Habits to Avoid When Talking About a Student’s Previous Voice Teacher

Weekly Teaching Tip – April 20, 2015
by Aimee Geddes

Lately it seems I have had several students come to me from various studios. All of us have been in this position at some point and have probably had the student, and/or their parent say, “We are so glad we found you!” While this can be a nice ego boost, it is important to remember that every teacher has tried their best. You may find that there is a reason, non teacher related, that the student left the previous studio.

As you teach, avoid these behaviors that can lessen your professionalism:

1. Talking negatively about the previous teacher or their methods in a lesson. Remember that students only know what they have been taught by their teachers, so they take it as truth. Even if it is in no way scientifically backed. You never know exactly how the teacher was trying to explain it in an effort to help the student progress. Instead of telling them that everything they paid to learn in the past was wrong, expand on it and help them see the bigger picture from the Mix perspective. I have pictures of the voice in my studio which provide an excellent visual for helping students grasp the bigger picture of what is going on inside and how they can accomplish the results they want. This has been a great way to help students build on the bits of knowledge they already have.

2. Acting like you know everything. While confidence in how and what you teach is important, being humble with your knowledge opens the doors for students to ask questions and empowers them to learn as well. My favorite teachers are the ones who continue to challenge themselves and learn all they can.

3. Trying to “steal” students away from other teachers. Although we don’t do this within IVTOM and have a high level of respect for each other within the organization, it can be a challenge to respect people who don’t teach mix or even know anything about it. Avoid being condescending, especially when in public and talking to potential students who are already studying with another teacher. Eventually, singers go looking for what they need and if you are positive and do your very best each day and strive to continue to improve your teaching and singing, you will have more students than you know what to do with. Never put a singer’s current teacher down in front of that singer. It makes you look bad, not them.

Enjoy teaching this week and I wish you all the best as students come to you looking for the very best that you have to offer. Give them your best and your studio will always be full! Happy Teaching!

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