Have you thought about taking private lessons, but something’s holding you back? Is the idea of sharing your talents one on one with someone frightening to you? There are a tremendous number of “what ifs” and anxiety-ridden questions that hang around the idea of beginning private lessons. I am eager to share some benefits of private lessons and the life-changing results that can be found along the way.
I grew up a very shy and quiet child. I was known for always hiding behind my parents and quitting things early because I was simply too nervous. When I was eight I found a passion for figure skating. It was something I could do in a group setting and when I practiced, I was on my own. I had no one telling me what to do or how to improve, it was just me alone on the ice working on what I had learned that week in class. As I began to advance, I realized that having a private coach was necessary if I wanted to get anywhere in the sport, that I would get nowhere if I did not have structure and someone teaching me along the way. When I began working with my private coach, she was able to assess my abilities and help me grow as a skater, leading me to compete at the state level and test higher. I became my own figure skater, not just another girl on the ice with her team, but an individual with talent, drive, determination, and a unique perspective.
While I was skating, my passion for theatre started to evolve. I always loved singing and had just been to my first Broadway show. Although skating helped me come out of my shell a little bit, I was still terrified to work one on one with a voice teacher! I would make my mom sit in on lessons with me because I was so nervous, but after a few lessons I started to loosen up. I learned that my teacher was very kind and wanted to learn about who I was so that I could grow!. A private teacher has the capability to meet you at your authentic self and help translate who you are through your work in a productive way. She was able to learn about me and my abilities, and help guide me toward material that fit my voice and allowed me to grow.
When my teacher eventually introduced me to coloratura soprano material this was very daunting to me. It turned out she was on to something, and through our exploration in lessons she introduced me to a world of repertoire that inevitably excited me. Together we worked on pieces from The Pirates of Penzance and arias from operas like Susanah and Berstein classics like ‘Glitter and be Gay’. This was all material that she chose for me realizing that I was able to meet these characters authentically and with the full capabilities of my voice.
Being a voice teacher now, I look fondly back at this time because I can so easily track my progress in a beautiful way. Private lessons helped me blossom as a skater, as a singer, and as an individual. I tell all my students when they first come in that even though they may be scared now, in a few weeks they’ll be coming in, kicking off their shoes, and complaining to me about their day. Exactly what I did with all of my voice teachers. 😉
A quote from another selection below says “relation between the teacher and student seems key to motivation and sustaining of lessons”. In a similar vein that a personal trainer keeps you motivated to go to the gym, a private voice or instrument teacher keeps you motivated to continue the practice needed to start improving your talents. Having the guidance of a private teacher and the push to keep you going helps foster not only a good work ethic but a great sense of importance and creative progression in your skills.
Any sort of performing is such a vulnerable task, and studying privately can be very intimidating, no matter how long you’ve been performing! When you work with a private teacher, you will spend some time getting to know one another. They’ll ask questions about who you are, what you like to do, and what things you want to work on in your lessons. Your teacher will become a partner in helping you develop skills and reach your potential as an artist and will work with you to develop a level of comfort that allows you to do that vulnerable work that needs to be done in order to achieve your greater goals. “Attributes of the teacher go beyond vocal expertise and entail the ability to enable the student to imagine and realize their best selves”.
When you begin taking private lessons, not only will you see personal growth in the field you are studying, but you will also begin to discover growth in confidence, perspective, and even health (yes, there are health benefits to private lessons!). We can’t wait to see you in the studio!