Why The Right Teacher Matters
It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to find the right teacher when it comes to singing or learning an instrument. Discerning between qualifications, credentials, relevant experience, history, and most importantly an instructor's intuition, can be a challenging process especially amongst the noise of advertised flash sales, neon lit signs and general marketing gimmicks from most businesses categorizing themselves to be a "music school". The negative impact of an ill-matched or inexperienced teacher can hit like a wrecking ball, when realizing the result of lost time, expense, progress, interest, and even potential damage to the physique of a student's voice and instrumental abilities.
For those seeking to make a genuine commitment to learning to sing or play an instrument, the best place to start is with a proven and experienced teacher who puts your best interest first. This can be difficult to find inside the walls of many business-based music schools or academy's as they generally try to mass produce music lessons using high volumes of part-time short-term teachers, resulting in constant turnover and instability for the student. These instructors may also be recent graduates or even still students themselves, lacking real world experience in the teaching and performing fields. No matter what promotion is being offered or how much they advertise their smile, as a commercial business their primary intent is not of education but rather that of building out a customer base while trying to expand and capturing as many students as possible. Accredited music schools (those that are University, non-profit, or State/Federally funded), along with professional studios are generally application based and have a limited number of students with which they take on, drawing a distinction between those offering a true academic mentorship, and a business focused on rapidly building its customer base.
Some facilities will make outrageously exciting claims of being " NUMBER ONE", "MOST QUALIFIED" and/or any other fast track infomercial type presentation, however in reality suffer both low student retention as well as high teacher turnover rates. Despite this fact they will try to convince students that no matter what replacement teacher they get it will be someone better than the previous instructor. This speaks volumes of contradiction, both to the lack of staffing integrity in constant teacher flow as well as the misperception that any random teacher will suffice for a student. Additionally, these teachers may only carry three to five students, certainly not that of the "most experienced" when compared to the full-time roster of most professional coaches/instructors. Some businesses will even push legal boundaries plagiarizing other teaching resources as their own, one academy even attempting to lay claim and sell not only a stolen achievement program, but also unlicensed copyrighted material including sheet music, audio files, and other resources! Yikes.
When searching for a private teacher, helpful things to consider are the methods an instructor uses and if these appropriately match the direction you'd like to move in. With singers there should always be a method designed to strengthen and develop a voice while simultaneously providing techniques to relax, soothe, and gently care for the voice. Are you being taught both how to do something and why it is important or is the instructor just blindly giving direction. Learning music is not a "one size fits all", therefore templatized systems or similar programs of this type are never a good option. Additionally, consider the performance success, not just of the teacher but also that of their students.
Though there are places in the community with which a recreational music center can be beneficial, those that model a business are just that...a business....not an actually licensed or recognized school. With any commercial business the primary intent is to expand, mass produce, and capture revenue, unfortunately none of which esteems a student's best interest. There are private studios all over, as well as referral studios, University hosted community music programs, and many other credible and legitimate sources to pursue for music education. Remember to explore these options and always make sure your goals and aspirations match the training and experience of the instructor you work with.