Very often, students have no idea what they are looking for in a voice teacher. This article gives you more clarity in the selection process by providing you with 3 simple, easy-to-understand considerations.
Consideration 1: How much time to do you have?
If you have an audition for a private performing arts program in a week, you will need to have classes more frequently and for a longer duration than say if the audition were coming in the next month. If you have a wedding to perform for in 6 months’ time, you will need less frequent classes of a shorter duration than say if the said wedding were at the end of the month.
Which brings me to my next consideration…
Consideration 2: What needs to be done?
Public auditions for theatrical productions in Singapore will usually require you to sing 16 or 32 bar cuts of music. These cuts may be specific to music from the show and will be pre-determined. Everyone sings the same 16 or 32 bar cut. In this case, unless the music is really difficult or your skill level is really very Low, or you really really want to land the role (it’s hard), you do not need many classes.
Auditions for community and school choirs will normally have you sing one or two complete but contrasting songs of your choosing. Unlike public auditions, there is less time pressure on the organizers in these situations which allows for this. Depending on the skill level of the choir (SYF Gold winning choirs have a higher expectations than your church choir) and your skill level and determination, you may need more classes with greater frequency.
Examinations in music require the most amount of classes in my opinion. These examinations are all about your presentation and your skill-level. Vocalogy carries examinations from the ABRSM and LCM. We prefer LCM Recital examinations because they focus solely on your performing skills. Your marks (and self-esteem) are not frittered on poor scores on Aural and Sightreading skills from tests that you can’t prepare for in advance. These examinations that come in both Classical and Pop Singing and require you to prepare a program of five songs solid. In addition to technical voice work, teachers have to coach genre-specific musicality. LCM/ ABRSM examination Seasons are three to four months apart. We recommend that unless you work with a very skilled teacher or are very talented, or are taking a beginner grade, you prepare for two examination seasons. This translates to about 6-8 months of weekly classes.
Consideration 3: Where do you need to be?
I still have students who have been studying with me since the my early teaching years. Some of them have become family friends. These people keep coming back because, like me, their aim is self-awareness and personal growth through singing. I keep upgrading my teaching skills annually whether it be in voice or holistic healing because I want to be a better person and in so doing, become a better teacher.
If you think that you have no talent and your heart tells you that you need to sing professionally,we have a long road ahead my friend.
If you are pitch-deaf and you want to be able to sing on pitch, that CAN be done. It is frustrating for us both but it can be done. The number of classes depends very much on the skill and creativity level of the teacher.
If you’re preparing for a project-type audition, you need to know the skill level expected. Professional theatrical productions and college and post-graduation level performing arts training require the highest skill levels; community choirs and karaoke events less so. Surprisingly, reality events such as televised singing contests are more about the story of the individual and the entertainment level provided. As we may be aware from the antics of a particular US President, entertainment level may not equate with skill level or qualification for the job. Beware!
The choice is up to you. My team and I can help you achieve your goals, whatever they may be.
We look forward to working with you.
Grace Ng Ee Wern is a Jin Shin Jyutsu Practitioner, Somatic Voicework (TM) Voice Teacher & Voice Coach. She holds an Advanced Certificate in Clinical Hypnotherapy from the London College of Clinical Hypnosis, & is an Affiliate-member of the British Society of Clinical Hypnotists. Based in Singapore.