Hello, Jeremy here. I wish I could answer the title question with a simple sentence. But since a coaching session includes vocal technique, performance coaching, intuition and diagnosis geared towards each individual person, that’s a little tricky!
And if it’s not possible for me to describe a coaching session, what would possess anyone to book one for themselves?
So I’m going to describe the type of growth change that happens in a coaching session and leave it to the participants who work with me online and in person on singing, speaking, presentation and voiceovers to tell you more.
Singing coaching session
I coached Swedish singer Linnéa Gustafsson online for an audition. We worked the two songs she was considering for the audition, and it was clear that she was extremely experienced and a fine technical singer, but something wasn’t “hitting”.
I used a combination of acting techniques, character psychology, musical structure understanding and harmonic diagnosis to help her find her story, her emotional landscape and her “take” for each song. In Linnéa’s own words it was “A revelation. Jeremy found “my way” of connecting with my voice and with the song, and always made sure I understood what he wanted me to do. I feel confident in the two songs I brought, but it also brought me a bigger perspective of myself as a performer.”
I worked online with another singer, Heidi Karlsson. Heidi is a very accomplished singer and often gets recalls but felt that she was getting conflicting messages in her auditions. She wanted me to pinpoint what was going wrong. I watched her sing one song and pointed out one thing (I can’t reveal it in a blog) that would make the difference she needed. She said: “it was an indescribable feeling for me to have someone looking at what I do, and being able to tell me exactly what my issue is, explain it so I understand it, give exercises, try it out and BOOM, finally the problem is nailed. And I understand what to do, but most important I feel what’s right and wrong now.”
I normally work fast in a coaching session – and this was no exception. I had spotted the main problem within a couple of minutes and spent the rest of the hour-long session creating and applying practical exercises that defined and changed the issue. Heidi said afterwards: “I describe it as REVOLUTIONARY. To me he nailed it completely. And he did it directly. So we had plenty of time to work on it, try different things and I ended the session with an incredible feeling of relief and happiness. He made it fun again. I always loved acting, but it turned into something anxious. Jeremy made it fun again. Magician!”
Online speaking voice coaching
I’m getting more speakers coming to me for vocal and performance coaching and it’s fascinating to see which vocal techniques transfer to spoken voice and which don’t. As we get into the higher-level business coaching, anonymity becomes more important, so I won’t be naming this client (sorry!).
This client wanted voiceover coaching. I love doing voiceovers myself so was happy to help. We worked a few sessions online and then he travelled to the UK to work with me in person in London. The scripts he was having to read were complex technical pieces with long sentences and industry jargon – they were also written by someone (not my client) using English as a second language so the scripts did not always flow. A challenge!
The particular hurdles with voiceover work include delivering sentence structure and sense without any visual cues and getting the tone right for the content. We worked on vocal technique, performance technique and tracking the sentence structure in each paragraph, extending and muting the pitch range, tempo and pauses. Here is his (typically succinct) feedback during and after the coaching sessions:
“Practical exercises to work on what I need. Always worked hard, packed every minute of every lesson. Good fun and motivating. Fantastic.”
“Informative, learned a lot, worked a lot, got better. Excellent coach. Adapted lessons to a point I was struggling with. Tailor-made really. Could see results quickly. Very professional.”
Vocal authority and authenticity
The next client is a performance artist and shaman. An incredibly creative artist, we had enormous fun diagnosing and solving issues including vocal presence, projection to a large group and tonal variation to fit her storytelling. After the first session she said: “WOW!!! I loved our Session. If you have ANY problems with your voice have a session because Jeremy can diagnose the problem, give you the solutions, and it’s just such fun too!”
“He saw things in me that I wasn’t able to see or trust. I feel really happy.” Coming from a shaman I think that is the nicest feedback I’ve ever received.
Who else wants a coaching session?
This year I’ve given coaching sessions online for every style of music from West End belt (“surprisingly easy online session, great tips on ‘true’ belting”) and current chart songs (“Finding that sweet spot of balance, my voice starts working better artistically”) to 19th century coloratura soprano arias and Grunge, men singing women’s songs, women singing men’s songs and a huge number of successful auditions for current shows in the West End and on tour. I’ve also given career advice for conductors, MDs, singers and singing teachers using, amongst other things, live mindmapping and screen-shared apps.
My clients like the online sessions because we can time them to fit busy schedules and they don’t have to leave home. I’m happy to coach singers acapella, with backing tracks, and on a couple of memorable occasions, with live musicians in the room with the singer (I coached them too). And in 20 years of online coaching I have only had one person who didn’t like the format so we switched to in-person sessions.
If any of the people or situations in this article resonate with you, or you want to find out more about your voice, your skills and your performing career, I’d love to help. Click here to book a session with me online or in person in London or Presteigne.
I’ll leave the last word to one of my current in-person clients from a session last week: “Fun, exploratory, informative, useful, fantastic. No time wasted at all”.