Some recent articles about the profession of teaching singing have strongly protested branding. Seems a few people are outraged that singing teachers have brands and give out certifications. These critics say that all the information anyone ever needs has been for around for years and that nothing else is necessary. They are condemning and suspicious of branding. They believe that what you need, of course, is a doctorate (in classical singing). That’s better than anyone’s brand or certification. ? Right.
I guess these people have never heard of The Alexander Technique®, Feldenkrais® work, Suzuki® training, Montessori® schools, The Lee Silverman Method®, or dozens of other branded methods of training in different fields that are educational in nature. They may not have heard of copyrighting a book or article that addresses a specific pedagogical point of view. Haven’t all the good pedagogy articles and books already been written? Who needs another “expert” opinion on breathing or formant/harmonic tuning? Don’t we all already have that information? Since a few of these people think you can teach belting by “matching up the right numbers”, even though they can’t sing a belt song under any circumstances, I wonder how clearly they grasp anything else.
If operatic training prepared you to sing metal rock, all opera singers would be able to sing metal rock. If metal rock prepared you to sing opera, all metal rock singers would be good opera singers. (After all, they are both loud.) If singing in mix was a great way to sing either metal rock or opera, then no one would need lessons and everyone would, indeed, sing every style of music with equal ease. Guess that’s not true, huh? Maybe someone should point that out to these experts who may not, in fact, be as expert as they themselves think, particularly when it comes to the actual singing and not just the “talking about” singing. ?
Being outraged that some teachers have discovered a successful way to organize singing training that isn’t based on breath support, resonance or formant/harmonic tuning only shows profound ignorance. Being against branding is like being against high speed rail trains……useless. Sooner or later, all trains will be high speed. Some countries are already using them. Sooner or later, the most successful methods of singing training will be recognizable brands. Some already are.
Yes, there are some really crazy teachers of singing out there and yes, they have methods and give out certifications but not everyone is in the noodnik category of Mr. and Mrs. Outrage’s articles. Some people who have brands actually have the endorsement of high level voice scientists, speaking voice pathologists, medical doctors, award-winning singers, highly experienced singing teachers (with doctoral degrees) and university music departments who are open to learning new things from someone else. If you lump everyone with a brand into the same “lousy” and “suspect” category, you are simply showing your own prejudice and exposing that you have not done your investigative homework. It’s like saying McDonald’s is bad because the food you get in every McDonald’s all over the world is exactly the same. No, that’s actually one of the strengths of McDonald’s. It may have problems, but that’s not one of them.
Since the profession has been completely unwilling and unable to organize itself to have even the smallest amount of agreement about what singing training is or should be in any style including classical, it leaves it open to individuals who have been willing to take a stand to do so. The educational vacuum left by the professional associations will be filled. The profession cannot, then, be angry when that is done. Individuals who protest branding should look at why such training programs are so successful when they are.
Those who write to vent should take care. It doesn’t work. I would say to Mr. and Mrs. Academia, “A majority of your information seems to be about things that have existed for 200 years. Maybe it’s time you had the humility to explore the new things you have dismissed as being beneath you and find out why other people want a certification. A method based on solid premises and a long established public history might be well worth your exploration. Who knows, if you actually see it with open eyes, you might learn something. Wouldn’t that be an illuminating experience?”