My teacher Cornelius Reid used to warn budding teachers, “There are as many singing methods as there are singers.”

He meant, I believe, that 1) people come with a unique blend of problems, skill levels, misconceptions, attitudes, and enrgy levels; and 2) everyone has an individual style of learning. Disregarding this truth is one of the core problems with our system of school education. If you don’t believe me, ask yourself and a few friends if your educational needs got met to your satisfaction in high school. Did you feel adequately nurtured, challenged, appreciated for your unique gifts?

Thought so.

That is why I have taken Cornelius at his word and worked hard to derive a custom method for each of my students that addresses their goals, talents, and challenges precisely.

If you know of a teacher who applies a one-size-fits-all approach to teaching her students, pray that the method either miraculously suits the one person for whom it might be the perfect solution. . .or is so far off the mark that students are able to perceive its ineffectiveness when applied to them.

Pity the poor student for whom the method is almost right. That singer might never learn how close he came to great technique without actually reaching it.

I beg you to excuse the dire tone of this posting, which I’m going to attribute to this blasted flu, which has caused me for the first time in my life, ironically, to lose my voice. I just hate to see learners of anything unnecessarily limiting their growth by buying into the Myth of Method.

And that is no April Fool!


  1. Joan Barber says:

    I just did a show in Florida and had to go on for a woman who was stricken with laryngitis. The day the show closed I got the same bug. AGH! Haven't had one of those viruses since I can't remember when, so I empathize with you 100%. I also empathize with your blog post. I always tell my students that I am teaching each one of them as an individual. My mentor, Wesley Balk used to warn us against the One and Only Perfect Something. OOPS!

  2. Jeff Hall says:

    Forgive me if I've misunderstood you Michael but I'm thinking of doing some voice training so that I can schmooz-alonga-karaoke without giving myself a sore throat. I am STAT trained AT teacher in the UK.

    I've been warned by one of my friends who is a successful popular music singer that I should avoid being trained by an opera singer because I'll never be able to sing the blues afterwards.

    So… are you saying that you can adapt your teaching to someone like me or are you saying I need to choose a teacher who already sings the way I want to sing? Or are both these alternatives wrong?

  3. Online PhD UK Funding by Patricia Rice says:

    I think that your teacher really has a point. It is a big deal in schools with kids because they don’t understand that not everyone learns the same. We don’t all fit into the mold.

    My homepage | Online PhD UK Programs

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