A vocal coach is a music professional who provides training to singers who want to improve their singing and care for their voices so they can enjoy a lifetime of performance. Vocal coaching is heavily used by professional musicians, who tend to work with a vocal coach for life, and amateur singers and enthusiasts can also benefit from sessions. Vocal coaches may be singers themselves, and they can also be graduates of schools of music. Some have also attended educational programs for voice training and may be members of professional organizations interested in maintaining high standards for vocal instruction.
When someone initially meets with a vocal coach, the coach usually asks the person a sing to get an idea of the singer's range and musical interests. The coach pays close attention to the singer's form, looking for the singer's potential and identifying areas where the singer needs to improve. This information is used to develop a plan for working with the singer to expand the vocal range, improve the quality of the voice, and develop skills applicable to specific musical styles such as singing opera.
Frequency of meetings with a vocal coach vary, and singers are also expected to exercise at home, using homework provided by the coach. Vocal coaches, in addition to teaching people how to sing better, also provide instruction in caring for the voice. If a student experiences a medical problem involving the voice, like laryngitis, the vocal coach can work with a doctor to advise the singer through treatment and recovery, using gentle exercises to rebuild the voice without risking further injury.
Singers preparing for specific performances commonly work closely with a vocal coach as they are getting ready. The coach can help the singer select a repertoire and work with the singer through rehearsals to keep the voice strong, crisp, and clear. Vocal coaches may also identify singing opportunities for their students and help them get ready, and can assist people with preparation for singing auditions.
Many vocal coaches work independently, although some may be employed by choruses and other musical organizations to train their singers. The work can involve travel, as some coaches travel to the homes or studios of their clients and travel with singers as they perform. Pay varies, depending on level of skill and the types of singers the coach works with; someone providing voice lessons to children, for example, will receive a lower pay rate than a vocal coach who works with world-renowned musicians.