A Day in the Life of The Voice Teacher

Posted by Nicola Breeze Posted in Featured, Latest News, Student Blog

Reading, England – 6th February 2018 – From working with drama school students to coaching well-known faces from TV and theatre, there’s no such thing as an average day! Our Jamie Read opens up about an average day.

Jamie’s private practice is on Brick Lane in London, but he lives in West Berkshire and is co-founder and Faculty Director for Voice at READ College in Reading. This means that a fair amount of time is spent travelling from one location to the next… However, it’s amazing how much you can cram into a day if you love what you do!

Take today for example, which is a Tuesday. The first lesson of the day would usually be a one hour ‘Vocal Tech’ class for the Musical Theatre students at READ College in Reading, but today Jamie was seconded on an outreach project to a school in Newbury where he taught a 90 minute Harmony Singing workshop to 40 GCSE and A Level music students. As soon as the session is finished, Jamie heads into London to meet his first private client at 12.30, but no time is wasted whilst travelling – the train journey is used to plan next week’s classes for READ College, including Musical Theatre, Actor’s Vocal Technique, Ensemble Singing, Contextual Studies and lots of other subjects that fall under Jamie’s tutelage.

Once in the London studio, vocal coaching appointments for the day include:

  • A regular client who sings with a theatre company in London and wants to develop her upper register. Jamie uses teaching strategies developed in his Post Graduate research to help with this, working with exercises for pharyngeal width and jaw position.
  • A recent drama school graduate who is finding his high belting very successful but struggling to relax into lower pitches. Jamie recognises that the student’s breath pressures and larynx position are too high and uses the Estill Voice Figures and some Accent Method breathing to release these issues.
  • A choral singer who wants to explore and understand his voice better, being fairly new to singing. He has been told he is a bass voice, but Jamie recognises that he is more comfortably a high baritone and works on some new repertoire with him. They also work on Belting technique and release of unnecessary breath pressure.
  • A TV and Film actor, who feels frustrated that his voice is trapped in too high a pitch range and wants to be able to access lower, more resonant sounds. Jamie identifies that his larynx needs to be lower placed, and that his pharynx is not configured to get the maximum amount of resonance from his lower register. Several exercises are used to combat these, and Jamie uses Voiceprint spectrographic software to help the client visualise the changes that he is making vocally.

At the end of these coaching sessions, Jamie types up the clients’ notes from the session and emails over any practice exercises or sheet music required. Time is now put aside to work on Post Graduate research as part of Jamie’s ongoing PGCERT in Professional Practice (Vocal Pedagogy), and he spends 2 hours researching and making notes on vocal resonance and acoustics which will form the basis of his next research project. As a leading London vocal coach, one of the most important principles for Jamie is to constantly further his own research and knowledge to better help his voice coaching clients.

At the end of this day, Jamie does a short vocal cool down to relax out his own voice, and then heads back home ready to start the process again. Every day provides different voices and different challenges to diagnose and work with, which is why being a vocal coach will never, ever be boring!

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