Singing and voice coaches help singers to reach their potential.
Behind every professional singer is a voice coach who has poked and prodded their technique into something precise and impressive. Technical singing requires a heightened awareness of every muscle and action that goes into producing sound. Singing in a manner that strains one's voice can be harmful in the long term and take years off a promising singer's career; singers can benefit from sessions with a voice coach, who can hone their raw talent into something more controlled that will prolong their vocal abilities. Non-singers can also see results from vocal coaching - actors and politicians will often work with a coach to develop their ability to project and enunciate. Many coaches have a specialty area, such as opera or jazz, and can help students to achieve the tonal range associated with that particular genre.
Voice coaches must be experts at constructive criticism and should be prepared to communicate effectively with all kinds of personalities. They must be extremely perceptive in order to understand how a singer can improve, as well as the right balance of gentle and authoritative to get critique to stick. Sometimes a singer will seek out a voice coach to prepare for a specific performance or audition and the focus of their sessions will be on perfecting a specific piece. Other times, a singer will just be looking to improve, and their coach will prepare an array of vocal exercises and occasionally offer suggestions for song choices.
- Working with individual performers to improve their vocal skills
- Correcting a singer's posture, pitch, rhythm, diction, and more
- Sight reading and understanding music notation
- Identifying problem areas in vocal technique
- Developing individualized practice plans
Conservatories, performing arts schools, and musical production companies often employ vocal coaches to support their singers through their training or rehearsal period. Many work as freelancers, with a dedicated client base of students they see regularly. Some work with a specific age group, like children or teenagers, since engaging young students can be difficult for a coach without an educational background. Voice coaches often accompany artists or productions on tours, which can be both exciting and taxing.
Prospective voice coaches need to know a lot of things inside and out. They must be experts of vocal and respiratory anatomy, with a comprehensive understanding of vowel shapes and sounds. For this reason, it can be helpful to supplement a music education with training in anatomy and linguistics. Many vocal coaches are professional performers or industry veterans who have taken an interest in education. A number of voice coaches are competent pianists, which can help them to demonstrate pitch and accompany singers; some have a degree of fluency in a foreign language, which can help students develop their repertoire. Voice coaches may come from any background, provided they have spent a significant amount of time training their voice and developing technical skills; the most straightforward way to gain this experience is studying voice at a conservatory. Master's degrees in vocal performance are also common among voice coaches; this track can provide a singer with both technical knowledge and teaching experience.
If you're a skilled singer and want to nurture new vocal talent, consider a career as a voice coach.