What are you looking for and how do you find it?

What are you looking for and how do you find it?
Sunday musings...

It is that time of year when the fall season is gearing up and many performers, would bes and will bes are looking for classes, teachers, coaches and more.

After being solicited by an scammer yesterday myself I thought it was time to write a blog about this.

First, not everything is what it seems.

I can scream about red flags but if you haven't got the experience nor the red flag gene you may get sucked into something that will not serve you. We all have survived poor teaching, bad teaching, and good old snake oil salesmen/women.

The point is, once you realize the poor choice, you run. Fast. Far. And never go back. Intuition needs to be turned on high and paid close attention to!

I once went into a voice consultation with a "teacher" only to see if the rumors were true. They were. He was nuts. I sang two phrases of an aria, listened to him talk about his non-career for an hour and at the end of that session, he told me I was an "ina" fach because I was "petite and cute". Well, those who know me are laughing hysterically!!! Far from it! Without missing a beat, I paid his fee FOR HIS TIME and responded "if I am ever ready to sing in that fach you will be the first I call". Done and done.

Sometimes we don't know what we need and we wander in blind. Ultimately craft means technique first and if a teacher or class doesn't explore that or offer that, I would be suspect.

Know the difference between classes about craft versus classes shout business and industry. They are not the same and not meant to be. You may have a natural gift, but it doesn't mean you should be in an advanced monologue class if you have never studied acting!

Real teachers don't solicit or spam. In this age of social media, the scammers do this religiously. Real teachers have reputations through advertising and word of mouth.

Real teachers don't call you. Real teachers are too busy to be doing a used car salesman pitch to continue to hound you about why you aren't coming to his/her class or studio.

Real teachers make time to consult or speak with you to find out what you are looking for and what you need. Sometimes the student isn't aware of what they need, and only what they think they need. A real teacher is able to see through and past, in order to adjust the possibilities. Real teachers are not afraid to speak truth to a possible student, even if it means that student walks away.

Real teachers want what is best for the student.

Real teachers do not claim a students credits and accomplishments. They rejoice in them!

I have always said, when your foot hits the boards the success you have created is yours, and if you fall flat on your ass, that is yours too!

A real teacher does not promote hype. They do not promote with "so and so might be studying here" as a way to lure students to them. A real teacher knows his or her strengths about craft and business and promotes those strengths. Those strengths are re-iterated in a consultation or conversation, and then if the student CHOOSES to continue, those strengths are developed in a student's development in the studio.

You are not a singer til you learn to sing and all that entails. You are not an actor just because you recite a monologue, but when you can establish a technical behavior to allow you access to craft. You are not a dancer because you can move to a beat!

A real teacher will not blow sunshine up your nose and tell you that you are wonderful just to keep you paying a fee! A real teacher will risk losing you by speaking truth and then showing you how to find it for yourself.

A real teacher is about YOU. A real teacher doesn't pander for clientele. A real teacher will figure out a way to meet you where you are and guide you through.

A real teacher is honest. A real teacher will listen.

Real teachers wait to hear from you. They do not invade your space and follow you around.

Real teachers put the truth out there, let you know what you need and how you can develop the tools and then allow you to develop the vocabulary to use those tools.

Real teachers teach you how to teach yourself. Real teachers can say "I set you free!" when you are ready to fly to the next!

Real teachers want to be obsolete at some point.

Real teachers do not create drama in the studio. They are about the work and the individual. They do not throw you into the lion's den of the business of show unless they believe you are ready!

Real teachers do not promote themselves falsely. Trust your gut. As a performer you need to develop that intuition immediately.

If you've been scammed, don't beat yourself up! Learn from it and move on! Leave the baggage at the door of THAT studio and refuse to drag it with you to another.

If you aren't sure what you need, ask someone you trust. Do not commit to any class or studio until you have had time to explore several studios, teachers, classes. It is your time, your investment and your life. YOU deserve to have that choice, and you deserve to make mistakes, and learn from those and make better choices!

Real choices do not bully, do not pressure, do not harass.

The path to true technique, to craft and thus to embodied art lies within you. You simply have to trust it, walk it, open some doors and walk through or choose to close a door and walk away.

Real teachers are not desperate.

Real students of craft are not desperate either.

Real students and emerging artists find real teachers. The rest are just finger painting and pretending.

Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking. 

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