5 Things People Hate About Vocal Coaches
If you’ve ever spent a bit of time YouTube trawling through “how to sing like [insert favourite singer]” videos, no doubt there were a few vocal coaches who struck a chord with you, but more likely a number of coaches who struck a nerve with you that you just couldn’t shake. These 5 things that people HATE about vocal coaches will hopefully give you a few laugh-out-loud chuckles while on a more serious note, illustrating why vocal coaches aren’t always what they make themselves out to be.
Are you ready for 5 reasons why people hate vocal coaches?
They make it look so damn easy
No, seriously – they do. The problem with how ‘easy’ a vocal coach makes it all look is the truth behind the production of their videos, truth about their singing and the fact they brush over the 20 years of hard work and instead claim they have discovered a ‘secret’ that they will reveal to you at a hefty price. Singing itself is easy in theory, sure, but there is a reason you were just searching for singing tips and looking for someone to show you how to sing, right? The process of learning to sing is often made more difficult by the smoke and mirror marketing approach used by so many voice coaches out there that always leave them ‘a step above’ their students, and their singing ability a thing of wonder and dreams.
In reality, that simple “how to sing like [insert favourite singer]” video clip was recorded in a $1k a day recording studio, with an engineer who was paid almost as much on top of this, through a five thousand dollar microphone and then edited professionally from the footage taken on a top of the line video rig – do you see where I’m going with this? There’s a reason why it never sounds as good when you sing it as when they do, and the fact they’ve got a whole team working for them to achieve perfection is how they make it look so damn easy. If you saw the same cover on an acoustic guitar with no microphone, performed live for a smartphone – no doubt you would see a closer parallel between your own ability and possibilities and would be a whole lot less ‘wowed’ by the whole experience, leaving you less likely to buy their expensive course.
They don’t actually show you HOW to sing better
I’m sure you’ve noticed this one, right? You’ve watched hundreds of YouTube singing tutorials that tell you how they will show you to sing better, without actually showing you HOW to sing better. It’s a known phenomenon that I like to call “The guru effect” – someone that puts themselves in a position and power through claiming to know something that you don’t know, and then continually reminds you that the only way to gain this superior knowledge is to join their cult (ie: buy a vocal course).
When was the last time you saw a YouTube singing tutorial that actually SHOWED you how to sing better, rather than just talking about it, or showing you how well THEY can sing? A good voice coach should be open, honest and freely espouse the knowledge they’ve learned while actually trying to help you achieve your goals – after all, that’s the definition of a teacher.
The opinions, OH the opinions!
A great vocal teacher is impartial and works with the student to find the approach for their voice, not just regurgitate what worked for them. I guess that’s another phenomenon (yet to be named!), people often want to teach what worked for them rather than what their student may need. Strong opinions and aggression around singing terms and singing approaches is the sign of someone who sure, might sing well themselves, but obviously isn’t a great vocal coach – there is a BIG difference. I often use different terms with different students depending on their approach and the way that we learn. I’m a big visual learner myself, but others prefer a more scientific approach, and others a figurative approach – if I told everyone they HAD to learn the same way, the results would be inconsistent, right? A great teacher tailors the information and the approach to the student’s needs, not their own strong opinions and ego.
If you’ve ever bought a singing course before, you probably noticed that it was almost IMPOSSIBLE to actually get in touch with the face of the course, that smiling guru who just took all of your money. That’s because it’s ultimately a marketing business rather than an education one, they’re not sitting at the drawing board trying to develop even simpler and more practical ways to show you how to sing better, no, they’re on a yacht in the Bahamas.
If the only way to ask your vocal coach a question is in YouTube comments or a forum that is answered by other customers of their course instead of the vocal coach themselves, or an email gets a vague and general response “it’s in my course, guys!” – it’s high time you realise you’re being swindled.
When was the last time you paid $300+ USD for anything, let alone a measly hour of someone’s time? Exactly, the cost of some vocal guru’s courses or lessons is astronomical, and honestly, really not worth it. Sure, most forms of consulting run a little higher in cost than say, that of a handyman or plumber – but the cost of hundreds of dollars an hour is just insane.
A great way to work out if a voice coach is worth your time is to contact them off the clock, so to speak, and ask for their advice on a topic or specific issue you’re experiencing. Someone who truly loves coaching as much as they do singing, and holds themselves up to a high ethical standard when it comes to education will gladly help you out and provide you with a few practical tips or some advice that helps you approach the issue you’re experiencing – if instead you get “the answer is in my course”, then that in itself is answer enough that you’re barking up the wrong tree. Remember, the only person that holds the keys to your voice is you, don’t hand them over to someone else who is going to make you pay big dollars just to hand them back to you.
The first thing you need to work on as a singer is your Foundation – the absolute fundamentals of airflow, resonance, resonant space and placement. The best place to get started with your foundation is the Foundation 101 course here at Bohemian Vocal Studio which will show you how to;
- Connect chest and head voice
- Create mixed resonance
- Increase your range
- Improve your tone
- Balance your onset
- Place your frequencies
- Release strain and tension
- Form your vowels properly
- Warm up your your voice effectively
- SO much more!
You can even get started right now with this exclusive Mixed Voice singing lesson which will show you the exact process that I use with all of my students to help them connect chest and head voice while creating mixed resonance.
If you want to see what all the fuss is about with the Foundation vocal approach, here’s just a few examples of what I’m achieving now that I’m free of strain and tension with the Foundation 101 course – just imagine what you’re going to achieve when you’re finally able to sing with a rock solid vocal foundation!
Kegan DeBoheme is Bohemian Vocal Studio’s resident vocal coach and voice expert. He teaches professional singing and voice technique to students all around the world and enjoys providing tutorials like this one on how to improve your voice.