The difference between a vocal coach and a voice teacher can be a bit vague in definition. Though the two terms are sometimes seen as semantics and are often used interchangeably, there is a difference. The titles are also blurred a bit even within the profession. For example, some voice teachers call themselves vocal coaches and some vocal coaches have the capabilities to be voice teachers. It is important to know the distinction when seeking help in technique or style because voice teachers can be coaches if they choose to, but not all vocal coaches can be voice teachers. I am both, but principally and predominantly a voice teacher.
My explanation is not a textbook description, but it will help you understand the association of each title. Because the titles can be confused, it is very important that students are knowledgeable when looking to find help in improving as singers—do they want to work on technique with a voice teacher or work on interpretive ideas with a vocal coach, or both.
A voice teacher is a professional (mainly on a scholarly level) who provides students with techniques on how to use their voice healthily and tension-free. These are professionals with extensive knowledge about how to properly use voice for greater ease, range, and balance, which are vital to a singer for longevity and better vocal production. Voice teachers are trained singers and usually hold degrees within the realm of voice.
Some voice teachers specialize in a particular genre or style depending on their background, but the foundational methods and techniques for proper voice usage are generally the same. In other words, voice teachers are experts in the practical application of the science of voice and are very skilled in the technique of singing.
Vocal coaches, on the other hand, are more apt at helping singers with musical style, expression, and how to “sell” a song. These professionals may not hold degrees in voice but have extensive experience in the art of singing. Their main focus is on improvement in performance—how to get the maximum on-stage presence and showmanship. And though coaches may touch on breath support and phrasing, many may not be proficient in the technical aspects of singing.
In addition, vocal coaches are likely to work with more advanced, trained singers while voice teachers work with all levels of skill, including singers who have developed any sort of voice problems.
I truly hope this article helps you make the right decision in your journey to healthy singing and sensational performing!
By: Cassandra Claude