Friday, June 11, 2010

You Gotta Have a Gimmick!

Friday musings...

We truly have become a society of "brand name".  This has seeped into the study of voice.

So often, the VALUE of study is dismissed, and the "bright and shiny" gimmick or brand name is what attracts clients.

We are a society that puts more weight on the COST of something and not the VALUE.

Brand name does not always equal QUALITY.

Gimmick is a marketing technique - it is not necessarily depicting value, depth or quality.  It is SELLING something,  which is not the same as NURTURING something.

When a singer enquires about "what METHOD do you teach?"  this sadly indicates "brand name" mentality.  This indicates a certain lack of depth.

This would assume the person asking knows anything about the "methods" and language and titles thrown around!  Most often they do not.

In my opinion,  a teacher of voice needs to be aware of the so-called "methods" and "gimmicks" and "brand names" in order to answer questions and queries of potential students.

A teacher of voice needs to be aware of the national styles and techniques that are prevalent in the teaching world.

A teacher of voice needs to be aware of the standard pedagogical texts,  schools and the ongoing pedagogical developments in vocal science and writings.

And then, the teacher of voice needs to be aware of who stands before them and what they are there for and what they need.

I was asked yesterday - do I teach a "method"? Is there a Susan Eichhorn Young "method"?

I simply say no.  I do not teach a "method" - I teach the singer.

A "method" to my understanding would be about teaching MATERIAL and disregarding the individual needs of a singer.  Not all singers are created equally and a teacher's responsibility is to meet that singer where she/he is and work with their needs and their voice.


I have a philosophy which serves HOW I approach a singer, how I approach the pedagogical principles, how I approach the ART of singing.

A method?  It is simply the individuality of the singer.

I must assess what I see, what I hear, what I get from a singer and build a course of study that is uniquely THEIRS!

One size does NOT fit all in the study of voice!

If you walk into the gym and work with a personal trainer, and someone 20 years your junior (or senior!) walks in at the same time and you both with the same trainer, there is NO WAY your goals will be the same,  your body types are the same, your abilities are the same, and therefore the workout that the trainer tailors for each of you will be INDIVIDUAL.

Voice is no different.

The study of voice requires a singer to discover depth of purpose,  recognition of what it's going to take in time, dedication, consistency and practice.  It's going to take physicality,  intelligence,  spirit,   breath,  and commitment!  It is going to take WORK!

The study of voice requires a teacher who sees and recognizes EACH INDIVIDUAL SINGER who walks in!  It requires a teacher who is willing to meet that singer individually,  discover what they NEED not just what they WANT,  stay true to the task of BUILDING VOICE NOT GIMMICK and developing a course of study that will further the technical and musical and artistic development of EACH singer - not about creating brand name gimmick as a catch-all!

The study of voice is not the study of gimmick.

The study of voice is not the study of brand name.

The study of voice is not a fast and quick fix.

The study of voice is not the study of becoming famous.

The study of voice is not the study of mimicking.

The study of voice is not the study of impressing.

The study of voice DEMANDS an honesty from both singer and teacher.

The study of voice DEMANDS WORK from both singer and teacher.

The study of voice requires DEDICATION from both singer and teacher.

There is no room for automatic pilot, for gimmick, for brand name.


Then, and only then, does the voice of a singer have a chance to find itself.

Gimmicks?  Leave them for the used car salesmen.

Art?  Technique?  Depth of knowledge?  THIS is what is explored in the studio!

1 comment:

  1. I hope you dont mind me commenting, but I know what you mean. I have a program by that guy ..gosh whats his name.....anyway...he has 6 octaves and every one wants to sing like him because he can do whistle notes n such. Jean Ronald lafond...another vocal coach blogger whom ive followed for a few years, said I should not use something like that...It cant do anything for me. Esp not from just listening to a cd.

    So I went in search of a good vocal coach and came up mostly with people that had alll of these chicken fried techniques and really werent all that good. So now I guess im at a loss lol

    This post really touched me a lot susan!

    Thank You,
    Della Belle