Finding a voice teacher – a checklist to use in your search

As a singer, I understand that finding the right voice teacher can be a difficult process.  A teacher is someone you are entrusting your voice to and someone you may be working with for a long time.  You want to find a teacher whose approach meshes with your needs as a student.  You want to find someone you can trust to give you accurate feedback about how you are singing.

In hopes of making this difficult search a little easier, I have compiled the following checklist which you may find useful in evaluating me and other prospective voice teachers (or your current teacher).
I hope that my website has stirred your interest in the Art & Science of Singing enough to include me in your search for a voice teacher.   Why not schedule a no-pressure, no-obligation sample lesson—and bring along a copy of the checklist to help you make a decision that feels right to you.

Voice Teacher Checklist

You can ask yourself the following questions about any voice teacher to help you determine whether that teacher is right for you:

   1. Do I feel a positive rapport with this teacher?  Do our personalities harmonize?
   2. Does this teacher create a supportive environment during lessons?  Do the teacher’s comments help me to feel good about myself?  Am I having fun as well as learning?
   3. Do I get the sense that this teacher thoroughly knows the subject of teaching voice?
   4. Is this teacher able to meet me at my current stage of development—and take me to the next level and beyond?
   5. Is this teacher interested in nurturing my own individual sound, or in making me conform to his or her personal ideal?
   6. Is my singing consistently improving during the course of my lessons?  Is my range always increasing—in both directions?  Am I increasingly able to sing loudly and softly in all parts of my range?  Am I developing more vocal agility?
   7. Is this teacher’s approach helping my singing to become more and more effortless?  Do I feel energized or exhausted after singing?
   8. Does this teacher express ideas in words that I can easily understand and put into practice?  When I have questions, is the teacher able to give satisfying answers?
   9. Are this teacher’s services within my budget, including any travel costs?
  10. Is my overall feeling that this teacher would be a good choice for me?

2 Comments

  1. chaz says:

    I have had lessons with various "master teachers" (some in NYC, where I lived in or near for 13 years) off and on for 42 years. I could not give a positive response to all the questions for any of those guys (two women). One of the worst was a Reid disciple. I love your questions, and as a teacher, would hope students would engage me with them, but since I am the only teacher at my branch campus, they are ultimately moot. Thank you for the opportunity to reflect. I may visit NYC (from TN) in October, and if so will call to meet with you.

  2. Michael Hanko says:

    Chaz,

    The questions are not moot if they help your students to know how lucky they are to have you as a teacher! (Or if they help you to better appreciate your own worth.)

    I too have been subjected to a series of teachers who were not right for me. At least these experiences helped me to hone my concept of good teaching. . .and keep me cognizant of traits I want to avoid developing.

    It would be my pleasure to meet with you in October; I hope that can happen.

    Michael

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