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“Teacher”, “Coach” – What’s The Diff?

Get the right person to help you improve your singing –says Kim Chandler

When we singers are looking to improve our game and get some coaching or training, we search around and find people describing themselves as:

Singing teacher, Vocal Coach, Voice Coach, Singing Voice Specialist, Rehabilitation Coach…

Are these interchangeable terms, or are there essential differences between these terms?

Let’s take a look…

Singing Teacher: This is a more traditional term for someone who teaches vocal/singing technique, i.e. posture, breathing, tonal balancing and register transition, optimizing vocal range, agility, articulation, etc.

Vocal Coach: In the classical world, a vocal coach is the person who teaches repertoire and leaves the technique side to the singing teacher. Vocal coaches in this regard don’t even need to be singers themselves, but could be excellent accompanists instead – usually pianists, who help singers to learn songs and concentrate on the interpretive side of a wide range of classical repertoire.

However, in the contemporary commercial world, a vocal coach covers both the role of the singing teacher in teaching technique in addition to the more usual interpretive side. Coaches may also be genre-specific. This is where the terms can be a little confusing for the ‘consumer’.

Voice Coach: is generally associated with training the speaking voice instead of the singing voice. However, some voice coaches cover both singing and speaking, but it’s best to clarify this matter up front.

Singing Voice Specialist/Rehabilitation Coach: this is more of a medical descriptor for the inclusion of an adequately trained and experienced singing teacher in the context of a voice clinic team to help rehabilitate singers with injured voices.

The bottom line is to clarify exactly what sort of help or training you’re looking for, from whom and for what sort of singing at what sort of level.

Kim’s Voice Cross Trainer App is available now. It’s based on her popular “Funky ‘n Fun” vocal training series.

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Kim Chandler is one of the UK’s top contemporary vocal coaches. She has a busy private studio in London and her clients include well-known artists, artists in development, professional singers and other vocal coaches. She is the current President of the British Voice Association, lead coach at Abbey Road Studios corporate events and creator of the popular “Funky ‘n Fun” vocal training series.