Teaching must commence with imagination and intention combined with the ultimate standard of “do no harm”. I believe in keeping high standards for my students while always encouraging each step of the process with a positive attitude. I’ve found that studio teaching correlates with personal relationships and my first step in working with a new student is building a relationship based on trust. If there is no trust between teacher and student, no growth of any kind can occur. After this foundation is set, one must establish goals with and for their student. I believe it is vital to teach healthy singing, but I also attempt to bend my aesthetics toward the style of their choice. Understanding that each student is uniquely gifted and coming to my studio with different personal goals is also an important component of establishing a good pedagogical relationship.
I also find it of great importance for my students to explore their abilities as objectively as possible. Taking risks and trying out new approaches can be liberating, and many students learn a great deal by critical self observation. I have used spectrography and recording with several of my students who are stronger visual learners with great success. I am certain that the future of vocal pedagogy will continue to incorporate these objective teaching tools in addition to our current methodologies.
The voice is one of the most expressive instruments and when we sing we use our entire body. It is thus quite imperative to remember that teaching voice is impacting a student’s entire being. Their mind and heart is just as involved as their body, and it is crucial that we proceed in a fashion that allows each aspect of their whole to thrive. Singing is one of the most personal forms of musical expression. When we sing we open ourselves to total vulnerability and allow those listening to hear the desires of our souls. Aiding a student in connecting to text and helping them to feel free enough to lose their hearts in music is one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I encourage my students to sing for themselves and not for their audiences. Keeping a constant focus on technique, style, language, or musicianship is unhealthy in my opinion. I believe that after these components are utilized, one must trust in their abilities and delve into their character or poetic thought.
I teach because I love to sing and I feel compelled to share that love. I teach because I love the “ah ha” moments in life and being apart of someone else’s growth. I teach because I find more satisfaction in aiding others to live out their musical dreams than in any other venue of my life.