So you’ve decided that you want singing lessons but how do you pick the right teacher? If you live in Sydney, particularly in the Inner West area you’ll find a plethora of singing teachers. The real question is how do you know if any of them are any good? Ok, so lets look at that. First off, anyone can advertise themselves as a singing teacher. You don’t need any kind of degree etc. I mean, YOU could advertise yourself as a singing teacher! Question is, how can you gauge that? So, if it were me, I’d first off Google them. Happily in todays society we can do that. Once upon a time you would really just have to take a chance and yes ostensibly, you can say that irrespective of anything else, you’re always taking a chance and that is true. However, Googling someone is a start. If you can’t find anything out about that person, then personally, I’d not consider them as a teacher. Now, here’s the thing. There may be ANY number of really great teachers out there that have no website and no online profile whatsoever. Maybe. Sure. But I personally wouldn’t take that chance. I mean, these are complete strangers so unless you find someone through someone else that you know and trust, you need some kind of starting point and for me, I’d start with that. Anyone who considers themselves professional in any way whatsoever, really should have their own website. After all, singing teachers don’t come cheap so if I wanted to find someone to give me private lessons in anything, I would expect them to be properly set up with a website etc. It’s really the minimum you can expect. Now you’ve eliminated the ones who don’t have a site so now, you need to start sifting through the ones that do have one. So, have a look at the site. There should be some info about the teacher and the lessons and also, there should be a photo of some kind. Now I know that there’s this idea out there that you can’t judge a book by it’s cover and some people take that a little too literally. Of course you absolutely cannot know MUCH about a person by looking at their photo but let’s be honest here, you can tell a fair bit. As I said earlier, these people are strangers and you just don’t have that much to go by so you need to make a decision basically on what you read and see online. Does the person look ok? I’ve seen photos of ‘singing teachers’ in various music magazines that have made me think “I wouldn’t touch you with a barge pole let alone leave my children with you”. But maybe that’s just ME! I don’t think so though. If the teacher looks reasonably sane and intelligent then that’s a good start. Check out the site and take it from there. Then of course it comes down to their location etc and the costs. As far as cost is concerned, again, you MIGHT get a great teacher for very little money, but you know, you probably won’t. It doesn’t mean though that the opposite is true. The most expensive teacher is not necessarily the best. There is a standard sort of price that most teachers adhere to and of course that increases over time.
Also a decent teacher won’t try to rope you into expensive packages etc. You should never feel pressure in any way. You yourself know if you like and feel comfortable with a certain teacher and you yourself should be free to decide whether or not to proceed with lessons. Keep in mind though that no matter who you choose, this IS a stranger and for the most part you will be going to their home and it will take a few lessons to really ‘get the ball rolling’ and to feel truly comfortable with them but a good teacher will make you feel fairly comfortable from the get go. That is part of their job and if they don’t do that then they simply don’t have the right sort of personality to be doing that work. This is a big part of the lessons. How comfortable you feel with your teacher. Even if you’re a very shy person, you should feel good with them right from the start and it should be a happy enjoyable experience. I had a client tell me only this week that the one other teacher she tried constantly stopped the lesson to do household chores and on top of that, kept mocking her! Clearly, that’s not a good teacher. So, to summarise here is what to look for in a teacher:
1. An online profile of some kind that allows you to see who they are, what they’ve done, where they work and what they look like.
2. Do you want a male or female teacher? Generally speaking, people looking for teachers for their children prefer female teachers.
3. When you contact them, they should be able to answer all your questions honestly. Teachers that make outlandish promises are just trying to get your business. It’s not magic.
4. If they seem honest, approachable and professional when you contact them, that’s a great start.
5. There should be NO pressure at all on you to buy packages or anything like that. There should be no forcing of anything. And again, beware of teachers making over the top promises.
6. Most private teachers work from home and their homes should be very clean, including the bathroom. It should be all nicely set up and they should have a ‘lesson plan’ for you.
Good luck to you all and I hope this helps.