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How do you find a voice teacher?

lamarca 02 May 02 - 06:40 PM
GUEST 02 May 02 - 06:45 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 02 May 02 - 07:45 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 02 May 02 - 07:47 PM
GUEST,jonesey 02 May 02 - 09:33 PM
GUEST,jonesey 02 May 02 - 09:41 PM
Celtic Soul 02 May 02 - 09:46 PM
Susan A-R 02 May 02 - 10:15 PM
Escamillo 03 May 02 - 04:24 AM
pastorpest 03 May 02 - 11:35 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 03 May 02 - 11:57 PM
Don Firth 04 May 02 - 03:06 AM
lamarca 06 May 02 - 02:32 PM
GUEST,Dagenham Doc 06 May 02 - 03:05 PM
Alice 06 May 02 - 03:53 PM
Alice 06 May 02 - 03:57 PM
GUEST,Just Amy 06 May 02 - 06:33 PM
Burke 07 May 02 - 10:52 AM
Kaleea 07 May 02 - 10:59 PM
Escamillo 08 May 02 - 12:40 AM
KingBrilliant 08 May 02 - 03:48 AM
Alice 08 May 02 - 01:42 PM
lamarca 08 May 02 - 05:31 PM
GUEST,skippy 08 May 02 - 05:36 PM
GUEST,kitty2004_49@msn.com 03 Aug 04 - 04:58 PM
The Fooles Troupe 03 Aug 04 - 11:34 PM
GUEST,Frank 04 Aug 04 - 06:42 PM
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Subject: How do you find a voice teacher?
From: lamarca
Date: 02 May 02 - 06:40 PM

I've read the interesting thread on training and the "soul" of music, and it's led me to another question. How do you go about finding a good voice teacher or vocal coach?

I've had lessons with a friend who taught me a lot about expanding my range, but I feel a need to learn HOW to use my voice better without hurting my vocal chords (anyone who's heard me bellowing shanties will understand my concern), how to breathe better, how to project better, etc - the physical mechanics of singing well.

I live in a large metro area (Washington, DC), but don't have a clue about how to find a good teacher. Any suggestions?


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Subject: RE: How do you find a voice teacher?
From: GUEST
Date: 02 May 02 - 06:45 PM

you ask around amongst singers, look in the paper, do a net search, ask at music shops etc.

ie, you do some research. Jesus...


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Subject: RE: How do you find a voice teacher?
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 02 May 02 - 07:45 PM

Hi, Lamarca, I agree that you should check with other singers in the area. They ought to know some one who is good for your particular needs.

You should be able to locate any number of them in the yellow pages as well. Tell them what you need. If they are halfway decent they can tell you if they can help. IF you get a couple of people to tell you what you need, you should be able to get a consensus.

I'm sure it will be good for you, whomever you get to help you.


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Subject: RE: How do you find a voice teacher?
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 02 May 02 - 07:47 PM

Oh yes, it helps if you explain what kind of music and songs you are normally dealing with and are interested in.


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Subject: RE: How do you find a voice teacher?
From: GUEST,jonesey
Date: 02 May 02 - 09:33 PM

Years ago I was losing my voice pretty consistantly. Heard a fellow singer who'd made dramatic improvment in her singing in a very short period of time. I asked her how and she refered me to her vocal coach. The vocal coach was a classically trained contralto and I sang folk/country/blues. Took lessons from her for a month. Still use those lessons today 20 years later. Those 'structural sense memory exercises' coupled with a concentrated effort to learn 'yogic breathing' has given me a solid base from which to operate. Practice 'proper technique' everyday and then let it go when you sing. Gradually it will feel 'unnatural' to sing incorrectly and your voice will hold out much longer. Also, I got a couple of books about 'the voice' as a 'physical tool' and learned about anatomy which helped a ton. If you smoke...stop.


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Subject: RE: How do you find a voice teacher?
From: GUEST,jonesey
Date: 02 May 02 - 09:41 PM

Sorry...How to find one. Find out who in the local opera company gives lessons and take them from someone who's a performing professional. Or, at least once was. Make sure you go into it with thick skin because opera people can be intimidating and direct. But, they're usually pretty human under all that pretense and pomp. That was my experience, anyway. She was exacting and relentless and I'll be eternally grateful. Love her madly to this day!


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Subject: RE: How do you find a voice teacher?
From: Celtic Soul
Date: 02 May 02 - 09:46 PM

DC metro area...

I can name you 2 from my own experience, both of whom are very good in their own area. Barbara of "Iona" (a local Irish folk band) is a folk singer who was operatically trained.

If you want more of a jazz/blues trainer, I know of one in Baltimore named Lisa. Long haul, but she's *very* good at her craft.

I won't post last names here, but if you PM or e-mail me, I'd be happy to send along *your* contact info to either or both of them.

If neither of these appeals, the idea of asking others you know is a good one. I found the both of them through networking in the local folk music/art scene.


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Subject: RE: How do you find a voice teacher?
From: Susan A-R
Date: 02 May 02 - 10:15 PM

I've taken lessons with a good one up here in VT, and know that my favorrite advice from her was that a singer had to have "the posture of a dancer, the mind of a poet, and the face of an idiot," all having to do with relaxing the body for breathing purposes, using the facial bones to amplify the sound while relaxing the face so that the breathing doesn't get screwed up, and thinking about how you are going to sing something, the phrasing, interprtation and such. All of this stuff is helpful to me whether singing Lush Life, Bach, ballads or sea chantys. If you can find a teacher who will encourage you in all three of these, you'll be on the right track. If you find someone in the DC area, could you pm me, as I may give my sister-in-law some lessons as a present.

Susan


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Subject: RE: How do you find a voice teacher?
From: Escamillo
Date: 03 May 02 - 04:24 AM

Agree that an opera singer/teacher is the best investment you can do for your voice. There is a 10% probability that he/she will try to make a classical singer out of you, and that is something you don't want. On the other hand, there is a 90% probability that a popular singer/teacher will be a waste of time and a serious danger to your voice. There is such an enormous difference in quality, that you will find a whole new world of sound and expression through classical training.

Someone may tell you that the most important part in singing, is the emotional expression, and the sound is a secondary matter. That may be true. There are lots of excellent air blowers who are as expressive as a tuna fish. But when we come to vocal technique, classical singers do know the secrets. And after having acquired the art of singing, you may sing whatever you like.

I would say that a successful plan should not be shorter than one year of weekly lessons, and preferably three years.

Alice has posted many professional and invaluable articles, you may find them by a search of "threads on the singing voice". Lots of luck !

Un abrazo - Andrés (a bass that felt better as a baritone but happened to be a tenor)


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Subject: RE: How do you find a voice teacher?
From: pastorpest
Date: 03 May 02 - 11:35 PM

I agree about a classical teacher. I had one for years who was happy to help me sing folk songs better. A good teacher will correct fundamental errors that one does not realise one is making. And one learns to pronounce words so that every letter is clear: mighty importatn with most folk song lyrics. Ask the local music department of the university nearest you where to find a teacher. I now live in a small community on the Canadian prairie and miss having a good vocal teacher. But I don't miss the city and its smog!


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Subject: RE: How do you find a voice teacher?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 03 May 02 - 11:57 PM

Look in the "yellow pages" of the phone directory.


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Subject: RE: How do you find a voice teacher?
From: Don Firth
Date: 04 May 02 - 03:06 AM

Nothing to add here. Good advice. I especially agree about getting a classical teacher rather than a pop voice coach. Singing opera is probably the most demanding kind of singing there is (imagine trying to act and be emotionally expressive while singing over a full symphony orchestra going full-blast!), and just to survive until their next performance, an opera singer has to use good vocal technique.

Also, make sure they know what kind of songs you want to sing, and that they respect your songs and your ambitions enough to give you their best in the same way they would an aspiring opera singer. None of this "you don't need voice lessons to sing that stuff." I had one voice teacher say that to me, and I walked out and found somebody else.

Don Firth


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Subject: RE: How do you find a voice teacher?
From: lamarca
Date: 06 May 02 - 02:32 PM

Thanks all (except GUEST, who seems to take delight in being gratuitously nasty - I consider asking here on the Mudcat as part of DOING research, you asshole). I have a friend who works for the Washington Opera, and will ask her for some leads; Gutbucketeer has also sent me the name of someone to look up.

I think getting a classically trained voice teacher is important, as the training established over centuries of formal music has been adapted and refined to teach effective use of the voice as an instrument, and the mechanics of doing that should be applicable over lots of singing styles.

What I find difficult is figuring out how to pick a teacher from anonymous listings in a phone directory. It's like trying to choose a doctor - how can you find out who's good and who graduated in the bottom half of their class? Just because your best friend's sister likes this particular person doesn't neccesarily mean they are really good at what they do - it may just mean your best friend's sister likes the teacher's personality.

Since there isn't a licensing body for music teachers - anyone can hang out a shingle that says "Voice Lessons" whether or not they have training or teaching ability - I was hoping that folks who have vocal coaches or voice teachers could tell me how they found their teacher. How many teachers did you try before you found someone you could work with? How did you get the name of the person with whom you trained? Did you check up on them in any way, and how?


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Subject: RE: How do you find a voice teacher?
From: GUEST,Dagenham Doc
Date: 06 May 02 - 03:05 PM

lamarca, 'bellowing shanties' is probobly how everyone sings them so I wouldn't be too worried about that,but singing in itself is a strange one. My grand father was a singer and so was my father.... they were 'my' teachers just from singing along with them, much the same as a youngster would learn guitar or whatever by playing along with the session and asking how certain chords are played.I'm not sure that going to lessons is what it's all about really. Myself, I'm a great believer in the 'doing'. Every chance you get .....sing out. Lots of luck though.

Doc


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Subject: RE: How do you find a voice teacher?
From: Alice
Date: 06 May 02 - 03:53 PM

I think word of mouth recommendation is good, the path you are on. I lucked out in getting the best teacher in my area, when someone I knew said they had gone to her for voice lessons. I know more about it now than when I first decided to get lessons, and I'm lucky that I found her, because I was clueless as far as checking qualifications. The way my friend found her was by calling th e musician's Union and asking if there were any Union members who taught voice in the area. My teacher was a professional singer for many years in many countries, starting in opera at age 16, has a PhD (in Jewish cantorial music), has a masters in music therapy, speaks seven languages, and taught voice at the Curtis Institute, and is a great human being, not just a good teacher. The personal connection with a teacher is important. I really felt like we could communicate well from the beginning. Each teacher's background is going to be different. A mix of professional singing experience with academic training would be good to look for. Good luck.


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Subject: RE: How do you find a voice teacher?
From: Alice
Date: 06 May 02 - 03:57 PM

Lamarca, if what you want to learn is how to preserve your vocal cords and make your voice as strong and resilient as possible, getting it to your potential of power and range, avoiding injury like nodes and other problems, then you are definitely looking for the right reason and right kind of teacher. Go for it.


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Subject: RE: How do you find a voice teacher?
From: GUEST,Just Amy
Date: 06 May 02 - 06:33 PM

IMPORTANT!

A voice teacher teaches you how to use your voice. She/he will teach you how to breathe (most important) and how to open your mouth to place the sound.

A vocal coach coaches you in how to sing a song - phrasing, where to take a breath, etc.

Please do not mistake the two. They are very separate entities. The suggestion that you get a voice teach with classical training is a very good one. Please make sure the voice teacher has good credentials otherwise they could ruin your voice.

Because of a wrong date setting on a Mudcat server, this message may appear out of order. It was actually posted on 6-May, not 5-May. --JoeClone, 7-May-02.


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Subject: RE: How do you find a voice teacher?
From: Burke
Date: 07 May 02 - 10:52 AM

Refresh. GUEST,Just Amy's message is probably out of order & should be last message before this one.


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Subject: RE: How do you find a voice teacher?
From: Kaleea
Date: 07 May 02 - 10:59 PM

Visit a local university music department. Ask some of the voice students who is a good voice professor. If you are worried you might get a bum teacher, ask them who is not a good one. Ask them if they know any students who got vocally screwed up by a particular professor. Go to some of the recitals, and listen for the big open, beautiful voices which sound as if they are a bubbling brook. Find out who their professor is. If you can get several students to agree, then you have a good chance of getting a good instructor. If the professor does not have time in his/her studio, ask for a recommendation. Please do not be afraid of the terms "opera", and "classical" as the above catters' advice is right on! By learning the Belle Conto (beautiful singing) method as taught by most university instructors, you will have a well trained, finely tuned instrument with which to sing any genre of music. When I was in college, one of my comrades often would say that she did not know exactly how one could sing the blues if one was trained in the classic style--which led to much cussin--oops, I mean discussion among the instructors and students. I have always believed that one should sing stylistically according to genre, and if the emotion is there, it will sound appropriate. I asked my teacher to allow me to sing a blues song of my choosing at the next master class. I was accused of being a black woman disguised in a white womans' body--a veritible reincarnation of a long gone blues singer. Having been raised on a musical diet of classical recordings mixed in with serious blues & jazz, I have been singing like Ella & "Sassie" and Billie & others since I was a child--when I sing the blues/Jazz, and I sing like an opera singer when I sing opera.


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Subject: RE: How do you find a voice teacher?
From: Escamillo
Date: 08 May 02 - 12:40 AM

Another way to find a teacher that hasn't been mentioned: if you sing or have sung in a choir, ask the director for a recommandation. My director told me many years ago that I should take lessons of vocal technique, then when I asked for a recommandation, he had already made a profile of my voice and of myself as a person, and after he took out the plugs from his ears, he sent me to one of his own teachers, a professional opera singer who liked popular songs too. I did never find a need to change, and those classes changed my voice and part of my life.

I reached the highest level in a non-professional choir, which is to sing at the Colón Opera House (the category of the Met and Scala) many times, and still enjoying afro-american songs and even Wagner as a soloist in smaller stages. The only two things I won't do: 1) to dare to sing the great arias, 2) to commit so coarse mistakes as I used to.

Un abrazo - Andrés


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Subject: RE: How do you find a voice teacher?
From: KingBrilliant
Date: 08 May 02 - 03:48 AM

I found my teacher by recommendation. A friend of mine worked with a lady who was really happy with the improvements she found from the lessons.
I never asked for any credentials etc - I just thought I'd see how it went. I was extremely lucky, and my teacher is a total gem. Most of her pupils come to her by word of mouth, and she won't teach anyone that she feels she can't help.
We don't work on folk songs, she teaches using songs & style appropriate to the vocal techniques she is trying to get across to me. It is up to me to then apply that across to my own repertoire (takes a while).
I have a one-hour lesson every fortnight - and practice as often as possible in between the lessons (practice is very important - you need to have the time & place to practice regularly or you are not making best use of the lessons - which are expensive). The first half hour is devoted to warm-ups and exercises - the second half hour is devoted to working on whichever songs we are currently covering. Up til now we have been using show songs (not my fave type of song, but that's irrelevant) - and next we are going to do some classical (which I am really looking forward to).
My teacher also happens to be one of my favourite people. We have a lot of fun, and I absolutely trust that she knows what she is doing with my voice. However she never imposes her preferences on me - and does not consider that the way I used to sing was "wrong", just that I could do much better. She's very patient too - which is a huge help.
So in summary - recommendation is a good way to go - then take some lessons & see how it goes - lessons may not take the form you expect (ie you might learn the techniques in a different style to that which you want to perform in), but you should be able to tell whether you are gaining (but give it a reasonable amount of time, as the improvements start slowish then accelerate)- lessons on their own aren't going to work miracles, you have to practice.... - It really helps if you like and trust your teacher.

KRis


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Subject: RE: How do you find a voice teacher?
From: Alice
Date: 08 May 02 - 01:42 PM

Kaleea, Andres, and Kris, good messages.

I just started my son in voice lessons with my teacher. I cannot repeat often enough that singing is physical, so students have to give it time and do the physical exercises that strengthen all the muscles that you are not used to using. As with any physical exercise, you have to do it consistently over a period of time for the muscles to build up the ability, and then you will begin to hear and feel the changes. (Think of how runners train for a race. You work the muscles every day using good form, and don't think you can just get up from being a couch potato and run a marathon.)


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Subject: RE: How do you find a voice teacher?
From: lamarca
Date: 08 May 02 - 05:31 PM

Thanks so much everyone for the helpful suggestions.

I haven't been a choir member since my days in the Oberlin Musical Union (also known as the Musical Onion, because what we do to the music makes you cry...) Here in Washington, there are so many really good, classically trained singers that most of the non-church choirs want people who can sight-sing and are open by audition only. Anyway, thinking of the joy that the MU gave me, it reminded me that as an Oberlin grad (College of Arts and Sciences, not the Conservatory), I might be able to find someone from the Con through the alumni network! I'll start looking around - again, thank you all.


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Subject: RE: How do you find a voice teacher?
From: GUEST,skippy
Date: 08 May 02 - 05:36 PM

gargole:- I only clicked on this link to say "look in yellow pages"-------- but you beat me to it!


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Subject: RE: How do you find a voice teacher?
From: GUEST,kitty2004_49@msn.com
Date: 03 Aug 04 - 04:58 PM

hi my name is frankie ,
i am 11 years old and i wont to no were is the nearist opera lesson . i live in dagnham.i have been singen for all my life but not nuthing seares i could sing befor i called talk and i have been dancing seens i was 1 yers and i have profomed at keenif more thiter in ilford when i was 3 years old. i have been to about 7 diffrent stag schools my resent dance school was called kj's school of dance.
i was wondering if you could help me coz i wont to do opera coz i love chorllot church she is my idel and i wont to be the next chorllot cherch so could u help? and if u get eny ifo plz email me.
          meny thankes frankie leigh butcher


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Subject: RE: How do you find a voice teacher?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 03 Aug 04 - 11:34 PM

Respond to this via email at your peril - Most likely a Spam Harvester - or as has happened here to me before a mal-ware site runner..

For a serious direct response...

Lessons from Professional singng teachers cost serious money. Use the yellow pages if you are serious - or drop into the nearest folk singing session.


Robin


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Subject: RE: How do you find a voice teacher?
From: GUEST,Frank
Date: 04 Aug 04 - 06:42 PM

Go to the website NATS.com (National Association of Teachers of Singing).

They have a listing by state and city.

Frank


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