Thursday, August 1, 2013

Excuses, Excuses...

Singers, I am speaking to you!

I am speaking about excuses...and maybe not the ones you think I am going to talk about.

Why, oh WHY, do you continue to 'study' with an abusive teacher, and make excuses for their behavior?!  Do you truly believe someone who belittles you,  or degrades you,  or tears you apart is actually the only one who can teach you?

Perhaps they can reveal to you what an abusive relationship is about;  perhaps they can show you what abuse is;  what psychological "control" looks like;  what emotional fear feels like. 

A safe learning and exploring environment?


Many of us have survived bad teaching, abusive teaching, and more.  Some have not survived it.

As  with ANY relationship it is a CHOICE!

You are paying someone to help you discover your voice, to put together the behavior of your pursuit, be it professionally or not,  and you are paying for that person's time. 

Why do you walk out in tears?  In confusion?  In pain?  time after time after time...

I remember a singer telling me that if she didn't walk out of her lesson crying and feeling like she was nothing, she wasn't learning anything...

Perhaps it's not just the "teacher" that needs a therapist...

Abuse comes in all forms.  Mind games, language, actions.  Recognize it for what it is.

It is NOT your fault that you were assigned that teacher, should you be in a college or university program.

It is NOT your fault that you put your trust into working with someone who has turned out to be someone or something they are not.

It is NOT your fault that said person has decided they can take advantage of said trust by either being blatantly abusive or control hungry,  or slying so.

It is NOT your fault you didn't see it right away.  Abusers are often very good at disguising their game.

It is NOT your fault.

However, it IS your responsibility to take care of YOU.  It is your responsibility to call out for help if you can't help yourself.

Trust me,  I have been in abusive relationships - in the studio and out.  Yes, I am using the word abuse.  Does it sound harsh?  It should.  Why?  because it IS.

There are MANY teachers out there.  You are not beholden to ANYBODY.  Your responsibility is to YOU.  YOU are responsible for your talent, your development, your health - physical, psychological and emotional.

You are NOT responsible for a "teacher". 

You are NOT responsible to "keep the peace".

You are NOT responsible for behavior that is not yours.

You are NOT responsible to make excuses for behavior that is not yours.

You ARE responsible to yourself.  If you find yourself making excuses for the person who is supposed to be the professional you place your singing development with,  it is time to stand back, and take a long, close look.

This is first and foremost, a professional relationship.  Working one on one does create a level of intimacy.  That intimacy needs to be respected by BOTH parties.  There is no CLAIM.  There should be no FEAR.

You do NOT "make the best of the situation".  If you are being damaged, abused, confused, YOU LEAVE.  You do not need to make an excuse.  You do not need to say ANYTHING.

You are not burning bridges.

Do you honestly think that you are the only one who knows about this abuse?  Trust me,  crazy is very clearly revealed in any faculty of music or in the business itself.

Teachers are there to create a safe place to learn.  Teachers are there to challenge, to share knowledge, to help the student who seeks his/her truth FIND IT.

Teaching is not about the teacher.  The focus is already outward from the teacher and inward into the singer.  That session is about the singer.

This intimacy has to be respected and held in the most sacred place.

BOTH parties have to that.

If a singer does not have that respect,  trust me,  a teacher is going to say they simply do not have time to work with them anymore.

If a TEACHER does not respect that sacred time and space, does not respect the incredible responsibility she or he has,  then the singer MUST LEAVE.

The decision does not have to be emotional, even though one feels emotional.  Like leaving ANY relationship of abuse or control,  the decision has to be intellectual and clear as to why.  The feelings will follow later.

Abuse is abuse is abuse.

Power hungry and control is not about the singer - it is an issue that so-called teacher has.

It is not about you.  It is made to look like it is about you.  That is part of the control.

You should not leave a lesson in tears because you have been made to feel like you are worthless.

You might leave with more questions and needing time with yourself to discover what you can do to challenge YOURSELF to find your best self.

You might leave feeling physically exhausted after discovering how much further you can explore the athleticism of singing.

You might leave frustrated because you thought you had something that you realize you do not yet.

You might leave feeling elated and full of promise and hope.

YOU are in control.  OF YOU.

You shouldn't be looking over your shoulder.

You shouldn't be asking permission to pee.

You shouldn't be worried of repercussions of cancelling a lesson.

You shouldn't have to make excuses about YOU.

You shouldn't have to make excuses for how your "teacher" treats you.

You are not beholden to said teacher.

You are not responsible for said teacher.

You are responsible for YOU.  If you were listening to what you say about your present situation of excuses,  what would you tell YOU?  Stay?  or leave?

The decision is YOURS.

It is your voice.

It is your life.

It is your decision.

It takes guts.  It takes decision.  It takes strength.

If you can take a breath and sing a phrase, you can take a breath and make a decision that does not include an excuse.


Find someone who is willing to help you, not harm you.  DECIDE to do it!

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