Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between a singing teacher and a vocal coach?
Essentially nothing in my experience. We are generally all trying to achieve the same goal. However, you may find as ‘vocal coach’ is a slightly more American term the phenomenon of ‘Performance coaches’ has had wide spread appeal. This is not a bad thing, but you need to note the difference. A performance coach generally coaches on how to conduct yourself on stage, how to create engaging moments in your performance and how to get the most out of your audition or performance. I think they are great, especially for developing artists who are finding they need to engage with their audience and I can put you in touch with some of the best in the business. The problem however comes when someone who is actually a performance coach calls themselves a ‘vocal coach’. Some basic questions may help you decide if you’re getting the right kind of teacher. Does your teacher always ask you about your voice and not ‘how you are feeling with your performance’. Do they know why they are giving you a specific exercise and what it does? Have they had musical training? Do they update their own skills - when was your voice teacher’s last vocal lesson for themselves?
Do you do gift vouchers?
Absolutely! The gift of singing is a great gift. I accept cheques, cash in person or Paypal. Just contact me first to ask how many you would like and for how long.
Am I too old or is my child too young to start lessons?
My oldest pupil to date has been an adorable 84 year old lady, originally from France her love of French Folk drove her to fulfil a life long dream of singing the songs she loves and do it well!! As long as we have some sort of a voice we can have lessons! I don’t expect young children to understand complex music and will advise on suitable pieces and due to development of the vocal cords and attention span I advise group lessons for under the age of 10, unless I have specifically spoken to you first. Contact me to find out more.
How many lessons do I need?
Most people have a few sessions in a row if they haven’t been in a while, or if they are experiencing particular difficulties. Some people come on a regular basis and other people I might see once in a while when their voice changes or their needs or singing challenges change. The best thing is to ask and I will advise you honestly. For children who which to learn to read music and develop general musicianship skills, regular lessons are ideal.
I’m never going to be as good as an Opera singer or anyone in the pop charts, so there is no point really – I shouldn't have lessons should I?
I have a diverse taste in music from Sam Baker to Dame Kiri te Kanawa and Linda Ronstadt to Paloma Faith. Let’s take folk singers as an example, you can get some beautiful sounding voices such as the popular Julie Fowlis, then you can get some people who use the back room of a pub on a Monday evening doing a song circle because they want to share their craft. For both of these singers getting the message, lyrics and melody of the song across is very important and for both using the best voice they can is going to be the way they will do that. It makes the difference to whether someone comes to you after your performance and says “I really enjoyed the way you sang that..” or not, and to get compliments is one way of knowing you are getting better and achieving your potential, and it is YOUR potential not Paloma’s or Michael Jackson’s or Julie Fowlis'. Actually Julie probably started in the back room somewhere in some singing circle in Scotland! Remember there is a place for every singer and that means you too!