How to choose the right singing teacher for you?

by Namini Panchala
    ☰ 6th Sept. 2021

Singing Classes and Teachers

If you are looking for a vocal coach or singing teacher, there are several things you should look for. Here are some tips to help you find the right teacher for you.

Be clear about your current skill level

Be honest about how well you can currently sing. I recommend getting an opinion from a professional musician or singer, as they can identify your weaknesses and how much you need to improve. Make sure you ask them to be unbiased when assessing you.

Be clear about your requirements


Do you want to sing Hotel California, Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, or a Hindustani Raga? What I mean is, what is (are) the genre(s) that you want to sing?

Exams or no exams?

If you are looking for a qualification, you might want to pass certain exams. There are many exams that you can take for singing, the most common ones in Sri Lanka being the Visharad exams for Hindustani music and the Trinity College and Royal Schools exams for Western music.

But remember that a good singer does not always need exam qualifications. The ultimate test of your skills is if you can perform well in front of an audience.

A good singer is not always a good teacher

This applies to any subject, not just singing. A good teacher should know the subject AND know how to pass down the knowledge to others. The best way to determine whether a good singer is a good teacher is to observe the teacher’s current students. Can the teacher’s students sing well or not? There are plenty of good singers but only few good teachers.

A good teacher should always be a good singer

If the teacher doesn’t know how to sing properly, they won’t be able to teach it properly. Pretty obvious. In addition, if you want to take examinations, you will want to find a teacher who is qualified to teach for those exams. The best singing teachers continue to improve on their own singing skills too.

There may be rare exceptions to this. For instance, throat operations or other illnesses may prevent teachers from singing well. But if they used to be good singers, they may be able to pass on that knowledge to you.

A good teacher will first assess your current skill level.

Before diving into lessons, a good teacher should determine your current skill level, so that he/she can adapt the lessons to your needs.

A good teacher helps you improve your OWN voice.

If you listen to songs around the world, you will hear many types of voices. Gone are the days where you need to sound like Latha Mangeshkar or Maria Callas to be considered a good singer. Think of popular singers like Billie Eilish, Lorde, or Tom Waits.

A good teacher must always respect your own voice. That’s part of your identity. The teacher should also respect your vocal range without limiting you to theirs (“vocal range” basically means how low and high you can sing).

A good teacher teaches you to warm up your voice.

Much like you warm up before exercising your body, it’s a good idea to warm up before exercising your voice. A good teacher should show you how.

A good teacher pays attention to your ear.

By “ear” I’m talking about your ability to listen to a note or chord and sing to pitch or recognize the chords you hear. This is important because we often sing with other accompanying singers or instruments.

Ear training is not just important for singing. Any good music teacher should know how to train someone’s ear.

A good teacher believes in you.

I believe that if you can speak, you can sing (Lots of professional voice trainers will agree). Singing has been a natural part of life since the early days of civilization. Our bodies are built to sing, just like they are built to speak, eat, and walk.

Whether a teacher agrees with this or not, he/she should believe in YOU.

Music Teacher
Namini Panchala
Music/Singing/Voice Tutor - Colombo
Contact: 077 202 1974

Namini in a Sri Lankan musician currently involved in music teaching, singing-songwriting, and film music direction. She teaches both adults and children piano, violin, singing, and guitar, and in each lesson gives significance to self-expression and composition from the beginning.