Finding work in the vocal and performing arts industry requires a lot of practice, discipline, and an extensive music educational background. As a teacher, it is important to note that a performance background is also of interest, though not a necessity. However, knowing the ins and outs of performing from actual experience and knowledge can be a great service to your voice students.
Many voice performers break into teaching to share their knowledge, which gives true fulfillment because it demonstrates their love for helping others learn how to perform. Vocal teachers also get to continue to perform while providing students with direction and guidance. With a strong performance background, singers make wonderful voice teachers.
Teaching With Experience
The most important piece to having the performance background as a voice teacher is that you have experiences with the exact things that your students will have. Your students want to know that you understand them and what they are feeling.
Some of the most top-notch singing coaches in New York City are so successful because they are singers and performers themselves, with many coming directly from a Broadway performance background. They can connect and empathize with their students on a deeper level because when they sing live, whether in a performance or one on one, they experience the same anxieties that their students feel. The key is knowing how to help a student through them. It can be difficult to relate to something you haven’t fully experienced yourself, but if you can use your background to connect with an up-and-coming performer, teaching is a way to do what you love while helping others achieve their full voice potential along the way.
Helping Your Teaching Abilities Along – Strong Resume
If you’re a vocal coach or voice teacher looking for new students, having performances in your back pocket to draw from is impressive. Yes, parents or prospective students want to know that you’ve done your work in pedagogy and possibly have a degree in music or something similar.
A degree in performance is also a plus. Your knowledge goes beyond that as a teacher since you can showcase your vocal talent as well as your teaching abilities with your voice students. When you are able to list not only that you have studied music, but also have also been featured in your university’s musical, maybe in a starring role, this can mean a lot to students who have the desire to play that same role themselves, or any leading role in a show someday.
Knowledge of Audition Process
As a performer, you’re also aware of the audition process and how it is handled. This aids you in being better equipped to prepare your students for their auditions. This can differ depending on location, but with your own experiences, you can be great at helping your students get ready. Creating an audition repertoire is something that you can even utilize as an extra business expense for those students who want to train for auditions specifically.
Memberships, subscriptions, or season tickets to shows in the area are other helpful tools you can use to help gain a performance perspective or continue learning about it. If you frequently attend musicals, shows or concerts, you’re always going to benefit from recognizing the performers’ tactics and how they command the stage.
“There are magical things that happen when the performers connect with their audience,” states Kerri Hardwick, a prominent vocal teacher and Certified Throga Instructor from Virginia Beach. Kerri’s students frequently audition for local gigs in the area, and she advises that “learning about the audition process is best done if you are or were a performer in the past.” She also has noted that she herself is always consistently attending shows and events in performing arts within the area so that she is “always learning” and gaining insightful perspective for her craft.
Kerri teaches almost 50 voice students (with a waiting list!), and this is her full-time job. She has always been singing and loves to share her love of music and performing with all of her students. She enjoys building up her students’ confidence to sing in public as well as their technique. She also sings with a band occasionally and leads the worship team at her church, where she is the lead singer and performs on a stage every Sunday.
Helping with Stage Fright
You would be a lucky voice teacher if you didn’t have any students that experience this. Stage fright is common among all performers, even those that have been doing it for years. Kerri notes that “even now, I still experience a lot of anxiety when I have to perform a new song or sing in a new place.” Since she has performed so many times though, she said: “It gets easier to navigate how to help others with their feelings and doubts when you have been through the gambit of those crazy experiences.”
Anxiety is part of every performer’s process and should be one of the first things that you address as an instructor so that you can squash the doubts of their own abilities. It’s important for vocal coaches to be there to build and encourage, not tear down their students’ in order to prepare them for performing to an audience.
These two successful voice teachers pave the way to acknowledging the many benefits of having a background in performing since it clearly has helped with their teaching skills. Having a well-rounded knowledge of the audition process for your students will go a long way in preparing them for upcoming shows and performances. When your students can gain a similar perspective and learn how to battle stage fright as well as train to be well-prepared for that next audition or performance, their self-esteem builds and you can actually see the magic happen when they command the stage!