Be willing to translate or miss out

Voice teachers, please get over yourselves. The people who get certified in Method A say that Method B is bad while those devoted to Method C laugh at both of them. The devotees of Madame X scoff at anyone who is certified in a method. Some teachers are meek while others fight for attention like spoiled babies. Many others just want to teach and learn and sing without all of the politics and hassle among competing loyalties. All of these people come together in the online forums where there is no shortage of arguments and drama over such things as the wording of a question, vocabulary, attitude, and differing perspectives.

People! If you keep your mind open for a few years and expose yourself to multiple master teachers and coaches, you will not only learn many things generally, but also start noticing patterns across many of them. “Gee, it sure seems that a lot of teachers talk about the vocal folds needing to come together without wasting air.” “Guru A and Madame X both seem to talk about lengthening the spine like they do in Alexander Technique.” “What Mr. Z calls ‘voix mixte’ sounds like Dr. Q’s ‘mezza voce'”. “Are the terms ‘mix’, ‘register coordination’, and ‘ratio of chest to falsetto function’ mostly similar or quite different from each other? Which one is correct?”

Consider rephrasing what you hear in terms that the methods and teachers you have studied with would use. Dare to draw parallels. Feel free to redefine a concept as an amalgam of all you have learned. Ask for clarification from the source to help you sort it out. Translate to the language that speaks best to you. Take it to the dressing room and try it on. Some things will look good on you, others will just make you look fat.

If you reject well-meaning people who speak a different language, you will miss out on many learning opportunities as both a teacher and a singer. Be bigger.

If you enjoy this blog, consider grabbing a copy of Sane Singing: A Guide to Vocal Progress, available in print and ebook!

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