How to choose your singing teacher (vocal coach)?

Voice Lessons | Raphael Begosso Vocal Studio

Ah, so you’ve heard or read that the only singers who have technique are the lyric ones? What popular singers generally lack technique? And that the right way to learn to sing is to take a class with a teacher who will teach you opera arias and then adapt them to the songs you want to sing?

I thought so myself and tried this way for a long time. I also read this on the internet – on that same website that sometimes has the wrong figure.

About everything I’m going to talk about here below note that THERE ARE EXCEPTIONS!!!!

While it’s true that some opera singers (and teachers) have and pass on good technique, it’s also true that many of them also teach along with style and can’t be flexible enough to apply all that technical knowledge to popular music.

It is also true that many singers (and teachers) of popular singing understand little or nothing about technique and end up endorsing the speech at the beginning of the post.

On the opera staff side, in general as I said above, they learn technique along with style. They learn a lot by imitating the teacher and practice only one type of repertoire (operatic) a lot. And finally, when some of them become teachers, they end up reproducing this teaching system.

Popular music people, in general, are very intuitive and end up learning a lot through trial and error and through a path that, most of the time, works only for the person. I’ve also seen a lot of people here learning simply by imitating the teacher (until the absurdity of an entire class becoming almost a private show). So finally, when some of them become teachers, they end up teaching that way too.

On both sides, the didactic issue cannot be left aside. And if the person learned intuitively or by pure imitation of his teacher, no matter how skilled he is as a singer, he will not know how to pass that knowledge on to someone else.

So what’s the solution?

It’s not easy, especially in Brazil.

The teacher (vocal coach – as he is known internationally), must understand a lot about technique, and more, must be technically aware, must have studied for some time some different styles of popular music and must have good teaching skills.

Probably if he has these attributes, he didn’t just learn by imitating his teacher and he’s also perhaps not terribly intuitive. He had to go after solving some problems with his voice too.

Also beware of vocal coaches who base their speech ONLY on a good performance, as I’ve seen a lot on YouTube. Until the absurdity of seeing a video of “how to sing like such a guy” having 5 minutes of performance and 1 of explanation. It’s unreasonable, right? Sometimes that coach already knew how to sing like that and threw any information at the end of the video.

I don’t mean to say that your new teacher shouldn’t be able to sing. He himself must know how to apply the concepts he is going through in his voice. If we are talking about mixed voice, he must be able to do; if it is head voice, also etc.

So research a lot even before you start taking classes with someone!

Picture of Raphael Begosso

Raphael Begosso

Raphael Begosso has a Bachelor of Music Degree in Composition and Conducting from Universidade Estadual Paulista (UNESP), the best Music University in Brazil. As a top student of his class, he was granted a scholarship from CNPQ and was invited to join a scientific research group called PET. Raphael has worked as a director, arranger, and producer for many vocal groups and choirs. His group CantaMais performed around São Paulo and was invited to appear on a TV show called Programa do Jô (you can find it on our YouTube channel). He studies voice since 1998 and he is a vocal coach since 2002. Raphael also studied piano, guitar, and choir at Escola de Música do Estado de São Paulo (former ULM). One of Raphael’s great mentors is Brett Manning from Singing Success – a method used by many famous Grammy, MCA Awards and Dove winners like Hayley Williams (Paramore), Taylor Swift, Keith Urban, Mark Kibble and Claude Mcknight (Take 6), Michael Barnes, Luke Bryanamong others.

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