Quick note before this blog:
YES, I do offer vouchers for singing lessons, if you would like to buy a session for someone near & dear as a last minute/late Christmas gift! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get yours! 🙂
Now, about the value of coaches…
My job has various titles. You could call me a “singing teacher”, or “voice tutor”, or, the one I like the best, “vocal coach”.
I have enlisted the help of coaches in varying areas of my life, with great results. If you want to get good at something, if you want to get results, you need to learn from the best.
I have my own vocal coaches in Melbourne, Stephanie and Gerald of The Voice Gym, who have taught me vocal physiology & anatomy through the Estill Voice Training Model. Of course I’ve had many other vocal teachers throughout my life as well.
I’ve taken advantage of coaching sessions from productivity/life coaches, as well as top notch relationship/authentic relating coaches, and unmasked hidden patterns holding me back in all areas of my life. I’ve joined an award-winning local “group personal training” fitness group called Booty, run by a totally awesome personal trainer (who I plan to get a one-on-one session with when she has space available).
All of these sessions have completely skyrocketed my productivity, wellness, motivation, knowledge, and abilities in all areas of my life.
Most of the new students that come to me are complete beginners, or singers who have had little to no formal training. They all get excited by the great results they feel and hear after just a little while of working together; and the knowledge they gain in each and every session. Of course I love working with singers from all backgrounds and levels of experience!
But I want to reach out now to the more experienced vocalists – singers who have been singing for years, maybe with training at an institution from great teachers, maybe self-taught but with years of experience. Singers doing gigs, recording albums, moving forward with their passion. These singers might tend to rest on their laurels a little. I know; I was the same. You’ve had a few teachers, perhaps, and feel like you’ve kind of heard it all before.
How many times can you be told to “breathe to your diaphragm”, “place the sound forward”, and open your mouth more?
One day, a friend told me about The Voice Gym teachers and highly recommended I go see them. I am usually very careful/stingy with my money, but I happened to be going to Melbourne anyway and took the plunge. I am SO glad I did! I learnt more about how my voice works in that first hour session than I had learnt in almost 20 years of singing lessons, including during my Bachelor of Music. I quickly signed up for the week-long Estill Level 1 & 2 course they were running in Sydney in January 2013. It was no cheap feat to attend the workshop, spare the time, and fly to Sydney. But it was SO, so worth it. Learning this stuff changed my life as a singer and as a teacher. I continued to study for the rest of the year and in September took and passed my Estill Ceritificate of Figure Proficiency Test.
I have taught Conservatorium graduates who were studying at the same time as me, and had great feedback about the work that we do together. I have taught singers who have been gigging for years and seen the excitement in their faces when they realise the simplicity behind moving past that one area of their voice that has been bugging them for so long.
Getting a coach is VITAL to success and pushing past the barriers that are holding you back.
To illustrated this point, below I have pasted a recent email from Ramit Sethi, author of I Will Teach You To Be Rich and general well known expert-on-awesomeness. It landed in my inbox today and really made me nod my head in agreement.
Check it out below, and you know where to find me, fellow singers, if you want to increase your awesomeness in 2014 and put yourself firmly on the path to greatness!
|What do Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods have that you don’t?
No, not $100mm. They have something you could get today. But curiously, almost nobody does.
Atul Gawande, a surgeon and staff writer for the New Yorker, posed a fascinating question:
“…I watched Rafael Nadal play a tournament match on the Tennis Channel. The camera flashed to his coach, and the obvious struck me as interesting: even Rafael Nadal has a coach. Nearly every élite tennis player in the world does. Professional athletes use coaches to make sure they are as good as they can be.
But doctors don’t. I’d paid to have a kid just out of college look at my serve. So why did I find it inconceivable to pay someone to come into my operating room and coach me on my surgical technique?”
Why do the world’s top athletes, singers, and entrepreneurs have coaches…and we don’t?
STOP! Notice how we automatically get defensive when we try to answer that question:
- Well, they can afford it”
- “It’s their job to be the best, so a coach makes sense”
- “Maybe later in my career, but I’m not ready for that”
In fact, it’s exactly the OPPOSITE!
The world’s best didn’t become that good on their own. They had help, lots of it.
This is the same as people who say, “I can’t invest until I get rich.” WRONG! You get rich BY investing.
How could a coach help you? Let me give you a few unconventional examples (the word “coach” can be applied creatively):
High-end hairdresser: A highly skilled hairdresser might cost 3x (or even 20x) the normal price…but can show you why a certain look suits you better than the normal Supercuts look you’ve been getting. (Btw, see what I mean? Would you have ever thought of a high-end hairdresser as a coach?)
Personal trainer: When I used to work out on my own, I would go to the gym, do a bunch of random machines, and wonder why I wasn’t getting results. The first time I worked out with a trainer, he showed me how to improve what I’d already been doing. This has been one of the best investments I’ve ever made.
Stylist: I have a stylist friend who says, “Of course I’m better at this than the average person. It’s not that I’m a genius…it’s that I do this all day, every day.” I’ve seen her before-and-after work, and it totally transforms the person.
Business coach: I paid a business coach tens of thousands of dollars for the privilege of flying from NYC to LA, once/month for 15 months, just for 45 minutes of his time. It was another one of the best investments I’ve ever made. Not only did it pay for itself (many times over), I’ll keep the knowledge I learned forever.
Other examples: Language coach, cooking instructor, relationship/dating coaches, and many more!
The very best coaches can spot your problem areas and, since they’ve worked with tons of clients just like you, they can gently recommend strategies to help you overcome them…skyrocketing your success. I’ve seen it myself MANY times with MANY different experts I’ve worked with.
HERE’S THE POINT: You can do it on your own — and you should! But at a certain point, you’ll want a little extra help to become the very best. I remember scoffing at paying for SAT tutoring back in high school. I said, “I can just read the books.” Until I finally got one and I saw what a big difference it makes to have someone there, working with you day after day.
So, I want to challenge you: What’s ONE area where you could use a coach?
Eliminate your barriers (the #1 barrier is about cost: “I can’t afford $100/hour for the next 10 years!”) and strip it down: What if you just hired a coach for 2 sessions? Could you ask for a longer payment plan?
I changed my perspective from
“I have to do this on my own” + “people charging are just trying to scam me”
“I need help, and I’m willing to invest in myself to be the best”
And it has been absolutely pivotal in my success. If I can share just one thing with you today, it’s this: Be willing to invest in yourself, even for $20. Know that someone out there has seen your problem and can help you solve it.
That’s my challenge to you: Find ONE person you invest in, even for $20, to tackle your biggest goal for 2014.