Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

Weekly Teaching Tip – April 25, 2016
by Rocio Guitard

Everyone has their own preferences as to where they like a student to stand in respect to the teacher. In my case, I have the student directly in front of me. I can see his/her facial expressions without getting a kink in the neck from looking sideways, and I can keep an eye on his/her abdomen to check on proper breathing.

But what about general posture? Tension under the chin? Sticking out the jaw? Collapsed chest? You think you’d catch everything by looking directly at the student from the front, but my secret weapon is a full-size mirror on the side wall. I alternate between looking at the student straight on, and looking at his/her full-body profile in the mirror. You’d be surprised how many more things you catch that way.

What about having the student look at their own reflection while vocalizing or singing, so he/she can become aware of what he/she’s doing? For instance, many students are not aware of the fact they are not keeping the jaw comfortably open. Or their lips slightly round at all times. Or a tendency to close the jaw towards the end of a sustained note. Or lifting their heads for a high note. Or to spread their cheeks. Or that their hair looks like a mess that day. Ok, that was the joke part.

So if you have a mirror in your studio, look again at the size and positioning of the mirror, and ask: mirror, mirror on the wall, are you the smartest of them all?

(This is the full length mirror in Rocio’s studio)

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