Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Students and Responsibility to Self

As a continuation of the blog about surviving bad teaching...

What is the student's responsibility? Whether you are just beginning your voice studies or are a seasoned professional, what do you bring into that space between to access all you can for your craft and your development as an artist?

First, an honesty with yourself.  Why are you there? The answer may change, and it should, but you need to have a sense of self.  I am amazed that often when consulting with a prospective student when I ask "what can I do for you? how can I help you?" there is a stunned silence. 

Again, the relationship between teacher and student lies BETWEEN. Each entity feeds into that space and the student draws from it.  It is not all one-sided, from either direction.

Find out who you are studying with!  Do some research!  Get a sense of who this person is before you walk into that studio!  Ignorance is not bliss.

Come prepared with questions, with willingness to try, desire to learn and to be challenged.  Explore possibilities and bring your 110%!  Don't hand it over, just BRING IT!  USE IT!

You are a vibrant human being and developing artist who is obviously in the studio space for a reason. Find out WHY.  Create the space with the teacher, so you can learn and you can grow.  This is the unique nature of what private lessons are about.

Your success, whatever that means to you, relies on YOU to seek in that space.

Just the beginning...more to come!


  1. Susan, I once had a voice teacher very early in my training (though after a very strong university classical degree) who was trying to teach me to belt. I would finish my lessons and my vocal chords and surrounding musculature would hurt in a scratchy way, like a sore throat. I tried explaining this to my teacher, and she told me I was just being resistant to learning to "belt". It was a difficult semester to say the least. Worse, this teacher was the acting head of the vocal department at the nyc conservatory I was studying at and I had no one else to go to who could help me to switch teachers! I ended up leaving after one semester... It was hard, but clearly the right choice.

  2. These are the hard lessons aren't they? And the difficult situations! But you are no doubt stronger for it! You paid attention to that flag - NOTHING should hurt!!!
    And "belt" does not hurt if done correctly - it should just make your body work in more suspension!!!
    Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  3. p.s. thanks zeldasayre - you've given me the title for the next blog:
    :Should it hurt when I belt?" - coming soon!

    Please check out this week's blog! Hope you'll become a follower. Please pay it forward!
    Let me know your thoughts:

    Richard Skipper 845-365-0720