The Voices in My Head (and how they have helped me over the years)

Weekly Teaching Tip – July 27, 2015
by SharonRowntree

It might sound like a funny title for my teaching tip, but when I teach, I hear voices in my head. They are repeating things to me that I have been told over the years, by my mentors.

When I am in front of a Student, or just singing on my own, I can hear these words of wisdom speaking to me, keeping me focused on singing and teaching well.

The first thing I hear is…

Practise doesn’t make perfect…. “Perfect practice makes perfect”

Often when we practice we are not able to give our singing our full concentration. When we practice we need to have our full attention to perfect the whole idea of the exercise. It is also a good idea to record yourself.

“An absolute refusal on the part of the singer to help the pitch in any way”.

How many times do our students and ourselves try and help up the notes. My eyebrows tried to help me over the years and I see the same thing happening with my students. Especially the guys. I’ve developed many relaxation techniques over the years to help distract the student whilst singing through the scales.

Think of the high notes being on the floor”.

If you stood on your head the high notes wouldn’t be high. Leaning over on the highs is a great trick. Also lying on the floor works well.

“Better to have the tone “light and right” than to have it strong and wrong.

High notes that are pushed will sound wrong and feel wrong. If you work on the light and right connection the strength will come.

“Three strikes and your out”.

Sometimes we persist on the same exercise and it doesn’t seem to work as well on other students. So give yourself 3 attempts to get the exercise to do its job and if it doesn’t work, move on. It may work next time. This will also avoid any frustration that the student may feel by persisting and them feeling that there is something wrong with them.

“Mum, Gee and Nay”

A teacher once said to me when I started teaching, to keep the lesson simple by only using 3 exercises. Try not to confuse yourself with too many different exercises when you first are starting out. Mum, Gee and Nay work really well.

When teaching – DO NO HARM.

We are all under pressure to deliver spellbinding lessons that transport our students into world class singers in one lesson.

I know there is so much to learn and pressure to deliver these amazing lessons. In the mean time, we must balance what the student can achieve and the exercises that can deliver these improvements. At the same time, keep one important thing in mind – DO NO HARM.

There are so many teachers out there that don’t know what we know and they are allowing students to sing either really airy or make them reach up to those high notes. So be confident, leverage what you have learned and keep delivering great lessons !!!!

Remember too we are all part of a team and we have so many resources to help us.

There are so many more voices in my head but that’s a good start for now. Have fun teaching and remember there is so much more to learn and its such FUN.

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