Teacher/Student Relationships: Working with the Reluctant Singer

The Wizard of OZ (MGM Pictures)

The Wizard of OZ (MGM Pictures)

I recently addressed an email inquiry from an adult singer about voice lessons.
He wanted to know what “style of singing” I taught because he did not want to work with someone who would change his “sound”.


                      “I do NOT want to train classically.  I don’t want to be over processed;
                        I have a distinctive sound and want to keep it.”



 Allie Brosh Meme (http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.ca/

 Allie Brosh Meme (http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.ca/

(Insert frustrated sigh here) Why do so many singers think they need to protect their voice from the evil mandate of a voice teacher? Is there an association of vocal teachers out there who are hell bent on changing a singer’s sound?  I don’t think so. I haven’t been invited to join the Egregious Voice Instruction League and yet, this is a significant concern frequently expressed by voice students.

Singers have strange perceptions of what happens in a voice lesson.



Classroom teachers have "THAT KID"

You know, the kid that doesn't want to sing and lets EVERYONE around them know about it. The kid that rolls their eyes and sings really badly on purpose. THAT KID can really make teaching classroom music tough. How do you deal with THAT KID? 




Without a doubt, students bring many insecurities to the voice studio and classroom.  Heavy worries make it difficult for teachers to get to the heart of a productive voice lesson. (And then students wonder why they don’t improve!) Voice Teachers work with reluctant students every day.

▪    The singer who will not sing out in lessons.
▪    The singer who does not like being corrected. 
▪    The soprano who refuses to sing a middle C because, well … she is a soprano.
▪    The alto who refuses to sing above C because, well …she is an alto.
▪    Singers who are reluctant to try new material. 
▪    Singers who, before they even get started, give you a laundry list of things they do not want to do.
▪    Singers who tell you their previous teacher did things differently… 



A while back, I created a little “check list” for adult singers who were considering taking lessons but had some common concerns. (10 Things your Voice Teacher wants you to know about Singing Lessons) 
I have updated this recently for use in my studio. You are welcome to use it and even pass it along if you wish. I found this handout did one of two things:

1.  It put to rest many of the concerns the singer had and allowed them to   
 enjoy the lessons right from the get go…OR                                                            

 2.  It convinced the singer that they weren't ready to commit to lessons –     
at least not with me, and that saved everyone the time, money and disappointment. 

How do you work with reluctant students (THAT KID)?