Teaching singing is an art as well as a vocation. At its best, it can be one of the most creative, challenging, and rewarding professions. The following principles and goals represent my “persona” as a voice teacher. This is my singing teaching philosophy.
These principles are as follows:
1. Be enthusiastic!
Exude the kind of excitement for the art of singing and the process of vocal discovery that is desired from the student. I have found that students, regardless of age or skill level, respond best to positive energy. On many occasions, I have been pleasantly surprised when an unresponsive student has a change of attitude and/or burst of progress as a result of being encouraged. Of course, high standards must be fostered through organized instruction, criticism, and discipline. However, they are best achieved in a setting that includes the whole person—body, mind, and spirit. Therefore, providing an atmosphere of positive energy, both for the individual student and for the art of singing, is important to do for each student who enters my studio.
2. Approach each case individually.
No two personalities or voices are exactly alike. While certain fundamental principles apply to all voices, there are infinite ways to achieve desired results from individual students. So, my “method” is to have a different and flexible approach with each student. The approach is tailored to that individual’s learning style, personality, and unique vocal qualities. Thus, my approach is essentially holistic and creative in style.
3. Establish and maintain a solid foundation in technique based on principles of efficiency, coordination, flexibility, and natural sound production.
I teach technique as the most important goal after establishing a good rapport with the student.
4. Foster musicianship and creativity on a high level.
Good musicianship is inseparable from good technique, and vice-versa. Each enhances the other. Singing is “energy in motion, stimulated by e-motion.” (Thomas Houser, Ph.D.)
5. Strive to instill confidence and self-reliance.
Undoubtedly, it is imperative for any successful singer and musician to have confidence and self-reliance.
6. Incorporate kinesthetic awareness and structural alignment.
For optimal performance, I use concepts taken from Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais Method, and Yoga.
7. Send students out from every lesson vocally stronger than when they arrived.
Students must feel confident and motivated!
In the years that I have had the privilege of teaching singing, there are several principles and goals that I try to keep in mind as I work with singers. I have outlined them here. They are all important regardless of the student’s skill level, age, or background.
©Jeffrey D. Ballard.
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