With online lessons and long-distance teaching so readily available, no matter where you live you can access the best of the best voice teachers and vocal coaches.
If you’re new to New York or the professional theatre industry, here’s how to know if you’ve found the right voice coach for you, and what can be expected in a typical NYC voice lesson, including price, format, exercises vs. song work, communication, etc.
What are your needs?
When searching out a voice teacher in New York City, be specific about what your needs really are. Do you need to smooth our your break, improve your mix, learn to belt, or expand your range? Or do you need to prep audition cuts, practice your songs with full accompaniment, and get acting and style coaching?
The first question you should actually ask yourself is whether you are you looking for a voice teacher or a vocal coach? Sometimes these titles are used interchangeably, but these two important professionals in every actor’s life serve different purposes!
What does a voice teacher do?
As a singing/voice teacher, my primary goal is to improve my client’s actual singing ability, or their vocal technique. This means that in lessons we are working to increase range, stamina, strength, and quality of tone. We go through exercises and then apply that technique to music. While this almost always includes artistry and interpretation, vocal style, audition preparation, and learning new music, the first focus is always on proper singing technique.
What does a vocal coach do?
However, if a client of mine has a lot of new music they need to simply learn, or sheet music cuts to prepare for an upcoming audition next week (or tomorrow), I refer them to one of the many talented vocal coaches I work with. A vocal coach is generally less expensive than a voice teacher, since they usually don’t have the specific vocal training or advanced degrees a voice teacher has.
How do I find a teacher or coach?
Take real time and effort to find a voice teacher that is a fit for you. After all, you’re entrusting the care and well-being of your instrument with them. A google search will yield hundreds of results, so the better option is to ask your friends or reach out to singers you respect and ask who they take lessons from. Positive word of mouth is always a good sign.
What should I expect to pay for voice lessons?
Expect to pay upwards of $100/hr for a quality voice teacher. However, beware of supposed “celebrity” voice teachers with astronomical prices. Just because they charge big $$$ and teach people whose names you may recognize doesn’t mean they’ll be a great fit for you. Look for a teacher that listens and actually addresses your concerns and goals and is able to make a tangible difference in your voice within 1-2 lessons.
Finding a great voice teacher is a bit like dating, you may need to shop around to find the right fit for you. Read my “Red Flags and Green Lights” post here to make sure you’re investing in the right teacher/student relationship for you.
Are there any full-service coaching options out there?
If you’re looking for a one-stop shop for vocal coaching AND music services (piano tracks, audition cuts, repertoire help) then check out Broadway Vocal Coach. Founded by myself and Broadway Music Director Cynthia Kortman Westphal, we’ve eliminated the need to run around town trying to get all the help you need. Now, just log in and get it all in one place!