difference between voice teacher & vocal coach

Vocal coach or voice teacher: what is the difference?

Many tutors confuse singers mentioning both vocal coach and voice teacher.

Do they both mean the same thing? In reality, each job has a different set of goals, instructional methods, and educational levels. Is it necessary to have both if you want to be a professional singer?

I’ll teach you what they mean, how to choose one, and how to improve your singing technique.

WHAT DOES A Vocal Coach DO?

The term “vocal coach” is most searched for on Google, social media, and YouTube.

Assuming the student can already sing and has a good technique, the vocal coach is an instrumentalist, in general, a professional pianist accompanist who helps you prepare for:

  • a live audition, concert, or recording in popular music genres
  • study a complete opera role
  • learn a Broadway musical character

Vocal coaches help you with:

  • Diction, phrasing, and pronunciation regardless of your native language
  • Song pitch, dynamics, rests, and when to breathe
  • Choosing tailored arrangements, riffs, and runs to make the song your own version
  • Suggestions for the right song material or style for you based on your age, interest, level, and technical ability
  • Songs interpretation, understanding the meaning and poetry in various styles, expressing your emotions, and feeling the music
  • Charisma, stage presence, and body language
  • Your physical appearance and attire
  • Stage movement, and acting
  • Microphone technique
  • Improving your overall performance

Anyone can become a voice coach, regardless of prior singing experience or formal training in vocal pedagogy or technique.

microphone for singers

WHAT DOES A Voice Teacher DO?

Whether you sing pop, rock, country, R&B, Jazz, or opera, a voice teacher focuses on the technical aspects of singing, determining what is best for each student’s instrument.

Consider him or her to be your third ear, giving you instructions on how to understand your body and voice, as well as how to break bad habits that could interfere with your natural singing and speaking sound.

Voice teachers help you with:

  • Evaluating your abilities, range, and stamina
  • Getting rid of bad habits like nasality, and throaty tone
  • Ensuring smooth transition and blending between registers without crack, strain, or vocal break
  • Improving your body posture
  • Reducing hoarseness, strain, and vocal fatigue
  • Building a healthy solid foundation for your singing technique, breathing mechanism, and proper support through a selective training program that includes warm-up exercises
  • Applying the vocal technique to a song repertoire
  • Increasing comfort and confidence through repetition and proper practice
  • Improving your speaking voice as well by employing similar principles as a speech therapist
  • Vocal coaching focused on diction, dynamics, song interpretation, and live performance tips
  • Getting ready for auditions for college or conservatory entrance exams, competitions, and TV shows
  • Singing a cover song or recording your original songs in a studio or at home
  • Stage presence and acting
  • Microphone technique, including how to connect with the audience and maintain credibility while performing
proper breathing for singers

To become a voice teacher, you must preferably be a singer yourself, with sufficient stage experience in the styles and music genres you teach.

The teacher may have a university degree or a teaching certificate.

Be aware of the rise in the number of unskilled singing teachers, particularly after COVID-19, with their ‘ready to sing-along’ video tutorials on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok.

Every voice is unique, so do some preliminary research on the teacher you want to work with, whether they offer singing lessons in your area or online. Check reviews and testimonials, and ask his or her students. Discover their website, as well as the content and information that has been shared.

A trial singing lesson would also aid in understanding the teaching method.

correct posture for singers

WHICH IS THE BEST CHOICE FOR YOU? A TEACHER OR COACH?

Many voice teachers are multi-talented enough to teach both technique and song interpretation.

As a voice teacher with personal stage experience as a soloist in:

  • Italian classical arias
  • pop-opera show
  • symphonic metal band (covering Epica, After Forever, Nightwish)
  • Jazz cover band (part of the female choir)
  • acoustic band performing French and English pop classics

My singing and performance experience in a variety of music genres, combined with nearly 13 years of teaching experience for beginners and emerging independent artists both online and in-studio, allowed me to teach students vocal technique while also working on the artistry of their songs.

I recommend that you gradually develop your voice by learning the fundamentals of proper technique. If you believe that your current voice teacher is unable to provide you with performance-oriented skills, you can work in parallel with a vocal coach who will not interfere with your teacher’s technical guidelines.


Be wary of inexperienced voice teachers who may teach a faulty bad technique that can ruin a voice.

Similarly, if a vocal coach selects the wrong repertoire for you, whether challenging or advanced songs, regardless of your vocal ability, you will risk forcing your voice, creating nodules, and possibly damaging your vocal cords.

About the author

Rita Hokayem

I am a soprano opera singer, voice teacher with over 13 years of experience, and digital marketer.
I teach online singing lessons for beginners and professional singers in pop, rock, R&B, country, oriental Arabic music, and pop opera.
My blog contains a series of interviews and articles about interesting topics related to the life of a musician and singer.
I am currently based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

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