Tuesday, July 21, 2009

If It Looks Too Good to be True...

Greetings on a Tuesday evening!

A wonderful woman I know sent me a link to a "voice studio". I say that advisedly. She was appalled by the statements given and thought it was something I could address here.

The study of voice is not an instant fix.  It is not an info-mercial; It is not about vocal tricks or finding that magic bullet that suddenly "makes" you a singer.  The study of voice is about time, dedication and physical behavior.  It is about training MUSCLES, developing musical knowledge, languages, styles, genres;   There is no mystery here - it simply TAKES TIME.  

The difficulty is that we live in an instant society.  Everything is there at our fingertips - faster, better, bigger.  The study of music, and indeed of voice, is physical and in that, requires time for muscles to grow, develop, adjust.  It requires time for the psyche and spirit to comprehend the physical demands, and to create an athletic instrument that will DO what is required.

No matter WHAT KIND OF MUSIC you want to sing, if you want to sing it well - from a physical standpoint, this is NOT going to happen with a vocal trick in one lesson.  You are developing physical behavior.  You are not trying on a pair of shoes.

There are many charlatans out there that will try to make the idea brighter, shinier, and more appealing - they can even teach you over the phone and in one lesson you will be amazing!  If it looks to good to be true, it probably is.  And where voice is concerned, it most definitely is!!

The gimmick, the bells and whistles, the slight of hand is nothing more than the snake oil salesman.  If there was substance, substance would LEAD the discussion.  If there is no substance,  the gimmicks are GLORIOUSLY large!!

The study of voice is a commitment.  It is not going to a sale at the mall and returnable if you don't like it.  It is a commitment of time, money, energy, mind, spirit, soul.  If you are prepared to commit yourself to this study, then wouldn't it be worth your while to not look for the quick fix, but rather, talk with the teachers who are steeped in their teaching careers? Who know HOW to build voices? Who do not promise fast fixes? Who recognizes the commitment that BOTH of you must share for the outcome to be positive and solid?

Those of us who understand the voice can certainly, in that initial consultation, begin to show you where we could take you.  But that initial discovery is not developed.  It gives a sense of what COULD be  - with work, commitment, dedication AND TIME.

True teachers of ANY discipline recognize each student comes in with unique needs, and a unique spirit and will meet that student where they are.  It is not cookie cutter in approach. True teachers recognize the difference between teaching the student and presenting the material.  They are not the same.  True teachers recognize a student has the capacity to learn many things from many people and that they are responsible for that particular portion of the journey with that student, until they are not.

Take your time finding that teacher that you will entrust your instrument to.  Do not feel pressured!  Do your research - explore!  Ask questions! Take consultations!  Like any relationship, it is not to be entered lightly!!  Trust your gut - watch for those red flags! Watch for those infomercial tag lines promising you the sun, moon and stars.

Real teachers do not need to infomercial their expertise.  They need to show you what they DO to create a place for you to FIND and CLAIM. You need to experience the possibilities together. If these connect, perhaps that is the teacher for this part of the journey.

The study of music, the study of voice, the study of artistry - takes many different forms and cannot be summed up in "a few quick lessons".  It will, however, take you on a journey that is uniquely yours, and ultimately up to you.  GO GET IT!