Us voice teachers, we know IN OUR BRAINS that we are likely not the right voice teacher for every student out there. We know it in our brains.
But when we have a paying singer in our studio – especially one who may or may not bring some extra visibility to the studio or to our teaching because of their connections and/or performance opportunities and/or talent – it can be very difficult to admit that we are not the right voice teacher for that singer. Very difficult.
And there are a multitude of reasons that we may not be the right teacher for that singer: our personality does not go well with theirs, our primary teaching style does not mesh with their learning style, our diagnostic skills are not yet developed to the point of being able to accurately pinpoint the inefficiencies in the vocal production so we can help to correct them, we do not know enough about the particular style the singer wants to perform in, etc.
Recognizing that we are not the right teacher for a particular student (regardless of the reason) requires personal fortitude and a deep sense of worth that is separate from the worth we can (and do) get from being great teachers.
But recognizing that AND doing what needs to be done (whether it is changing something in our teaching, increasing our pedagogic knowledge, OR finding the right teacher for that student and releasing them to that teacher) for the good of that student? That’s what makes us the greatest of teachers.
ps if you’re interested in upping your diagnostic skills, here’s a FB Live I did for voice teachers outlining a few ways to do so
pps and if you’re a singer who would like to know how to self-evaluate whether it may be time to move to another teacher, here’s a handy guide from D. Brian Lee