Let’s face facts: I am a serious teacher for serious students. I was trained by serious teachers to be a serious singer, and I was a serious student. I sometimes shy away from owning this, wanting to appear fun and lighthearted, easy-going and cool. And I am fun, lighthearted, and easy-going (cool, unfortunately impossible), but in appropriate amounts at appropriate times. I am not a baby-sitter or a best friend or a mother or a favorite aunt. I am a voice teacher whose job it is to make you sing and perform better.
But that does NOT mean that we can’t have a whole lot of fun while taking our art seriously. In fact, I have noticed throughout the years, that the more laughter there is in a lesson, the more learning takes place. (Right, Michael Cedar? Stacy Lynn Gould? Ellie Knoll? Just to name a few memorably funny and delightful students who also achieved great things in my studio.) It seems counter intuitive, but it isn’t. That’s because both the student and I are relaxed, comfortable with each other, AND focused on the task at hand. We are both there to work and have fun with the learning, the material, the process. And we are serious about all of it. We care very much about the outcome; and the outcome under those circumstances is almost always better because of that balance between fun and serious. And frankly, I think it is fun to be serious about your work. Discovering ever more beautiful, interesting aspects of your voice and the song and the nuances of both is the best fun in the world. It can be really hard work, but oh so worth it. After all, Mary Poppins, a self-professed no-nonsense gal herself, said, “in every job that must be done there is an element of fun.” But John Coltrane, the famous jazz composer and saxophonist, said it best, “Invest yourself in everything you do. There’s fun in being serious.” Amen, brother.