How Much Time Should A 1 Year Old Spend Outside Outside Looking In: Becoming Your Own Singing Teacher

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Outside Looking In: Becoming Your Own Singing Teacher

You’ve heard the phrase, “There’s no such thing as a bad student, only a bad teacher.” Or maybe you’ve heard it phrased the other way around: “there is no such thing as a bad teacher, only a bad student”. But the difference between teacher and student is strange when you think about it. Because every great teacher is also a great learner (though often not the other way around), you MUST be a great learner, because learning anything to a high level of competence requires a ridiculous amount of study, analysis, trial and error, drive, and above all, genuine curiosity and love for the subject. I mentioned in previous articles that a Met opera singer makes his debut at the age of 40 on average. Can you imagine? He spends half of his natural life doing just that begins are you working where you always wanted to work? That’s love right there!

Artists who go on to great things often give high praise to their teachers and mentors for their work in the artist’s success. Praise is often justified and well-deserved. However, in studying many successful people working in very different fields, I discovered a common thread among the top performers: they find a way to observe themselves from the outside. What do I mean by that? How can you observe yourself from the outside?

Well, let’s think about what a teacher actually does. He has a big rule book in his head, if you like. “Do this, don’t do that, a little to the left” etc. Often the teacher is not even AWARE of the principles that guide the student. This is because the vast majority of people, and unfortunately that includes the majority of teachers, have some form of knowledge that is useful to THEM, but not always useful to a student.

There are two major types of knowledge: implicit and explicit. Implicit knowledge is something we know but wouldn’t really be able to explain if someone asked. For example: walking. Imagine if you had to explain HOW to walk to someone who was in a car accident and had a minor brain injury. They were perfectly fine in every way, except that they forgot to walk and it was your job to rehabilitate them. Most of us don’t think about the mechanics of walking. How to stretch the muscles of our lower body in order to maintain balance; how to transfer weight from hip to hip; how to move efficiently so as not to waste energy unnecessarily and strain our backs. Welcome to the world of occupational therapists, who must not only know HOW to walk (implicit knowledge), but also the principles behind walking, and how they can pass these principles on to others so that they too can walk, which is called explicit. knowledge.

This is why a voice teacher (or any type of teacher) can be a phenomenal singer, but suck as a teacher. They can, but they don’t know how or why. Vocal coaches are effective teachers to the extent that they understand the principles of their subject and can communicate them to others. The other side of this is the kind of voice teachers who have relatively little experience but teach well because they take the time to express their implicit knowledge. The danger with such teachers is that they analyze and code things so well that they draw wrong conclusions (and consequently give bad advice) based on insufficient data (experience).

What I mean by this is that if you take someone who is inclined towards explicit knowledge and ask them to flip a quarter 5 times and get heads 4 times and tails once, ask them to teach someone else the principles behind coin tossing. . They can conclude that the quarters are heads 4 times out of 5 and tails 1 out of 5 times. But we all know that if you flipped the coin five more times, you would probably get a completely different result. They did not have enough experience in coin tossing to understand its true nature. So experience really counts.

If you’re stuck between a teacher who’s good at what they do but terrible at explaining, and a teacher who’s only good at what they do but great at explaining, always choose a more experienced teacher. However, recognize this basic fact: the responsibility for figuring it out is yours, and yours alone. You need to look at the information you receive, analyze it, compare it to what you already know, and constantly revise and update your mental models as new information becomes available. It can be a frustrating process, but hell, if it’s something you love to do, you’re going to do it. If not, you might not really like it, but that’s another article.

At the end of the day, you ARE both a student and a teacher. You are a student of your art and a teacher of your art to yourself (and perhaps others). YOU know best how you learn. You know you have a learning style. It’s not the world’s greatest master instructor in the most amazing studio or master class ever to teach you something. He accepts what they say, analyzes it, and then teaches himself. They just provided better quality information than elsewhere. Be your own teacher, no one else will do it for you.

I mentioned at the beginning of the article that successful people in all fields learn to look at themselves from the outside. For singers, this function is performed by a teacher, but also by the video camera! In fact, videotaping yourself is one of the best and fastest ways to see and hear your mistakes and make a specific list of things to practice and improve. A teacher might brush off your problem or feel like they can’t tell you directly without getting into uncomfortable emotional territory, but if you see yourself on camera, you’re facing yourself.

I guess I forgot to mention that no amount of video work will do you any good if you’re not ready to be completely honest with yourself. This doesn’t mean beating yourself up or belittling yourself, just noticing a flaw, like a tight jaw, and then trying to fix it. You won’t always have a good instructor near you or you can’t always afford them (they’re expensive!), so gluing is an extremely cheap and effective growth tool. An iPhone camera will do, but I recommend buying a slightly better microphone, as most portable recorders do not pick up a wide enough range of frequencies, which results in missing fine details of the sound.

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