Be Clear

Weekly Teaching Tip – Jan. 27, 2015

by Agata Pisko

Teaching a student on a regular basis is actually a teaching- learning relationship. And like in any relationship, there is one important rule that supports the quality and the length of it: BE CLEAR.

So, how can we be clear while teaching voice?

First of all, BE CLEAR WHAT YOU TEACH. Make sure that you as a teacher understand the topic, that you can identify a problem in a voice you are working with, and that you follow logical steps to get the voice where it is supposed to be.


Tell them what you hear, tell them what kind of imbalance there is in their voice. Say what you are going to do: ‘To find a better connection with your chest voice, I am going to give you such and such an exercise.’ Do it.

Stress any positive change you achieve while working with a voice. I usually say: ‘Remember this feeling! This is how your mix feels like!’

Correct them in case they do not quite do what you have shown them, or give them a better exercise in case the one you have chosen does not seem to work.

Give them a lot of examples, good ones and bad ones. Use your own voice or recordings.

Sum up after a few minutes what you have achieved before you move on.

If you notice that your student does not understand what you want from her/him, say it: ‘I have a feeling that you do not understand it, am I right? What seems to be a trouble?’

BE CLEAR ABOUT THE LANGUAGE YOU USE. Speak the language the student understands – you are going to use other ideas with a 8-year-old child, a teenager, a rock singer and an elderly opera singer. Make sure you know how to talk to these people so that they understand your concept. Spend some time with such people outside of your studio, take notes, think about what can work well during a lesson and what could be a disaster.

BE CLEAR WHEN YOU ASK YOUR STUDENTS TO DO SOMETHING: use tools that exist, avoid imaginary concepts. I love the idea that a singer can actually control only three things: air flow, cord closure and a vowel.  When you focus on them only, you are on the right, logical path to find their mix quickly.

BE CLEAR ABOUT WHO SHOULD SING: do not show your students what you can, let them sing as much as possible during the lesson. And remember: their goal is most of all to get to a song as fast as possible – make sure you find a fast way to get them there. Show them the right feeling and make sure they stay there while singing a song as well.

BE CLEAR ABOUT TIME: begin on time, do not teach longer than you both have agreed on.

BE CLEAR TO YOURSELF IN CASE YOU DO NOT KNOW. Make sure there is somebody to ask: your Mentor, your Teacher –Colleague, your IVTOM Team, your ENT.

Well, this is my list of ‘BE CLEAR’ things. Can you add something to it? If yes, keep writing – I am sure that the idea of being clear is going to make you a happy teacher and make your students happy clients of your studio!

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