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It’s never what we do; it’s how we do it. If I show up to a lesson late, and I haven’t practiced between lessons, my teacher cannot help me to do my best, because I’m not letting her. Teaching and learning are two sides of the same coin, and one cannot succeed without the other.


What I’ve learned, and how


I have learned that I need voice teachers. From teachers, I have learned so much about singing that books, and my own explorations could never give me. I take my time choosing each one carefully, to find people I trust.

Some teachers I connect to emotionally and they become important mentors in my life, while others are merely resources for practical exercises and information. In each case, the way I approach them as a student helps to determine how much I will gain in the long-term. I always give my best, because I know that what I bring to the exchange is just as important as what the teacher is offering.

When I put my faith in an instructor, I show up on time. I am also respectful, pay in a timely manner, and I record sessions and practice diligently. In these ways, I treat them and what they are offering me with respect, and invite their best teaching. If I have given my very best, and I am still not seeing results, then I know I have not found the teacher I need.


The right singing teacher can help with


  • How to train the high notes in a way that feels easy and sounds good
  • How to hold notes with more strength and power
  • Identifying and tweaking the personal habits and patterns in service of your best possible voice
  • Guiding us to our desired level of expertise, from beginner to virtuoso
  • Maintaining a healthy voice during a heavy touring schedule, or other intense voice use
  • Connecting us to additional vocology experts as needed (e.g. medical professionals)

Even a great singing teacher can only do some the above if we show up brave, willing, and if we practice mindfully and with attention in between lessons. The same teacher can only do all of the above, if we maintain regular lessons, showing up on time so we get our full time and are energetically present, and prepared to engage. It is our responsibility to enter each lesson we take in a spirit of trust, and to do our own best learning.


© 2018 Joanna Chapman-Smith

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One Comment on “Blog 6: Help Me, Help You

  1. GreggFig