A personal singing coach is someone you become quite close to; a mentor, but potentially a friend. You will spend a lot of time with your vocal coach just as you would with a fitness trainer, so there are a few factors you should weigh up before making the choice of which vocal coach to take lessons from.
Some coaches are worth a 2-hour drive, but there is usually someone closer. Private lessons are already expensive. Unless you are aiming to be the next big thing, stick with a coach in the area as traveling costs will add to the price. If that’s not possible, then be choosier by all means.
Music teachers can be self-taught from experience or University-trained. Neither of these is superior to the other. It is helpful if you know how this person sounds as a singer: does she take her own advice and is it successful for her? Retired professionals often make great teachers and you can test their skill by listening to old recordings or going to local concerts where they continue to lend their voice in a small way. Newer singers might be featured at clubs or concerts where you can hear them in action.
Young, recent graduates are out to make some money while they wait for their big break. Professionals have grown tired of the night club circuit or are no longer in demand. There can be negative and positive points to hiring either one. The new grad might not think of you as a person but as a pay check. Retired singers could be jaded and resentful. They might also be energetic, genuine, and enthusiastic.
Remember that you are the client and have the right to expect respectful treatment from your teacher. Book a trial singing lesson so you can get a feel for this individual’s personality and whether or not you will mesh with one another.
On the other hand, very good, sought-after teachers are in a position to be choosy about whom they will work with. Someone with high aspirations will put up with a lot to be taught by these individuals, so you might have to swallow your pride. Remember: simply being chosen as a student indicates that you possess talent this coach recognizes.
Criticism Is Good
If you could sing like a Nightingale, you wouldn’t need a teacher. Learn to accept criticism and to expect it. A teacher who is too nice isn’t necessarily helping you. Taking the time to point out flaws is a sign that you’re worth the effort.