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Why I love my job as a singing teacher

Table of Contents

I love finding out what makes you tick

Each and every person who comes for singing lessons is different. You can all sing, that’s for sure. However, I love my job as a singing teacher because you all have different tastes in music, a variety of experience of vocal coaching and you all have different challenges and strengths.

What makes things fun for me is getting to know you and what makes you tick. What lights your fire and makes you want to stand up and sing in front of other people. This might be in terms of what type of repertoire gets the juices flowing, finding out what sounds you want to make or what you connect with emotionally in a song.

How do I find out what makes you tick? I ask questions, we discuss, explore, experiment, play around. I love it when we hit the jackpot and find the right song, the right gesture or a sound that feels free and easy. That’s when it all falls into place.

Sometimes it feels like flying

I am so lucky – the singers I get to work with are incredibly skilful musicians. Some of the best times in lessons and coaching sessions are when we get into a kind of flow-state and time seems to disappear. When we are working together, bouncing ideas around, when I am accompanying and you are really in the zone, it’s very special. The only way I can describe it is that it feels like flying.

Music is what I love

Don’t get me wrong – being a professional singing teacher and pro singer is my job, not my hobby, so it’s not a case of “isn’t it great that I get to do my hobby as my job”. (There’s more about my work as a pro singer here.) But I love music. I love singing. I love the way singing feels in the body. It always seems incredible to me that we can make these amazing sounds with our bodies. We can understand how voices function from the nuts and bolts point of view and that’s important, but when we combine sound with emotion and story telling, it’s truly transformational.

To go a bit ‘woo woo’ on you, when you’re in a lesson and you feel your voice hit that sweet spot, I hear it, I feel it too. And that’s why I love my job as a singing teacher.

I love teaching and learning

A young female singer performing a song in The Singing Hive studio.

My job is not simply to know how voices work or how I can help you to get your voice working in the way you want it to. My job is about knowing how humans – singing humans – learn. How our brains learn, how we develop new skills and what my role as a teacher is.

I love understanding the pedagogy – the educational theories and processes – underlying everything we do together. The language I use, the order in which we do things, the way I ask questions, the way I guide you through exercises into your personal practise: these are all nuanced, purposeful, conscious approaches. Nothing happens by accident.

One of my favourite times of the week is taking Vocal Pedagogy classes for vocal studies students at The Arden School of Theatre and passing on the art of conscious action in singing teaching.

I love celebrating your successes

You know, one of the best things that happens is when singers come to their session and tell me about their successes since their last lesson. Sometimes it’s success with a certain technical challenge in a song, other times it’s success at an audition, performance or rehearsal.

It feels so good when a singer can pinpoint a thing that we’ve done in a singing lesson has worked out in the wild, so to speak. We’ve done our lab work and it has been successful out in the field.

It’s not always singing related: getting to know you – the whole you – is also part of what I love about my job. I love it when singers come and tell me some good personal news – like they just got engaged, or that they won a sports tournament at the weekend.

I celebrate these wins with you and am your own personal cheering party. Because – who doesn’t need a cheering party?

My work gives me flexibility

I’m not going to lie, running your own business, no matter what you do, is hard work. But I love the flexibility of setting my own working hours, my own rates of pay, my own policies and being able to package singing lessons into offers that I know, from 20 years of experience, my clients will love.

What’s even better is that The Singing Hive teaching studio is a three-minute walk from my house in Chorlton, Manchester and a five minute walk from my daughter’s school. It couldn’t be more convenient! I go home for lunch every day, can pop to the local food shops in the middle of the day, pick up my daughter from school and drop her at home (where my husband does most of his work) before heading back to teach until it’s time for dinner. Happy times.

How did I become a vocal coach?

It all started in my early 20s while I was studying at the Royal Academy of Music, my singing teacher from school asked me to cover some lessons for him while he was away. Next, a couple of my fellow post-grad colleagues from the RAM asked me to cover lessons for them while they were off doing gigs…I loved it, and so it continued.

Soon after I left the Academy, I got my own position as a singing teacher at Belmont School in north London, then the senior school, Mill Hill. I gained valuable experience working with singers aged between 8 and 18 teaching 1:1 and directing choirs. On moving to Manchester, I became the first singing teacher at Altrincham Prep School and established a culture of boys singing to a high standard. Not long after, I started working at The King’s School in Macclesfield, another school with an excellent reputation for music.

Whilst at these schools, I decided to super-charge my skills and knowledge. I invested in an 18-month accreditation programme with Vocal Process, run by Dr Gillyanne Kayes and Jeremy Fisher who are voice researchers and practitioners widely respected in the singing community. I deepened my knowledge of vocal anatomy and physiology and teaching a variety of styles and genres. This qualification allowed me to make the jump from teaching in schools to teaching undergraduates at Drama School.

Since then, I have become a Vocal Health First Aider with Vocal Health Education and a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy for recognition of my commitment to teaching and learning. https://www.advance-he.ac.uk/.

I love being a singing teacher because it’s a continuous learning journey. I learn so much from other expert practitioners in the field, but also from you – the singers who come through the studio doors!

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