Thoughts about singing and teaching
For me, teaching is an act of sheer commitment to the development of the student: to their vocal, artistic, and personal growth.
Teaching is about learning. I want to understand the person and their voice. Change can only happen through awareness. A student can only really change something about their singing if they know, feel, sense what they are doing, and then realise what they can do to improve.
Teaching is about liberating and releasing potential. The student leads, and I provide them with the necessary analytical and technical tools to help them further.
Teaching is about independence. The process of teaching involves moving towards the student’s independence and becoming less dependent on the teacher. I remember the famous Professor Horst Guenter telling me:
“I cannot teach you how to sing, but I can help you to teach yourself how to sing…”
The real learning happens between the singing lessons. The bridge between understanding and doing, is putting it into practice!
SYSTEM OR METHOD?
For me, the student is the method. There can never be merely one way to teach everybody. There are no two voices, no two human beings who are exactly alike. The basis of each student/teacher relationship is respecting these individual qualities from the very beginning.
One of the main qualities of a teacher, in addition to analytical, diagnostic, and technical tools, should be his skill to communicate. A teacher also needs to feel and empathize with what the student is doing. Knowledge doesn’t help if you cannot connect.
The student/teacher relationship should be based on mutual trust. Open communication is essential for me. The student should always be aware of the process, possibilities and progress during our collaboration.
WHAT IS GOOD SINGING?
The esthetics of what constitutes a good and free sound is highly subjective. My job is to help a student discover possibilities, uncovering hidden potential. I want to guide, not impose.
Singing is an act of delicate coordination and balancing, but even more so an act of imagination. If you can imagine the sound in all its qualities, you will most likely be able to sing that sound.
Singing is about communicating. It is not about perfection. Technique is the instrument, not the goal! Music is about sharing thoughts and emotions. For me, it is far more important to Express than to Impress.