Repeating The Wrong Things

Recently, I had occasion to listen to students being taught behind the closed doors of a studio in a building where there were many studios and many people singing and playing music.

I have had this experience numerous times. Whenever I hear someone singing nicely I enjoy walking by, listening and taking in the great sound and music that I hear. When I hear something dreadful, however, it feels as if I am listening to someone being tortured and it makes my blood race and my stomach knot-up.

If a student is screeching some thin, pinched high notes, or yelling some terrible pseudo belt, or trying to maneuver her way through an exercise that is agonizingly slow, all the while struggling over and over and over in the same horrible pattern, it is hard to stop myself from pounding on the door of the studio and yelling “STOP!!! What are you doing?? Don’t you realize the damage that is being done here?”

Of course, I DON’T do that, because I know what would ensue if I did, but I surely want to say, “Don’t you understand that repeating these sounds and these patterns continuously, as if they will somehow magically just go away in good time, is insane?” I want to say “Who hired you?” I want to say “What kind of an approach to teaching singing do you have, to allow a student to sing like this in a lesson? Aren’t you supposed to be giving instruction here on what is CORRECT?”

Really, that people are being paid to conduct such “singing lessons” is shameful. Nevertheless, it happens every day, in lots of places, all over the world. It will continue until we have enough people trained in vocal function who are willing to speak up and speak out and protest. That, unfortunately, will take a very long time, because the amount of ignorance in regard to singing is still enormous.

You cannot overcome darkness with anything but light.

Folks — repeating something that sounds bad over and over does not make it suddenly get better.

If it’s bad, fix it. If you can’t fix it, change what you are doing. If you don’t know how to change it, DON’T TEACH. Do not teach.

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2 thoughts on “Repeating The Wrong Things”

  1. Folks — repeating something that sounds bad over and over does not make it suddenly get better.

    You are so “dead on” right. I say this as I am getting ready to leave the studio and someone across the hall is murdering “Bist du bei mir”, over and over and over. I’d love some advice about how to make a difference when you have NO authority to interfere with another teacher’s work.

    Guess I’ll just keep doing what I know to be correct. Thanks, Jeanie for all the encouragement and information you provide.

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