Wednesday, July 06, 2011

new students

I have begun teaching voice again, after a hiatus of a couple years. Even though I love it, the whole process is a little intimidating to me, as I know how messed up someone can get from bad teaching advice, especially as a young voice student. So, I have taken on students in a cautious and limited manner - mostly taking students that have little to no experience, or who mainly want someone to act more as a "coach" instead of a technical voice instructor. I'm playing it safe, as I know I can teach basics, but feel incompetent to diagnose any sort of vocal issue, even if I can hear what it is.

Part of this stems from college, and not taking the courses I wanted to in order to be able to run a private voice studio. The only things I can go off of are my own experiences in private lessons (and Lord knows that not everyone learns and receives instruction the same way, or has the same problems!) and voice literature of the more scientific nature. I wish I could learn under some sort of mentoring program, so as to ensure that I don't screw up someone's voice for even a short amount of time.

The two students I am teaching now fall under my criteria of "who-I-am-willing-to-teach":
* T., a young lady who is a freshman and simply has always wanted voice lessons so she could become audition well enough to make it into the spring musical that I direct at her school every year. She has very little experience, sounded like pitched air when I first heard her, and is enthusiastic and lovely in all ways adolescenty. It's enjoyable and she is progressing well.

* L., a young man who I've worked with in the past during the spring musicals I direct - he is now a sophomore in college. He is home for the summer, wants to audition for his school's "Guys and Dolls" (love that show!) in the fall and wants to brush up some audition rep. From working with him in the past, he is not a natural singer (that's putting it really nicely) and can be a difficult personality to work with. But, I had my first lesson with him yesterday, and he does have some good things to work with...and mostly wants me to just help him learn the melodies and such of his music. Normally, I would try to push more technique into someone such as this (and, honestly, how will I be able to avoid it throughout our time together), but he is so far out there, and we have such a short amount of time together, that it will probably take up most of our time to get him to learn the melodies to a comfortable level. It will be an interesting summer of lessons with him, for sure.

So anyway, there's my insecure confession about teaching privately, and I hope to only get better. I desperately don't want to be one of those teachers that has everyone coming out of their studio having the same problem that others have to fix. I really would love to teach more students privately, but feel so inadequate. Seriously, why aren't there mentorships for people who want to do this?

What a stupid question. It's like I'm asking why there isn't more money for arts programs....who cares, right? argh.

In order to end on a happier note...I will leave you with one of my favorite songs from "Guys and Dolls":



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