Not Just a Difference of Opinion

Not Just a Difference of Opinion

There are a LOT of voice teachers in this world. In fact, it seem as though there are more people teaching singing than ever before. I have had the opportunity, in my 13 years of professional teaching experience, to familiarize myself with many teachers of many different techniques and styles of singing. There are plenty of excellent teachers in this world. They may have “differences of opinion” from me on certain aspects of teaching, but for the most part, we are all working toward the same goal and have, in the end, sound principles which guide our teaching.

However, there are a few voice teachers in the world that, for whatever the reason (be it that they are ill educated, or simply just quacks) give students so-called “techniques” that are potentially dangerous and can cause serious vocal damage to the student. These teachers often make claims like “pain while singing is fine, it’s just like going to the gym.” Or, “If something feels bad, it’s just because you need to strengthen the muscles more and it will feel good later.” “Being hoarse after vocalizing is good, because it means that you are really working your voice hard,” etc.

Let us be very clear. If something hurts while singing (especially in the vocal folds themselves) it means that you should stop doing that. If your voice is hoarse after singing it is a sign that you are doing something incorrectly. If you are with a teacher who is giving you an exercise, or having you sing a song in a manner that causes pain or hoarseness, you should let them know right away. If they tell you that pain and/or hoarseness is a good thing, then my recommendation to you is that you stop working with that teacher immediately. These teachers and I don’t simply have a “difference of opinion.” They are just wrong.

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