Susan Eichhorn YoungComment

Professional versus Personal

Susan Eichhorn YoungComment
Professional versus Personal
Wednesdsy musings...

The outline of what happens in the studio is vote professional and personal. It has to be. If it is all personal it leans too far into therapy. If it becomes too professional it can become about teaching the material and not the student.

There is a great deal of gray and at the same time, must be a clear awareness of boundaries. The responsibility of those boundaries lies with the teacher as it is her/his studio. The level of professionalism has to be established by the studio. A singer enters and may push those boundaries or may need to be coaxed to come out and play!

Ultimately the teacher must be true to what they are there to do. Each teacher defines that.

A singer needs to know what they want to accomplish and must stay focused on where that knowledge takes them, how it grows and changes as their understanding grows.

That being said, there are many singers who simply THINK they know what they need and truly haven't a clue. I mean from a professional perspective. This allows opportunity for the teacher to discover where a singer actually is and find a way to meet them there and show them what they truly need and create a course of study that will meet the need not the want - which I believe encompasses both professional and personal.

If a student resists me or pushes back as I lean forward, we are dealing with more than vocal pedagogy. I don't need to know why. That is beyond my training and pay grade! But I need to discover how to reach someone and create a safe environment to allow said student to lower their guard enouh to begin to discover what they might be able to accomplish.

Much of vocal pedagogy is about translation. It is about knowledge that is ever changing and vast being individualized to fit the voice, talent, limitations, physicality and psychology of every single singer who walks through the door.

The professional is trained to understand the textbook. The practioner takes that knowledge and adapts the book knowledge to the physical development of each voice that presents itself. The professional finds a way to approach the discovery of the physiology of voice with the personal awareness and the personality of each singer.

One simply does not effectively without the other. The book knowledge without ability to translate effectively is not helpful. A friendly "teacher" who cannot discover a singer's needs is simply treading water.

Just as it is a teacher's responsibility to find the person in the professional development and atmosphere, so must it be the singer's responsibility too.

A teacher must earn your trust, but you must be open enough to want TO trust. Your behavior must show respect and professionalism while allowing an opportunity to remain open personally to allow a teacher to reach you.

It then becomes simple. As a teacher, if you cannot reach a singer, are disrespected professionally, then you simply must allow that singer loose.

As a singer, if you are not being treated like an individual, if you are not being respected for your concerns or questions, then it is time to discover another teacher.

The relationship of teacher/singer is profound and unique. It must have its boundaries and its latitude to create itself both professionally and personally.

The personal develops healthily when the trust exists for the work to take place. The work and professionalism develops when their is mutual respect in the studio.

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

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