• FAME Performing Arts

More Than A Voice Teacher

Updated: Feb 15, 2019

By: Michelle Graham

Growing up, I thought that I could get to be the best singer that I could be by singing in the choir; but I learned after only six months of private lessons how wrong I was. Sure, I learned very basic music reading skills in choir. I grew in my confidence, social skills, and knowledge of the world around me. Most importantly, I learned how to sing in a choir. As a choral director myself, I can tell you that the focus of a choral director is to get the best sound from a group of singers, not an individual singer.

I’m going to be very honest right now; it’s very frustrating for as a voice teacher to pour all of your energy and knowledge into a student to help them prepare for auditions into choirs/music institutions, only to have them drop you as soon as they get into that desired group or school, and NOT for the reasons you might be thinking!

Allow me to use a sports analogy: you have a child with a golden pitching arm. You spend loads of money with a trainer or training/coaching organization to get said child on that super-duper ultra-expensive traveling team in the hopes that the child will one day get called to the majors without even stopping at the farm team along the way.

Well, do you think that the individual training stops once the team accepts the golden arm?


You spend more money on private trainers because most likely the team has not just one Golden Arm, it also has a few other potential Golden Arms that are hoping to get the coveted spot on the mound, with the same dreams of being spotted by that Major League team who will scoop him/her and proceed straight to “ the Show”!

What about that child with the Golden Pipes? Despite what a lot of voice teachers believe, it’s never too soon to start teaching our children to sing. (That’s another blog post coming soon.) In a group of 20 or more children, a choir director does not want any one voice to stand out. It’s a choir director’s job and desire to have all voices sound like one. A choir director usually does not have time to focus on working with individual vocal issues.

What happens when hormonal changes occur, and voices change? Let me tell you first hand, some interesting tones come from changing voices- not all pleasant to hear! A voice teacher can help prepare young voices for and offer comfort and technical expertise when the inevitable maturation in their voices occur.

As a voice teacher, I don’t just teach my students how to sing. I don’t want to be just a voice teacher to them. I am a confidant. I am their biggest fan (next to the parents, of course). I am there to encourage, mentor, and challenge.

As a somewhat objective person in the student's life, I am a voice teacher am sometimes in the best position to encourage the student. There have been times when I’ve been that shoulder to cry on when a song touched on emotional memories, or life-happenings. I can be all of these things to and for my students because I have built a relationship with them.

That relationship comes with time spent with students. The more time students spend with their teacher the more they trust their teacher. This trust leads to growth, and that growth leads to GREATNESS in a student.

My students can trust me and believe what I have to say; therefore, they are able to improve and grow as musicians.

Do you want your child to be the best singer that he/she could be?


Written by Michelle Graham. Michelle has been singing since birth according to her mother. She started singing in a church choir when she was in 4th grade and fell in love with singing. Well, actually she fell in love with performing. Michelle went on to earn her BA in Vocal Performance from the University of South Carolina. She is a professional Choir Director and the founder of "Choral Arts Experience", a Music Theatre Teacher/Director at Flowertown Players in Summerville, has taught music classes at Brookwood Church in Greenville, and is a private voice & piano instructor. Michelle lives in Mt. Pleasant and is also a mother of two; her children are O'Neill & Emma.


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