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Singing Teacher or Coach?

Friends, 

I've noticed that Thumbtack has dropped the term "teacher" from it's voice/singing teacher referrals. I contacted their support team about this. As a 5-year top pro, I think I speak with some authority. I was told that they use a computer program that selects the most common term and uses that. 

I recognize that most people don't know the difference between a teacher and coach, and that coach has become the preferred term, but the work done by teachers and coaches is very different. I'm a singing teacher. Yes, I coach as part of the voice lessons, but I'm a teacher. 

I recently posted the following on my Facebook page: Claim Your Voice and Sing. I also shared it with Thumbtack Support. I think it's important for the pros to keep these jobs straight, even if the students and Thumbtack don't know it. I'd appreciate other pros thoughts on this.

Do you need a teacher or a coach? That depends on what you want. The jobs are very different.

Singer teachers are first and foremost singers themselves. They should be highly trained in how the human voice works. They'll work on things like singing on pitch, having an even range from bottom to top. On average, women have 2-1/2 octaves or more. Men have about 2 octaves. A teacher will help you find your entire range.

Teachers work on giving the student healthy, strain-free voices. They work on perfecting the instrument. Some teachers also specialize in certain styles, such as classical or Broadway, but the primary focus is always the voice itself.

Coaches are most frequently primarily pianists. They'll be expert in performance practice, in different styles, in the totality of the music. If the student has learned a song, but as no idea how the melody fits with the accompaniment, that's a coach's job. Most of the coaches I've worked with have been virtuoso performers, whether on piano or another instrument.

There are also specialty coaches, such as a coach for Baroque, or for a specific composer. I've worked with a wonderful jazz guitarist who's coached me in jazz style.

Coaches are not expected to know how to sing.

The easiest way to tell if someone is a teacher or a coach is how well they play the piano or their instrument. Although there certainly are exceptions, so this isn't hard and fast, in general, if the teacher/coach plays the piano very proficiently, that will be a coach. If they sing very well, but play little more than scales, that's a teacher.

There's a place for both.

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Moderator Meckell
Moderator

Re: Singing Teacher or Coach?

@ClaimYourVoice thanks for reaching out and bringing this to the Community. You bring up some great points and I'll be sure to pass your feedback along! 

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