Monday, 23 November 2015

Just be yourself...not who you wish you were.

So, starting this Singing Stars blog has been a wonderful thing for me (hopefully for you too, but, if not, give it time). It has inspired me to look into more singing techniques and how to break them down in order to teach them better.

I have spent days, literally days, watching YouTube videos and webinars to see what others have to say (it's so cold outside at the minute so any excuse to stay in the warm). I am not simply nicking other people's ideas I promise. I am working out how to put other ideas into my own teaching without changing my approach. I suppose the fact that I am not performing (or even auditioning) at the moment has given me a new lease of life as far as my teaching goes and I am determined to  become as good a teacher as I can.

I come from a Bel Canto background but am fascinated by other techniques, such as Estill or SLS (speech level singing) however I hate labels and recently found a YouTube channel called "Singer's Secret" run by an Australian woman called Nicola Milan. She speaks a lot of sense and doesn't get bogged down with too much jargon. Obviously she is gearing everything to the beginner singer but there are lots of great hints and tips about technique and also about performance. Deffo worth a look.

As a performer, people will constantly try to pigeon hole you and I don't intend for that to happen with my teaching. I want people to have one voice. Their own voice. I am constantly striving to enable my students to move between their chest voice and head voice seamlessly. Get rid of clunky gear changes and work with what they have got, not what they wish they had. Nicola said a very interesting thing in one of her videos "there is no one that can sound as good as you can when you sing like you. However, on the flip side, you are never going to sound as good as an artist singing a song written specifically for them or by them. Everyone is unique". She then goes on to say you do your own version of a song, don't copy. This is something I try to instill in my students. Just because someone sings a song in a certain way doesn't mean you should.

The number of students that come to me and try to sing a carbon copy of Taylor Swift's latest offering  is staggering. They try to copy everything and if you try and tell them that is not what's written the student will tell me I am wrong. It is a constant battle to try and get beginner singers not to rely on, and sing like, their idols. I would love to be BeyoncĂ© but it's never going to happen so I would never attempt to sing one of her songs in the way she sings her songs, I would think outside the box and try something a little left of centre.

I feel it is my mission in my teaching life to make sure as many people think in this way. We already have a Beyoncé, a Taylor Swift, an Ed Sheeran. We don't need another. However we may need you when you sing like you. Be yourself, don't try to be someone else.

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