Dear Independent Voice Teacher: A Love Letter
Dear Independent Voice Teacher, You are amazing. Do you know all the things you do? If you’ve forgotten, may I remind you? You built a studio. Then you changed. Or moved. And rebuilt. And built. And rebuilt. Again and again. You created a brand. Then you evolved and needed to refine the brand. Or rebrand altogether. Again and again. You created a budget for your business. You developed your policies. Got pushback. Refined them to offer better clarity and service. Continually review and revise. You weather difficult conversations with clients, parents, colleagues, collaborators. You are a master mediator, doing your utmost to make everyone in your studio world feel seen, heard, and valued. You network. Constantly. You never stop hustling to provide value to your singers. You teach a heavy student load. Typically during hours that most people are enjoying dinner and putting their kids to bed. You plan recitals, showcases, shows, karaoke nights, studio classes. You keep audition books looking sharp. You teach multiple ages and abilities. You teach music literacy. Sight reading. Theory. Technique and artistry. You study voice science. Anatomy. Acoustics. Pedagogy, both historic and current. You teach diction. Languages. History. Literature. You bring cultures and experiences both new and old, foreign and familiar, into your students’ lives. You teach countless styles and techniques. In a given afternoon, you might teach art song, rock, pop, jazz, R&B, contemporary musical theatre, Golden Age musical theatre, arias, the list goes on...And you have to be able to teach it all--and teach it well--OR have networked enough that you can refer your students out to someone who CAN teach it. You make your singers’ worlds bigger, brighter, better. You constantly research music, new and old, to keep things exciting and challenging for your singers. You provide support. A confidant. A champion. You attend conferences, workshops, classes. You take lessons for YOUR OWN SELF because you want to be your best so you can give your best. You probably sing too--as much as you’re able. You rock recitals, concerts, open mic nights, battles of the bands, operas, musicals, festivals, community theatre, and so much more. And some days, you feel like not enough. Like you are not seen. Like you are just doing a little side hustle out of your living room (or, in my case, basement). And I would like to invite you to shut. that. voice. down. You are running a business. You are serving people who need you--who have CHOSEN you because they TRUST you. You are keeping art alive for people who might not otherwise experience it. You are honoring the women and men who taught, sang, and composed before us--the giants on whose shoulders we now stand. Every time you help someone sing with more freedom, ease, efficiency--even just a bit!--you are doing excellent work. And whether or not you get much feedback about it, you ARE making a difference. You ARE doing something important. You ARE amazing. Keep loving. Keep serving. Keep singing.