Learning by Observation

Weekly Teaching Tip – May 29, 2018
by Aimee Geddes

Lately I have thoroughly enjoyed the album of the Broadway Cast Recording of “Beautiful the Carole King Musical.” I am truly amazed at how Jesse Mueller can sound so much like Carole King, but better ;). That makes me wonder how much time she has spent observing Carole King and mimicking her vocal patterns and tendencies and then finding that place in her own voice. 

Here’s a link in case you are unfamiliar with it:
Something that I think is very valuable for students is to learn by observation as much as by experience. While experience makes it real to them in the early stages, as well as for the more advanced students, the observation of healthy vocal principles and application in those they admire makes students more excited to put those principles into action in their own voices.
A couple of ways you can encourage your students to learn by observing are:
1. Be a good example of good singing yourself, and demonstrate healthy vocal production during lessons and your own performances.
2. Encourage students to listen to/watch recordings of great singers online and see what technique they employ.
3. Require (or encourage) your students to attend concerts performed by famous or not-so-famous singers. Have them identify the positive or negative habits they are using and report back to you.
4. (Highly effective)  Have a master class where they observe other students, and observe you working with them. This is a great way to make vocal “problems” acceptable and take away the fear of failure.  They don’t have to be ashamed, because they know everyone is working on something and they can watch how others fix it with your help.
Here is a great article I read on observational learning and it includes some of the psychology as well.
See what you can learn by observing others this week and encourage your students to do the same!
Best wishes,

Aimee Geddes
IVTOM Board Member

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