age group?
- What repertoire or songbooks do you use for the youngest singers?
- How long each day should the student practice?
Are there written policies for attendance and payment? Will the teacher miss lessons due to their own performances, and will those be made up? Especially for beginners, regular weekly lessons are very important.