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How Collaborative Singing Lessons Foster Growth and Empowerment in Singing Students

As I reflect on my musical journey, I recognise the diverse roles that various singing teachers have played in shaping my musical education. Each one brought a unique instructional style, leaving me with a variety of experiences.

Reflecting on this journey, the differences in their approaches become apparent – some profoundly inspiring, while others left me creatively stifled and apprehensive about opening my mouth to make a sound!

One distinct memory takes me back to a singing teacher who expected me to sight-read new songs on the spot. I struggled due to being dyslexic. The impatience the teacher expressed and the stress I felt during those moments made me feel stupid and unmusical.

Then, there was another singing teacher who only focused on all the mistakes I made and what I was doing wrong. Regardless of how much I practised and prepared in between lessons, it always felt like it wasn't good enough. The focus on the negatives overshadowed any positive progress I might have made, and I recall always feeling deflated after each lesson.

I also recall an unpleasant occasion in which a teacher resorted to shouting and physically prodding my stomach, insisting I 'support from my core.' She was unable to explain exactly what she meant by that, and despite my efforts, this approach left me confused and demoralised, with no tangible improvement in my singing abilities.

However, amidst these challenges, I count my blessings for the privilege of also working with some fantastic, supportive voice professionals. Beginning with acknowledging my strengths, they fostered a sense of partnership rather than a master-apprentice dynamic.

I also learned that successful lessons hinge on shared effort – the teacher contributing knowledge and expertise, and the student bringing energy and focus.

Moving forward, I'll delve into the characteristics of the singing teachers who truly made a positive impact on my journey. Singing teachers who have really helped, have done the following:

1. Celebrated my strengths rather than just pointing out mistakes.

2. Highlighted the unique qualities in my voice during challenging sessions.

3. Collaboratively addressed areas for improvement, and broke down complex techniques into small manageable steps.

4. Used positive language to promote a change in my voice, and provided clear and specific instructions and guidance.

5. Asked me about difficulties in a song and what I felt needed working on, fostering two way communication.

6. Emphasised that singing is a learned coordination, and it is a process that takes time, practice and perseverance.

These positive experiences allowed me to trust myself, granted me permission to explore my voice free of judgement and encouraged me to immerse myself in the joy of singing, devoid of rigid constraints.

Voice lessons are a collaborative exploration where both the teacher and student contribute to the magic of the session.

Now, as a teacher myself, I draw from these experiences to shape my teaching philosophy. My lessons revolve around the student, fostering an environment where exploration is embraced without judgement or fear of mistakes.

I work in a student-centred manner, encouraging students to pick their songs and take ownership over their learning. By placing the student at the centre, I believe in tailoring lessons to their unique preferences and goals.

This approach empowers students to delve into the music they love, understanding what inspires them to sing and what they wish to communicate. In doing so, my aim is to not only impart technical knowledge but also to cultivate a sense of passion and individual expression in each student.

As you embark on your musical journey or consider taking up singing, remember the transformative potential that lies within positive and supportive learning environments.

Seek teachers who inspire, encourage exploration, and cultivate the joy of singing. If this resonates with you, don't hesitate to get in touch.

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