I am always full of praise for my students’ work and progress, but I don’t thank them nearly as much as I should for all they have done and continue to do for me. This is for them (you)!
Thank you for teaching me patience. Everything, and I mean, everything in my life always seems designed to teach me about that quality I am always in short supply of: patience. It does not come naturally to me, alas. (When I played the title role in Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta Patience, many who knew me suggested it be renamed Impatience in my honor.) Not only have my students taught me how to be (more) patient for the obvious reasons that learning takes time and manifests differently for everyone, but also, and perhaps most profoundly, for showing me what patience can accomplish. That instead of always being a torture, patience can feel remarkably good, constructive, and helpful. The rewards and the results are worth the wait.
Thank you for teaching me perseverance; otherwise known as a potent combination of hard work, the aforementioned patience, and faith in your dreams. My students should always know how much I believe in them. But they in turn have helped me believe in myself. They have certainly reinforced for me that if you love it, persevere! In this crazy profession, you never know what opportunities will appear (usually when you are not looking). Who knows what you will become, how much you can grow and develop with each passing year if you hang in there. It’s hard, so very hard, but worth it if you love it with all your heart.
Thank you for trusting me. Singing is such an intimate, soul-baring experience and allowing someone to listen in, to critique and change the voice that is “you” is fraught with danger; it can be the best experience in the world, and the absolute worst. You can feel like you are flying and invincible or like a spot on the floor only fit to be wiped up and thrown out, sometimes in the same lesson. I always try to aim for the former but inevitably the latter happens. I am honored that my students trust me to help them expose their vocal (and psychological) flaws and work together to find their most beautiful, unique instrument. I consider it a sacred trust and do my utmost to warrant that trust. Thank you for showing me what trust can look and feel like. And what trust can do- it makes you both a stronger and gentler human, more compassionate and more loving.
Thank you for teaching me how to teach myself. Teaching others has made me a much better performer- I endeavor to be as aware, accurate, detail-oriented and expressive as I exhort my students to be. (I also try to be as patient with myself as I am with them but…let’s not expect miracles, people!)
Thank you for constantly renewing my passion for singing, for music, for theatre, for learning.
Thank you for all the laughs. My students and I can have a rollicking good time and we STILL (and perhaps because of it) get a lot accomplished.
Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your singing/musical/theatrical life. Helping someone achieve their dreams is such an honor and a privilege.
And last but certainly not least, thank you for your friendship. I do not set out to be friends with my students. Friendly, yes. Friends , no. I want to teach you to be a better singer, not be your friend or mother. BUT a happy by-product of a good, close working relationship is that sometimes we do become friends, which is a wonderful and special gift.
Thank you, all you lovely humans, who teach me so much (more than you’ll ever know) and for all that you mean to me. I am truly blessed.
*Quote by Chesterton