So confused about singing training

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Carmelca22
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So confused about singing training

Post by Carmelca22 » Sat Nov 14, 2020 12:40 pm

What is the best type of singing teacher / voice coach for our DCs?
DD (14) has had lessons (classical and MT) on and off since the age of seven - more according to what she liked doing at the time rather than following any kind of training. She is now doing Grade 6 rock and pop, which I was hesitant about starting, but she absolutely loves. The lessons are at school so luckily she hasn't missed too many but since Covid she no longer does her (group) MT singing class because it's only online now and she struggles with that. However, she is still auditioning for a few musical theatre-type roles and her agent puts her forward as a singer. I'm concerned because her style of singing has changed. She doesn't sound MT any more, in fact to me she sounds strained on the high notes! I'm wondering if someone who is going for MT roles should be having regular classical training? Or MT? And if so, is a singing teacher or "vocal coach" best? Estil? Mix? Bel Canto? I have no background in singing so I'm completely confused by all these terms and I just want her to protect her voice. Help!

George'smum
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Re: So confused about singing training

Post by George'smum » Sat Nov 14, 2020 3:04 pm

Anyone who has Estil qualifications will be a guaranteed safe bet (a certified teacher - have a look on The Voice Explained website) but otherwise I would look for someone who understands voice and not just style. A good teacher should be able to teach different styles without having to sacrifice range or vocal strength, especially with a young singer. Just doing pop songs will probably not encourage versatility so I’d mix up exams every so often & maybe do a bit of Abrsm (or just work through the syllabus rather than take the exam)

Carmelca22
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Re: So confused about singing training

Post by Carmelca22 » Sun Nov 15, 2020 5:19 pm

Thank you! O:) That's really helpful - I'm going to have a look at the Voice Explained website now!
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Pandora II
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Re: So confused about singing training

Post by Pandora II » Mon Nov 16, 2020 6:22 pm

DD has 3 singing teachers at the moment.

Group singing with an Estill coach - lots of harmonies etc (1 hr/wk)
1:1 with teacher at school who focuses on MT (30 mins in term time)
1:1 with main teacher (1 hr/week all year) who does a mix of Bel Canto, Estill and other things.

I would say that the main work happens with the last one - they generally spend 30 minutes of the hour purely on exercises, particularly focused on support and making sure that the head voice and chest voice stay balanced. Voices change, especially with puberty and growth spurts, so sometimes you'll need to work some bits more than others.

I definitely hear the difference when there has been real solid focus on the exercises for a few weeks and it starts to come through in the songs. The school lessons aren't really long enough to achieve very much we are finding, so I would definitely say that you need to do an hour at a time.

DD isn't really interested in classical, so does a mix of MT, pop and soft rock. But, all her teachers want her to sing a lot of pre-1960's MT material and legit stuff which isn't always what DD fancies!

ETA: We purposely don't do exams for singing. Having seen what has happened with the piano (DD refuses to do anything more difficult than the current grade and doesn't play for fun because she's focused on the oh so important exam pieces), I'm glad we made that decision.

Carmelca22
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Re: So confused about singing training

Post by Carmelca22 » Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:37 pm

Hi Pandora, thanks! O:) this is so informative. Sounds like your DD is doing brilliantly. I am really glad to hear you have more than one teacher and also a group class - that's what my gut tells me DD needs right now but I thought maybe it was just me.

Laughed at what you said about trad MT material - my DD is the same but I think she just needs to put up with it! :lol: And I know exactly what you mean about exams - seems to me the quality of teaching matters more. DD only agreed to do the R&P exam because there's very little "set" work or sight singing so she can sing pretty much what she wants as long as it shows range. She hated piano exams too - managed one!

Can I ask how you found your main singing teacher? A mix of Bel Canto, Estill etc with lots of exercise / support sounds like just what we need.

George'smum
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Re: So confused about singing training

Post by George'smum » Wed Nov 18, 2020 5:28 pm

Just to add, an Estil qualified teacher won’t be one particular style, although they may have their area of expertise. It’s much more about understanding your voice & how to use it for whatever style you’re singing rather than say, mt, bel canto or pop etc. I would definitely recommend getting someone with experience of teaching lots of styles otherwise I’ve found that some teachers steer their students in their own direction.

amo185
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Re: So confused about singing training

Post by amo185 » Thu Nov 19, 2020 10:26 pm

DD has trained with Speech Level Singing. She is always complemented on her healthy voice and she copes well with all styles of singing. As has been said, a good teacher adapts to the needs of the student and that changes as their voice matures. Pre-1965 songs are often an audition requirement for MT courses hence teachers continuing to teach the technique for those. Worth doing the research to find a good teacher for a teenager.

Pandora II
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Re: So confused about singing training

Post by Pandora II » Fri Nov 20, 2020 11:45 am

Carmelca22 wrote:
Mon Nov 16, 2020 8:37 pm
Hi Pandora, thanks! O:) this is so informative. Sounds like your DD is doing brilliantly. I am really glad to hear you have more than one teacher and also a group class - that's what my gut tells me DD needs right now but I thought maybe it was just me.

Laughed at what you said about trad MT material - my DD is the same but I think she just needs to put up with it! :lol: And I know exactly what you mean about exams - seems to me the quality of teaching matters more. DD only agreed to do the R&P exam because there's very little "set" work or sight singing so she can sing pretty much what she wants as long as it shows range. She hated piano exams too - managed one!

Can I ask how you found your main singing teacher? A mix of Bel Canto, Estill etc with lots of exercise / support sounds like just what we need.
We're finding the multiple teacher approach is working very well, but I wouldn't recommend it until they have a few years of training under their belt and you need a main teacher who is experienced and happy to work around everyone else. DD has a music scholarship for singing and gets the school lessons for free - that has been the trickiest to manage as the teacher is aware they are not the only one and wasn't sure how it would all slot together. I had a tactful upfront conversation about how we would work around so nobody is stepping on each others toes or pulling in different directions!

DD would happily just sing Beetlejuice etc and nothing else, so always a bit of a battle to get her to do the old fashioned stuff. I basically read the riot act and said that she needed to treat them like scales - they are exercises that are good for you and you will get on with it. 9/10 she grows to love the song even if we had to deal with all the whinging at the start!

Finding the main singing teacher was a bit of a nightmare. DD was only 7 at the time, and was teaching herself from YouTube. She's always had quite a big voice and so I was getting increasingly worried about what she was up to. But lots of people won't teach a child of that age 1:1 and just suggest a nice choir. Which isn't exactly helpful when said child has absolutely no interest in singing in a choir and instead is belting 'Let It Go' and worse in their bedroom all evening!

I had quite a big wish list - I wanted someone who was a teacher and not a performer (no use having a teacher who disappears off on tour half the time), someone who could cover multiple genres, could play the piano rather than using backing tracks, and someone that I got on with and felt comfortable asking difficult questions. I did loads of research online and eventually found someone I liked the look of and whose credentials seemed in line with what I was after. Only problem was they didn't teach children anymore... but they agreed to meet DD, and let's just say that we've been going there now for nearly 4 years :D

Trial lessons are a good idea to see if you and the teacher click and child and teacher click. If it's not working on a basic chemistry level, then don't be scared to change. With DD's first piano teacher, she said to me after a few months that DD was very able, but it wasn't a good fit and gave me pointers of what to look for. I found a new teacher based on those and the difference has been incredible (mainly because DD can't twist him round her little finger or get away with anything!)

islandofsodor
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Re: So confused about singing training

Post by islandofsodor » Mon Nov 23, 2020 11:12 am

MY husband started out as a classically trained singer but is now qualified both with Estill and Vocal Process and he also continues to keep up to date with all the latest research. He uses SOVT techniques a lot to help with vocal function. The best teachers understand vocal function as well as style and can diagnose and help to correct problems. He investigated SLS but found it not be be based in science/anatomically incorrect.
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