Friday, July 3, 2009

What is a Voice Teacher?

Friday musings...sorry I missed the coffee/musings this morning!

Several conversations and discussions/comments lead me to this post...

Please also consider that this is MY interpretation based on my experience and my philosophy and every voice teacher will have to answer for themselves so I cannot speak for anyone else but me...

What am I, as voice teacher?

I can tell you what I am NOT.  I am not a therapist, I am not a buddy, I am not a mother, I am not a sister.  I do not do this for "fun", "hobby" or the like; 

So what am I?  As a teacher, I  must know and continue to learn about my profession.  I am constantly reading, discovering, developing and honing the craft and art of teaching and the knowledge of the instrument of voice.  I saturate myself in the "knowing" of how the instrument works, and how it develops and how I translate that knowledge to each singer that walks into my studio - not just to their understanding intellectually, but to their physical instrument.

I work to meet the student where they are - on every level.  I work to challenge you - musically, technically, - and also challenge your knowledge, your desire, your language and your commitment to yourself and to your craft.

I develop a fluid form of study that is catered precisely for YOU - not a "one size fits all".  The fluidity of this form is so important to allow for changes and developments that are uniquely you, the singer.

I am an advocate of you.  I will give you support, not enable you.  I will create a safe place for you to explore your instrument, your vulnerabilities and strengths, and never EVER abuse that safety nor that trust you put in me.  I will not lie to you.  I will encourage you/build you up to continue to encourage you REALISTICALLY to be better than your previous self.  I will not blow sunshine up your nose.

But my PRIMARY raison d'etre is TO TEACH YOU TO SING.  I am committed to that. And your raison d'etre is TO LEARN TO SING.  

I will commit 110% to your lesson and your development only if you do. I will NOT take your lesson time more seriously than you do.  In fact, if I find out I am more committed than you are, you are free to find another teacher.

I am a PROFESSIONAL and am committed to that and to all it entails as it relates to YOU.  I expect YOU to discover what you need/how you learn, as I expect from myself to discover what you need/how you learn and how I can provide that information fully to you.  What you DO with it, is up to you!

Your successes are YOURS. Your failures are YOURS.  I am not responsible for what you DO with the knowledge, but I AM responsible to provide you with knowledge.  I want YOU the singer to walk out the studio with more knowledge, more confidence, more sense of self.   You need to take that and BE THE SMART SINGER!!! I can speak the knowledge, demonstrate the knowledge, present the knowledge as it pertains to YOU - and YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE to assimilate that knowledge into your body/brain/psyche to discover your voice, your craft, YOU!

You pay for MY TIME.  Time has value, and you can NEVER get that back.  Wasted time is probably the thing that disappoints me the most.  It can NEVER be returned.  I cannot charge you for my expertise, but I can charge you for my time.  How you USE that time is up to you -and then, up to me.  We make that decision together. 

As a teacher, I will CARE ABOUT you, but I cannot care FOR you.  YOU must do that.  I will challenge you in every aspect of you as it pertains to your craft and your development as a singer - but it is up to YOU to make the changes.  I cannot change you.  

If you ask me a question, prepare to be answered with truth.  I will always ALWAYS give you the truth as I see it, and always present it with all the humanity and sensitivity I have to give in that moment.

This is the voice teacher I work to be each day.  


  1. Thank you for posting this. "Blow sunshine up your nose," I love that!

  2. Well said! Your students are lucky to have a teacher who embraces the importance and responsibilities of her role! Perhaps you could give a few pointers to one of my former piano teachers? :)

  3. This is a great post, and I can certainly attest from the experience of being your student that you are all described above and more.

    But I get the biggest kick out of: "I will not blow sunshine up your nose." (giggle, snort) ... such a great phrase!

  4. A wonderful post, dear Sister! I would expect no less!

  5. Oh Susan! What a fabulous post! I might just have to borrow it from you someday! So well said. BRAVA!