Fear Follies

I find it interesting that I get so many inquiries from potential new voice students on my website. In ten inquiries only about five of them will follow through to meet me and start lessons. Of those five who begin, two will quit within a month and only three will stick with it for three months or longer. These are the students who will start actually seeing real results and often will study for years with me. Since I began teaching in 1993, I’ve tried to assess whether there is a particular personality type that will commit and persist and one that will fall by the wayside but to date I am still perplexed which type is which. I have spoken with numerous other singing teachers over the years and they tell me their averages are very similar to my own so I gave up taking it personally long ago and have come to the conclusion that the bottom line is fear.

Fear of success, of being all you can be, of communicating, of being vulnerable, of really putting yourself out there - whatever the particular fear, I believe that this is the root cause as to why someone will want to begin voice lessons, even take one step forward in learning how to sing or speak in public and then fall off completely. Many of us have wishes but the difference between a wish and a goal is an action plan. As I’ve said before, nothing happens over night and I ask my students to commit to at least 3 months of lessons with the exception being if they want event-specific coaching. Within 3 months, both of us will know whether we are a good fit for each other. I will have a pretty good idea of my student’s raw vocal talent, work ethic and practice habits and they will have a very good idea of my teaching style, the vibe of my voice studio and my expectations of them.

I LOVE working with vocal students who have a specific goal in mind such as performing one song at a talent show , auditioning for a role in a play or giving a speech at a wedding. When they have a deadline and a very specific end result in mind, it gives us both a much greater focus. Perhaps the specific fear of failure they are dealing with in their own mind is a more powerful driver than the more ambiguous fear of success or vulnerability? To quote a bumper sticker I saw a few years ago, “fear sucks”. I believe this… it sucks your motivation to move forward, it sucks your ambition to better yourself and it sucks your energy to create. Nothing positive ever comes of fear and in most cases, fear lives only in your own mind… let it go and allow yourself to have and be all of those good things you secretly envision.

Another great quote I say to my voice students is “what would you attempt to do if you knew with absolute certainty you could not fail?”