I went to a master class this weekend. (Actually it was October 29. I just forgot to post this!) Great pianist from Juilliard - Kevin Ahfat! It's always great to hear from another musician!
My coach who I've depended upon for years has been a pianist! There was my voice teacher who is a great technician, but my friend seems to know the sound I've been chasing. He unfortunately doesn't know the terminology to help me do what I want to do :'(
I'm so close! I think I found it last week! (I seem to get closer everyday though...)
Anyway, even though Kevin was working various piano works, he still was able to help me in my artistry and such.
The point is that while singers can speak more directly to you, they don't always have the most honest feedback. I don't speak with a lot of my college classmates because most of them like to pull BS jargon to tell me what I should improve! I'm kind of sick of it.
My brother is a visual artist. He tells me how he perceives my sound and which one sounds better to him. I've gotten more from his visuals than from singers with degrees!
Just cuz you're speaking with a vocalist, you're not guaranteed to get your questions answered!
Many people expect their voice teachers to be both without realizing this is not always the case. A GREAT instinct is to find someone who can sing in the style you wish to sing as well. These people know which sounds, vocal effects, etc. are best for the style. However, this does not qualify someone as a vocal technician. The teacher may be great at utilizing his/her voice, but (s)he does not know the ins and outs of proper voice function.
I had a student once who studied with me until she went to college. She and her mom told me that after lessons with her previous teacher, she could not sing or speak! That is HORRIBLE teaching! "Sing like me" is not enough for most people! My student said she basically just screamed in her lessons until she couldn't sing anymore! She didn't know better; she just did what her teacher told her to do! She made the sounds but not healthily! Why did she do this? Because her teacher was an amazing singer for the style! After our first lessons together, she left with the biggest smile on her face because her voice didn't hurt, and I helped her progress in her talent!
Vocal technicians are those who have studied voice to the point of easily identifying vocal faults and helping you solve any/all problems that arise while you sing. Again, they are not guaranteed to simultaneously be a coach for your particular style! As great as they can be at working with you, they may not always know how to help you with your style of music!
The best teachers are those who can be both for you! Mostly because of less time and money since you don't have to travel between two people.