Music Teacher's Helper Blog

Taking the Fork in the Road

When I studied voice there was no discussion about what I wanted to study, nor did I ask. My teacher invited me to join her studio after hearing me in a performance, she taught, and I sang. I never questioned the style she was teaching me, the technique, nor the direction we were headed. I just sang.

I too invite students to join my studio whom I believe have great talent by writing them a note and inviting them to come sing with, me as my first teacher did for me. I then invite them for a “preview lesson” to see how we gel together, and then we move forward. However, I differ from my first teacher in that I begin by asking each student what they want out of their lessons, and where they want to go with their voice and their music.

Today there are more options than solely classical, and while I teach a technique based on classical principals, there comes a point where you are at a fork in the road and you have the option to go different directions with the voice. At that point I believe it is my duty to have a conversation with the singer and ask where they want to head. Do they want to sing opera or “legit” musical theatre? Do they want to “belt”? Do they want to sing “pop” or “rock” and maintain a unique sound or timbre to there voice? The options are so much greater today for singers. Classical has a standard, musical theatre has two standards, and pop and rock are entirely their own field in which unique is the ticket.

And of course the trained teacher has his/her opinions of what they hear in the singer’s vocal potential and those opinions should be voiced! (Although in my experience we teachers do not hesitate to voice these opinions!)

All of these items should considered when moving forward with a singer’s training. It is important that we serve the singers desires as well as what we see as important as a teacher. If more of this consideration existed throughout education I believe we would have more committed students and more successful classrooms. But that is another article……

How do you bridge this topic in your studio?

About the Author

Wendy Morgan Hunter
Wendy Morgan Hunter is a soprano, music director, conductor, and private voice teacher. Wendy has performed opera, oratorio, jazz and musical theatre across the United States, from New York’s Lincoln Center to Los Angeles’ Greek Theatre, and recently in Europe. She studied with Erie Mills and has sung under the direction of Maestro Roger Wagner, Dr. Thomas Summerville, Dr. Paul Salamonovic... [Read more]

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