Red Flags and Green Lights. What should you look for in a voice teacher?

This week in my private CWVS Clubhouse Facebook group, Lucia asked: 

“What would you consider red flags for voice teachers?”

She had been studying with someone who was well aligned with her vocal goals a few years ago. She recently started studying with them again, only now to realize that this teacher was leading her to sing in a rather unhealthy way. She left lessons feeling strained and frustrated that the teacher was encouraging her to use her voice in only one, exhausting way. 

Some voice teachers are excellent fits for only certain types of singers. Some voice teachers have no idea what they’re doing (true story). And thankfully, some voice teachers have a teaching methodology that allow them to help any singer find vocal balance. 

What should you look for in a voice teacher?

Finding a great voice teacher is a lot like dating. You might have to meet a few before you find your perfect fit! Here are my red flags and green lights when you’re on the hunt for a great teacher.

Voice Teacher Red Flags:

  • You feel frustrated, defeated, or confused after your lesson
  • You’re unable to choose repertoire you want to sing
  • You’re made to feel like your singing mistakes are your fault
  • You’re not given practical tips, advice, or exercises to address your specific vocal goals
  • Your voice consistently feels strained, exhausted, or hoarse during or after your lesson
  • You don’t make progress within the first two lessons (yes, that’s how quickly you should feel an improvement!)
  • Your “teacher” is more of a vocal coach- meaning they are great at helping you learn new music and coaching your performance, but they aren’t able or interested in working on your vocal technique
  • Your teacher’s only qualifying experience is their own performance career
  • You spend the majority of your lesson time talking or talking about singing instead of actually singing.
  • Your teacher talks a lot about how the voice works but is unable to demonstrate what they are trying to get you to achieve.
  • Your teacher can’t sing well

Voice Teacher Green Lights:

  • You leave lessons feeling inspired and motivated
  • Your teacher listens to your goals and dreams and supports your pursuit of them
  • Your teacher is able to identify what your vocal tendencies/issues are and gives you exercises specifically to balance your voice. Lessons are tailored to your needs and goals on any given day
  • You make progress within your lessons and at home with the exercises they give you to practice
  • At the end of your lessons, your voice feels like it just had a great workout- a little tired, but getting stronger
  • Your teacher challenges you with repertoire, and allows you to choose songs you love to sing
  • Your teacher has completed or is undergoing training specific to teaching voice- they aren’t relying just on their own vocal training or performance degree. Their teacher training might be a college degree in vocal pedagogy or a private certification, like from www.vocaladvancement.com
  • Lesson time is efficient and effective! You spend the majority of the time vocalizing and singing music
  • Your teacher can sing well and properly demonstrate what they are helping you achieve. (This doesn’t mean they need to be a professional vocalist or have great talent. But every good voice teacher should have a relatively balanced voice)

If you’re looking for a teacher who meets these green light requirements, check out vocaladvancement.com to find a voice teacher in your country/region/city who specializes in teaching vocal balance. Online lessons mean you can study with any of these amazing teachers from around the world!

Anything I missed? What are your red flags and green lights when looking for a private voice teacher?