Within 1 year, I have had over 100 lessons with Jeffrey Talbot (way to many in my opinion, but he said three lessons a week would be the only way really to make true progress) who teaches in Russel Square. I came to London just to study with him after listening to recordings of one of his students. He charges 75 pounds an hour.
I did not make any progress at all during those lessons but was led into believing in my progress by his promises of not recognising my voice after 6 months initially, then revised to one year.
Jeffrey Talbot is a singer with a solid technique without a doubt, but he keeps it to himself and lets the student pay and wait until actually giving him knowledge, which can take several years. He purposely prolongs the process of learning and succeeds in it because of his natural charm and ability to demonstrate and praise the student and telling him how much he wants him to progress.
A typical lessons looks like this: heavy vocalizing for 50 minutes and a bit of singing at the end. He lets the student sing up to high C's and beyond no matter at what level he/she is, and the voice will be very tired at the end of the lesson. Moreover, he instructs the students to "shut up" in between the lessons, so no practice is allowed, but the voice is so tired after the lessons and the instructions are so obscure, that the desire to do so never really emerges.
The actual instruction he gives are as follows: open your chest, put your voice in the chest, as you go higher, go sideways, put your hand on your chest and sing from there, imagine a button on your chest and push it. When it comes to covering the tone, he instructs the student to do some kind of "arching", a pressure that originates from the chest as well and goes downwards to the belly. There is no progression in the lessons, it is always the same stereotype instructions even after many lessons.
It feels and sounds exactly as it reads, highly pressurized and constricted, instead of learning to relax and acquire legato, it feels always "scratchy". No mention of the throat and how to give space and avoid constriction there, it is always the chest which makes singing unbalanced and closes the path to find the head voice.
Based on these experiences I strongly discourage especially beginners who have not yet a solid technique to seek Jeffrey Talbot for advice, tere are many better teachers out there!
oh well, there are lots of dilettantes and charlatans out there....
July 31 2008, 4:14 PM
Just like in any profession there are lots of charlatans and downright bad people in this biz. So, you live and learn.... I'm sorry it took so long for you to realize that it wasn't working for you. Just remember - the teacher works for YOU, not the other way around!
perhaps i can sum up this mans observations with a couple of sayings "a little knowledge is a dangerous thing",you can take a horse to water but........." I am a former student of jeffs and cannot recommend him highly enough. im sure anyone with an ounce of experience can see this as gross slander by somebody who needs to blame his teacher for his own shortcomings that of impatience and breathtaking naivety!
add to that a willingness to impute completely unfounded motives to another persons actions and words
i know of nobody who was told by jeff that they needed 3 lessons a week .i remember that i had 1 lesson a week for 3 years ,[i was a complete beginner when i started with jeff]but only after the third year asked him would i make more progress if i had 2 aweek,,,,he said of course so i then had 2 lesson a week.For people who are total beginners or not naturally vocally endowed it is a repetitive but fulfilling slog of muscle building,strengthening the muscles which can prevent the throat from closing,and the muscles that provide power that is diaphragm ,rib cage, and most importantly linking them up .in my case i went from a baritone struggling to reach an d to a tenor with a top g in one year,several years on the voice can comfortably manage any tenor aria in the lyric range.
im sorry that he spent the time and money and didnt make progress but none of us know anything about his stage of developmment,abilty or intelligence .all i can say is that i have seen great developments in students who stuck at it and even very recently witnessed the immediate improvement in 3 singers who went to jeff .Moreover, ihave seen how a well known repetoire coach who worked with jeff for years has learned the basics of his method and is having very good results with other singers i know personally.i could say a lot more to refute this persons accusations but will end by saying that it is ashame that the internet can be used in this way to disseminate this kind of slander
"I came to London just to study with him after listening to recordings of one of his students."
How do you know that person you heard didn't get most of their technique from someone else before going to Jeff? Voice student usually have at least 3 teachers from the time they start singing to the time they retire.
ANY voice studio is going to have students with a wide range of experience, natural ability and training. The teacher cannot guarantee the same results for every student.
You moved to London after hearing someone's student. Would have been smarter to go there for a couple of weeks, have a few lessons and then decide from there.
You possibly have some legitimate gripes about this teacher's technique, but I think the lesson you need to learn here is Look Before You Leap.
you are correct to point out that singers go to teachers at various stages of vocal development but you are wrong to give this mans opinions any credence and say "you may have a point".how on earth do you know? have you ever been to this teacher and have you asked the very successful singer to whom you refer about his experience?as it happens i was a student with jeff before the latter came for lessons and yes he was already advanced but hes been with jeff for well over 10 years ,is it just a coincidence that he is a world class singer now?
is that this particular unhappy student may have some legitimate issues with how his lessons progressed. None of us can know what happened in the lessons. Were you there? I wasn't. I don't know who this teacher is, and have no real interest in this pissing match. But I think we can all learn a few things here:
1. Not every teacher is great for every student.
2. Just because a teacher has a famous student doesn't mean his/her technique will work for you.
3. Moving to a different country to work with a teacher you have no experience with is probably not a good idea.
I don't think jumping on DVS is really necessary in this situation. Not that she needs me to defend her, and maybe I'm reading a bit too much into it, but your response seems a little out of proportion to her post.
I appreciate the back up but I have been at the rodeo long enough to know that people won't always agree. People who love their teachers will always jump to their defense and that's nice, but you have to remember that not everyone has the same experience in a voice studio. YMMV. That's all I am saying.
I think mis-step #1 was moving to a whole new city to work with a voice teacher without a trial period.
Mistake #2 was making a huge time and money investment in that teacher when it was probably clear early on that things weren't working out as first anticipated.
It's tough to make objective decisions in a subjective, emotional career and I think this is actually the achilles heel of a lot of singers. You have to be able to make assessments of yourself and your career progress with sang froid. Hard to do, especially when so many teachers/students find themselves in an odd parent/child relationship.
Everyone blames their last teacher when their technique isn't what it should be. The truth is that I am my own teacher and my "teachers" are consultants. If I get good advice and take it, good on me. If I get bad advice and take it OR get good advice and don't take it, bad on me. If I stay with a teacher without acknowledging that they aren't working for me, that's my fault.
Bashing your old teacher never comes off well. We all know better. It's your responsibility to find a teacher who works for you. Also, to be honest every singer I know who sings well practices a lot. The ones whose technique is iffy don't. They also have good teachers but the secret is the hours of hard work in the practice room. No one can do it for you and no one buys any singer's excuse for not singing well. Ever. There's no point in blaming it on the weather or allergies or your crazy ex teacher. We aren't buying it so save your breath. It only takes a couple of months to know if new technique is going to work for you or not. If it's not and you stay with the same teacher that's your own fault. I can hardly wait for the belly-aching of excuses for why singers stayed with the teacher who wasn't helping them. I can go ahead and tell you in advance that I'm not buying it. I've had teachers like that and I stopped working with them as soon as I figured it out. So did everyone else here who learned how to sing.