Musings on this life-long struggle in this business after a short intense conversation with a young singer...
I have had some WONDERFUL teachers and mentors throughout my life - beginning with the man I am so proud to have called DAD.
However, I have survived bad teaching too. This is part of the growth, as difficult as it is.
We have ALL survived bad teaching, or we didn't survive and went another way.
I believe, as artists, if we are true to the path of craft and finding a better self than our previous self, we must be able to acknowledge those red flags and move through/on without drama and emotional upheaval.
Easier said than done, I realize that. The angst that we encounter in ourselves to do "the right thing", to replay/repeat/dissect, to give things another try, etc etc is EXHAUSTING, and ultimately does nothing more than tire us out and make us second-guess ourselves.
Teaching is an art and a calling; not everybody does it well; not everybody does it for the same reasons or even for the "right" ones. It is not a "lesser" calling; it is not an either/or decision.
Teaching challenges us to find truth in our field and learn how to translate and retranslate that truth for each and every student that walks into the safety of the space we call a studio.
Teaching means we are life-long seekers of truth and knowledge about life, spirit and our craft. We are NEVER done learning.
When teaching turns into drama, head games, "I am the only one with the answer - I am the way the truth and the life to this craft" - my response is RUN!!! Run as fast as you can, do not apologize for running, run run run!!!
Teaching is NOT about the teacher. Teaching is about the space between the teacher and the student. How do I as the teacher, reach you, the student, where you are?
How do I, the teacher, help create a space for you the student, to claim what you do not yet own? (paraphrased from a quote of tenor Thomas Young "you are here to claim what you do not own")
Is the student passive? of course not! that's another blog!!!!
And this is just the beginning...
Teaching is art; teaching is a calling; teaching is craft; teaching is constantly seeking and discovering on ALL levels of consciousness;
Teaching is NOT head games; teaching is NOT drama; teaching is NOT abuse on ANY level; teaching is NOT about the teacher!!!
And teaching is about eventually becoming obsolete - to facilitate a space - physical/psychological/emotional/spiritual/behavioral - for a student to FIND THEIR CRAFT and learn how to teach THEMSELVES. Then they might check in once in awhile but they can discover and move through!
Survive the bad teaching - acknowledge it but do NOT invest in it. There is knowledge in that too. But find what you NEED!! Do not waste time/energy on anything but the BEST you can offer and the BEST a teacher can offer you.
More to come...
Susan Eichhorn Young
Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking.
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