People often ask if it’s necessary to train as a singing teacher. The answer, strictly speaking and in the legal sense, is “no it isn’t”.
Unfortunately this means that anyone can set themselves up as a singing teacher. And “anyone” often does. People seem to have the strange idea that if they’ve done a performing arts course on which they had some singing training, this means that they can effectively teach singing. Or if they’ve got a music degree and majored in saxophone, they can teach singing – it’s all music, right? Or perhaps they have been singing themselves for many years, so this automatically means that they can teach others to do the same.
We think they’re all quite mistaken.
The sad fact of the matter is, many so-called singing teachers are working with no training or qualification whatsoever, and although most of them do it with the best of intentions, it doesn’t mean that they’re teaching efficiently! Here’s an example of how much impact this can have:
One of our senior tutors had a new student come to her for a consultation the other day. The student was female, in her 40s, and had been singing she she was a small child, and had singing lessons since her mid-teens. She had come to the studio because she was experiencing severe fatigue in the voice. This is itself is not unusual – we all get students with this problem. What was unusual was that this problem had always been there, and not once in over 25 years of training with different teachers had anyone even started to address the issue.
A well-trained singing teacher does a lot more than just listen to people sing songs and coach them in performance. (Actually, that’s the definition of a vocal coach, not a singing teacher). A good singing teacher can listen to a voice, hear where the problems are, work out why they’re happening and then help the student to fix the issues with a programme of efficient exercises. Sadly, there’s no real way for singing students to know which teachers know their stuff and which don’t, and that’s really why VIDLA exists – we’re trying to provide programmes of training which ensure that teachers not only know how to sing, but how to teach – which is a very different skill – and how to listen to and understand what is happening in a voice. We don’t claim to be perfect, but we do know that even people who come to us with Master’s degrees and years of teaching and performing experience get wide-eyed when they start their training!