Of all of the areas of music in which I’ve participated – musicals, opera, symphony, chamber music, composition, coaching, and teaching – the one with the most neurosis by far is the category of voice teaching. Some teachers are just out there helping singers one by one, not chasing a limelight, and then there are the others. The others I refer to are operating with these questions, among others:
- How do I stand out and demand higher fees and respect?
- How do I create followers?
- How do I become “in demand”?
- How do I build my brand?
- What does it mean to be a leader in the field of voice teaching?
I’m not sure. I don’t really have solid answers to any of it, even after years of dancing with those questions. I don’t chase that stuff anymore. But what is so very wrong, definitely NOT the way to go, is to insult other teachers. It is not cool to tell your students how bad another teacher is. I have had a very famous teacher tell me things about a competing teacher that I know are completely untrue. Every leader with enraptured devotees has to separate his followers from the rest of the world in some way. Dissing the other leaders seems to be a common tactic.
People with too much time and emotional damage go after each other online in order to – what? To prove they are better than the other? To get a kick out of knocking someone down? To try to work out their daddy issues? Discussions in groups on Facebook turn vile and nasty at the drop of a hat as people vie for pecking order and scoring righteousness points. How is that working out for you, Social Media Warriors? Maybe it’s good for business? How’s your soul doing? I keep thinking of the saying “hurt people hurt people”.
My project of the last two years with regard to the online world of voice teachers is to just stop. Not look. Go back to my studio and do the work of teaching. I’m missing a few good things and a multitude of bad things. My brand is blah and some people wonder if I went MIA after my book. Somewhat, yes. It’s a good trade-off.