1. First and foremost, feel safe, emotionally, physically and spiritually. When we train with a voice teacher, a voice coach or a singing teacher, psychologically speaking, we give them who we are. We are entrusting ourselves to them. Voice, whether for speaking or singing, is the only art form that is non-visual. We can't see your voice like we can see you play the piano or we can see you dance. We only receive the vibrational energy that emanates from within you.
2. When you entrust yourself to a voice teacher make sure you feel comfortable asking any and all questions. You should feel respected at all times and never intimidated. It is important for you to be allowed to record every lesson and go home and listen. Listening back helps objectify what took place in what sometimes feels like an ephemeral experience.
3. Your voice should never hurt during or after a lesson. Similarly, your body should feel free and less tense after your lessons. Yes, as you are learning your craft, your instrument is growing. New techniques take time to root and so, sometimes, there will be vocal irritation. Bring it to the teacher's attention if they themselves have not noticed and see if what they offer resolves the problem.
4. The teacher must be a consummate musician and have a grasp of the musical styles you want to learn as a singer. They must also have a grasp of significant artistic and vocal technique.
5. Make sure lessons include vocal "warm-ups" even if you are training with a voice teacher for media and public speaking. Frankly, most teachers in this context do not do this, but vocal warm-ups are fundamental to everything we do as communicators whether spoken or sung. An effective set of vocal exercises that are integrative and maximize your ability are essential.
6. Expect real progress within your first lesson. Progress can include specific things that you learn to prepare for your next lesson or worthwhile insights that you had never thought about or your voice feeling stronger and more robust. Your voice can develop in a fundamental way very quickly, so, look for meaningful progress in every lesson, vocally, experientially and intellectually.
7. Look for a teacher who is goal-oriented. It is important for the teacher to help you set short-and long-term goals because they care about why you are here and what you want to achieve. Make sure the teacher continues to challenge you to meet those goals over time.
When healthy, the student teacher relationship is one of mutual respect, trust and integrity. But remember no voice teacher can empower you, rather they can help you learn how to empower yourself.