Professional Musical Theatre singing lessons and vocal coaching

Vocal coaching for Musical Theatre singers

Professional, evidence-based Theatre singing lessons designed to maximise your vocal potential.

  • Smooth out any vocal breaks
  • Learn to interpret text and act through singing
  • Control the tone and emotion of your voice
  • Learn to Belt - without straining!
  • Gain flexibility
  • Increase range and power
  • Prepare for auditions and shows

Acting through song

Musical Theatre is possibly the most demanding of all styles of singing. Although Classical singing is the most physically strenuous, Musical Theatre requires a subtle interpretation of words and music that puts a huge emphasis on the singer's control of their voice.

In Musical Theatre, every note that you sing must portray an emotional content which reflects the mood of the song at that point. This has to be very clear to the audience and must match the text. An efficient Musical Theatre (MT) singing technique therefore has to give you the freedom to express subtle changes in emotion and intention, regardless of where you are in your vocal range. In other words, you must be able to sing ANY note with ANY tone of voice.

This control can only come from specific vocal techniques - a thorough understanding of how the voice works, how, when and why register changes happen, and how you can manipulate the sound throughout your range to maintain your desired tone - and therefore keep the connection to the text.

I absolutely love having my vocal lessons with Andy! I have a much better understanding of how my voice works and ways that I can use it in order to get a specific sound. I didn’t realise just how complex and precise the voice was until I started lessons with Andy, however he has made it easy to find new ways to use and improve my voice. Andy and I have been working towards my auditions for drama schools by perfecting my chosen songs section by section. Not only has Andy helped me with anything I was struggling with in my audition songs, but he has also given me advice on the type of songs to choose and how to present your songs in an audition. Without Andy’s help I would not have been able to gain a place at my top choice of Drama School; GSA (Guildford School of Acting)!

Georgia Richards, Musical Theatre performer

Modern vocal techniques

Traditional, Classical singing lessons are not appropriate for modern musical theatre singers. Whereas classical singers are taught the Bel Canto style (literally 'beautiful singing') of singing, MT performers need a vocal technique that allows them to portray a much greater range of emotions in a way that is direct and convincing. In theatre, you often have to make sounds that are far from 'beautiful singing' but which must be real, natural - and perfectly safe.

Singing techniques which insist that you should / must transition from one mode to another at a specific point in your range may work very well for Classical and Pop music, but are too inflexible to work in MT. This is not to say that MT singers' voices don't follow the same physical rules as others, rather that the MT singer is aware of those rules but knows how and when to bend them to serve them best.

For example, a 'method' which states that you always have to shift from 'Head' to 'Chest' on your '2nd bridge', for example, is NOT suitable for MT work. There are occasions when an MT singer has to delay or advance the gear change from one register to another in order to maintain a consistent tone.

NB If you or your teacher are still thinking in terms of 'Head and Chest voices', you probably need to read this explanation.

Isn't it all about Belt?

No, not at all. Although Belting (the exciting, high energy form of singing so prevalent in the West End and on Broadway) is an essential skill for any MT singer, it's a sound that's only briefly used in a song - you'd never Belt from beginning to end. The bulk of your singing therefore depends on skilful use of many different Voice Qualities or 'mixes'.

When training an MT singer, Andy will cover the following:

  • Flexible posture
  • Efficient breath flow
  • Phonation types
  • Control of register changes
  • Resonance choices
  • Clear diction
  • Interpretation of text

The above elements need good muscle strength, stamina and coordination, and lessons are designed to build these in a logical, progressive sequence.

Training for the West End

Andy Follin is a Master Trainer of Estill Voice Training™ (EVT) - a 'voice model' that puts the singer in complete control of their instrument. With EVT, the singer is empowered to make subtle choices, to use their voice in a natural way, and to take ownership of their own artistry.

For almost two decades now, EVT has led the way in training Musical Theatre performers, contributing to the 'modern theatre sound'. It was EVT that defined Belt (or Belting). Indeed, 'Belt' was a term coined by Jo Estill herself.

EVT gives the singer control over the various components of the voice, allowing an infinite range of tonal values. Although the learning process is demanding, the end result more than justifies the means. As one singer said, 'it's like I've traded my 12 crayon box for a 120 crayon box. I have so many options'.

So many directors, conductors and agents are now aware of EVT that it is fast becoming an essential item on the CV of anyone looking to pursue a career in Musical Theatre. A grounding in Estill Voice Training™ quickly shows that you're serious about your voice - and your career.

I have worked with Andy for less than a year and he is truly the best teacher I’ve ever had in any field. He’s super professional, honest and kind. I’d never had any singing lessons when I started with him and he built my confidence and technique so quickly. I highly recommend him to anyone! I had a fantastic time working with him and due to his help I’m going to a top drama school after only one audition. This is all down to Andy and his amazing techniques, not only in singing, but in navigating audition technique. I can’t thank Andy enough!

Katie Farrell, Musical Theatre performer

Musical Theatre specialist

As the only Estill Master Trainer (EMTs) licensed to teach EVT in the North West of England, Andy is uniquely placed to assist musical theatre singers in the area. Although EVT gives him the skill sets to teach all forms of singing (he runs separate Classical and CCM training companies) the bulk of his work at Vocal Skills is in training young, aspiring Musical Theatre singers (from age 14 upwards).

He has a great track record of placing students at all the top MT colleges and Drama Schools and over the past 20 years has sent pupils to:

  • Mountview
  • Guildford School of Acting (GSA)
  • Arts Educational
  • Central School of Speech and Drama
  • Royal Academy of Music
  • Urdang
  • Italia Conti
  • Royal Welsh
  • Royal Scottish
  • Read College
  • PPA
  • MTA
  • LSMT
  • ASMT
  • and many others

He also works with professionals preparing for auditions, tours and contracts, post-graduate students looking to apply to agents and colleges, and A level and GCSE pupils who are seeking entry into the industry.

Become the singer you've always wanted to be

Discover your true potential and take control of your future

Coaching designed around you

Andy is a full-time, professional vocal coach, not a school teacher, singer or pianist giving a few singing lessons in their spare time. Unlike a lot of voice teachers, Andy does not insist on long-term tuition, where students have to attend regular lessons, repeating the same exercises until their voice improves. You can attend as often as you like, but there's no compulsion to attend every week or every fortnight. In fact, many students only book sessions every 4 to 6 weeks.

Estill Voice Training™ is known for producing quick results. Quite often, Andy finds that long-standing problems can be fixed in the first few lessons. At your first session, Andy will give you an assessment of your abilities and draw up a plan that ensures you get to where you want to be, as quickly as possible.

If you're ready to take your voice - and career - to the next level, book a lesson with Andy today (see bottom of page).

Specialist lessons

Ready to take the next step?

If so, click to contact Andy, and book your lesson now