What's in a name?
Discovering and finding a teacher begins there.
A singer's needs, vocabulary, knowledge and much more come into play as he/she contemplates WHO to study with.
We all begin as nobody. We build reputations as teachers and our reputations begin to be passed on. Our business - from academia to professional - relies heavily on word of mouth and reputation.
Thus, we are all "names". The "name" circulates. Singers hear it, recognize it, and explore it.
We have all started with "I've never heard of you" - and move from there! Teacher, singer, artist...
The Name-Brand is something else again.
The "Name" is a teacher who has a reputation that you believe might be a person you can develop with - as a singer, as an artist. This is someone you could develop craft with; learn the discipline of singing with; grow as an artist.
The "Name-Brand" is a teacher who has a reputation for business. It is a teacher who perhaps can allow you access to a door that will further your career within the business.
The danger for ANY singer, is not knowing where they are in their development.
The danger is for a singer to believe they are ready for something they are not.
The "Name" teacher AND the "Name-Brand" teachers' reputations lead. HOWEVER, no matter WHO they know and what door they could possibly get you to - opening the door and walking through has NOTHING to do with anybody else but YOU THE SINGER.
Using the "Name Brand" of a school/a teacher/ et al can allow you an opportunity to be heard. HOWEVER, then you have to sing. Then you have to be READY TO BE HEARD.
The "Name-Brand" does not sing for you. Nor does the "Name".
YOU SING FOR YOURSELF.
Can you develop as an artist AND develop a career? YOU BET! Knowing the difference is key - and knowing when you are READY is imperative.
I know singers who move from "Name Brand" to "Name Brand" and are never heard. The "Name Brand" teachers are not going to put their reputations nor their contacts in jeopardy for a singer who is not ready to walk through the door.
There are no free rides. Your development technically and artistically is earned. So is your place in this business - it is earned. Nothing is handed to you without a cost. Even if you are given an opportunity - YOU MUST FOLLOW THROUGH.
SO - where are you in your journey? How do you find the teacher you NEED at this point?
As an undergrad or grad student, you are still building vocabulary and learning WHAT you need. You ultimately need to find a teacher you can connect with and learn how to sing from! Someone who will give you the solid basics without drama so you can begin to discover HOW TO SING. Do you need a "name brand"? Absolutely not!
You are not ready for a career. You are needing to become a singer and develop and understand your instrument, and the artistry you have yet to claim.
As you emerge into a young artist, an emerging artist, a semi-professional artist, a full artist - your needs change. What is necessary changes. What you are building changes.
The same teacher will not mean the same thing to each singer. The same teacher will respond differently to the singer at different points of discovery. Different singers may go to the same teacher for completely different reasons, depending on what that teacher can offer!
As a singer - you need to pay attention. You need to pay attention to what you NEED, what you see in other singers, what you hear from other singers, what your research tells you.
Just because your friend studies with someone, doesn't mean that will be the right fit for you. It IS a place to start - certainly! If you have friends/colleagues who are developing and growing technically and artistically with a teacher, and that is what you want and need - perhaps it's someone to consider or consult with.
Going to a teacher cause you think it will be easy, that it will allow you something you don't have to work for - this is just wrong. And ironically, the singer will be seen - and that singer's reputation will develop as such!
The other irony is just because a singer thinks they can get a free ride with a teacher, doesn't mean that teacher will have the time of day! Or even if they make the time, they will never allow that singer the opportunity of their expertise/contacts.
Knowing WHY you study, and WHEN you study WITH WHOM is yet another self-knowledge that empowers us as singers. It helps us discover WHO we are and WHY we are there in the first place.
Honesty of where we are, allows us an opportunity to grow.
I have heard "I need to study with a "name" - or - you aren't a big enough "name" for me to study with" - assumes the singer is good enough/smart enough/talented enough/developed enough to study with that "name" in the first place!!
Generally - the answer is already obvious. NO - you need to learn to SING first.
The "Name" of a teacher is known - and perhaps you just don't know it! That doesn't mean that teacher hasn't accomplished something, or hasn't anything to offer you!
I had a singer say to me during a consultation "Well, I would love to study with you, but I have never heard of you." My answer: "That's fine - because I would love to teach you, but I've never heard of you and you've never done anything. My singers are DOING something."
She blinked. Of course, I made my point. And to clarify - my singers DO things everyday - they PURSUE THEIR CRAFT, THEIR ARTISTRY AND THEIR CAREERS!
The "Name" of a teacher gets you to the door of their studio. YOU must prove to them that you know why you are there.
The "Name Brand" of a teacher gets you to a certain door of your career. YOU must prove you can actually open the door, walk over the threshold and deliver.
Know where you are. Know why you are there. Know how to ask the questions that will get you the information you need. And simply know how to process the information to discover the knowledge you desire.
NAME or NAME BRAND. We all need to do the work. To discover and to develop.
Reputations proceed - and they proceed from the ACTION OF DOING.
Just as a teacher is responsible, so is the singer. The collaboration is NECESSARY.