Practice What You Preach!
Why It’s Important to Walk the Talk.
I love my job, I love my clients, and the industry I work in is so fun to be a part of. However, aside from the occasional gig, I do tend to spend my time preaching more than practicing. I sit behind the keys and help clients reach their goals and sing their chosen songs. Don’t get me wrong, I know what I’m talking about! But because of my teaching style, my clients chose their own songs, and then I help them pull out their best techniques and styles to apply to their chosen songs.
Sometimes they are songs I love, Sometimes they are songs I have never heard (Which I LOVE doing!) and some I’m not madly in love with, (we all have personal opinions on music!) but still I thrive on the challenge of connecting the singer with the right techniques to be able to sing the song the best way they can.
I sometimes help with song suggestions but never make someone learn something because I chose it or it’s a song I know well, or one from my repertoire that I already sing. Its always up to the client.
But, how do I know how to teach something I don’t know yet?
For me, singing is like mechanics. You may not have driven the car, but you know how the engine works and how to make it run at full potential. So I know the techniques, tricks and tips to bring out the best with various styles, genres etc but again, it’s so important to walk the talk, to practice what I preach. To know I can sing that song and that what I’m telling the client to do is what’s best for their voice AND the SONG! < - That’s a whole other blog!
Yesterday I was working with a student on a Queen song.
Firstly, I LOVE working on Queen songs because, well, Freddie Mercury, but this one was so fun because it’s not a huge radio hit but it is so fun to sing and play with. It’s called My Melancholy Blues.
My student was doing so well, we had the melody nailed down, were comfortably adding different tones and approaches throughout, using different areas of placement and resonance, changing power constantly, and it was sounding great.
So I got jealous! Ha! Not it a mean way but I loved the fun we were having with the song so much I had to get home and learn it immediately, so that I could create an arrangement of it too.
It was then that I realized how hard this song really is and how easy my student was making it look! I was very pleased with our team work and the results we achieved in the lesson but it really made me realize how important it is to walk the talk when teaching.
To personally feel the resonance, the shifts in placement the subtle subconscious anxiety when the big notes are coming! All the challenges and joys that arise when trying to learn a new song. It is so important so that I can truly understand what the student is feeling and how to explain all the moving parts, guide the vocalist, find the sweet spots, and bring out their best. Doing this has improved my skills as a teacher, widened my music appreciation as I’m learning new songs and style I had previously never heard or worked with and I LOVE IT!! It’s lead me to start recording my vocal breakdowns to share with other singers so that they can take the same route as my students and I when learning new songs.
Most importantly, its FUN and it gets RESULTS!.........
Now, I’m off to record the vocal breakdown and try and learn the chords for My Melancholy Blues on piano….as my dad would say…”it’s all clever and full of demented chords” no dad…diminished. He knew though. Oh he knew!