Half Knowledge

It’s very sad to give someone half a gift. It’s like giving half a birthday cake, or half a vacation, or half a train ticket (go, but don’t come back?). Giving half a gift is almost worst than receiving half a gift.

I have had occasion to work with students who are making great progress, who seem to be excited about what they are learning, who ask questions and take in whatever information or guidance I offer and then, with no explanation or warning, just disappear. I’ve talked about this before.

It pains me when this happens, and it causes me the most grief when I know that the person leaving didn’t really get the full picture, although they may have thought they did. Perhaps they thought that the whole enchilada wasn’t important, or that half of my enchilada would be a great mix with someone else’s half a pizzaburger. We might have a voice that is getting freer, more responsive, stronger, higher, whatever, and a singer who is learning to go more deeply into her or himself, mining their own inner landscape, and then they fall off a cliff.

I recall a few students who left because they wanted to study with someone who was an opera singer or someone who is classical, and, conversely, students who left because they wanted to work with someone who was “more pop oriented” and less classical. None of these people actually asked me about my own training and background, they just left, and I heard subsequently the reasons for their departure from others. I have had students leave because I was too technical, even though I clearly state that this is what I do, and because I am not helping them find good songs, when I make no bones about that not being one of my interests or strengths. I have had a few students take one or two lessons only to discover that they are out teaching others with my approach, only it really ISN’T, because you can’t learn that in one or two lessons.

The people that say “this is what LoVetri teaches” when it is only half (or less) of what I teach or tell their students “do this exercise”, without knowing that I do the same exercises with many students, but not necessarily with the same intention or for the same reason, make me very unhappy.

It is one thing to decide to stop training because you don’t like what you are doing, or what is being produced in your singing, and you are clear about that. it is another thing entirely when you stop because you think you know everything about someone else and their approach, when you don’t and can’t possibly.

None of this is peculiar to me, or new. It is part of being a singing teacher working in the professional world in a big city and it isn’t going to change. I thought that expressing more about my frustration over the situation might be encouraging to new singing teachers, who will certainly experience their own stories along the same lines.

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