It began with the virtue-signaling, double standards, gotchas, and posing in the Facebook groups for voice teachers and classical singers. Seeing a social rule structure form and grow, who gets a pass and who becomes an untouchable, seeing people taking up causes that they know almost nothing about, and then trying to punish other people who don’t believe in their indulgent fantasy of how the world should work, was sickening enough. Then came COVID, the January 6 riot, and all sorts of other challenges that made fearful people more fearful.
A person just trying to stay in touch with current events could easily be led down some dark paths by spending hours a day on social media. Bad things happen, and then the cogitation, gnashing of teeth, preaching, wailing, and outrage can echo and amplify until so many people have lost their minds. Reason, grace, love, respect – gone!
In the voice groups, the email blasts, the websites, certain points of view were presented as immutable fact. If you questioned anything, you were part of “the problem”. The “When did you stop beating your wife?” gotcha technique was perfected by those either attempting to make sense of things through a certain ideology, or by those seeking to profit socially or even financially. Workshops sprung up, financed by white guilt, led by the white guilty for their own echo chambers.
To try to move toward greater sanity, I quit Facebook in June 2020. I stopped looking at Twitter and Instagram, as many voice teachers’ posts got weirdly preachy and ever more cynical. I saw national organizations over-reaching to try to show how progressive they were, adopting symbols and battle cries that have nothing to do with the professional aims of their mission. Ah! Gotcha! The personal is political, the professional is political, everything is political, and your questions are not wanted, so sit down, shut up, and do what we say. That is how things have felt in the “voice world” too much (not ALL) of the time these last four years.
So I now have four people with whom I freely discuss issues around teaching voice. We don’t circulate in the “voice world” as much as we used to. Some of us, not at all. The more I detached from the voice world, the healthier I felt, so no more choir gigs, no more NATS membership, unsubscribed from the various lists. I can go out and get information when I need it, and not have it automatically shoveled at me until I’m buried.
The thing that really bothers me about so much of the new talk and “initiatives” is the lack of soul, compassion, and love. It’s about sending signals, perpetuating identity politics above real people, and not getting on the wrong list socially. Screw all that. I’ll check in on you occasionally, “Voice Pedagogy World” – but not for a while. Good luck on your journey to wholeness and love, even if you think that is BS.