Sometimes my voice students become great teachers to me. In fact, there is an old saying "if you want to learn how to do something well, teach it to someone else".
I am currently teaching vocal control and awareness to a lovely teenage girl. The point of our lessons is to help her gain a better understanding of her voice and how to communicate more effectively. The other day, when we were practicing for a speech she had to give, she stumbled over some words. Immediately she said "that's okay, I'm learning".
This really struck me. How many times do we beat ourselves up for doing something wrong or for struggling to master a new concept, whether it is in music, singing or something else in our day-to-day lives. We say things to ourselves we would never dream of saying to another person. Switching to the simple phrase of "I'm learning" is a real game changer and one that I am now incorporating in my voice lessons.
In the same week in the Kelowna Voice Lab music studio, I had another novice singer who made the deadly mistake of recording her voice after just one singing lesson. She came back the next week disappointed and discouraged. I asked her who she was comparing her voice to: Beyonce? Lady Gaga? Unfortunately, those voices are already taken.
A studio environment is all about perfection - they may spend a month on just one song. There is a team of professional sound engineers dedicated to tweaking every single nuance of their voices to get that "perfect" sound. Difficult notes or moments in a song can be digitally modified or looped to create moments that are impossible to recreate live.
This sets up an unrealistic environment for everyday singers that is impossible to live up to. It's like "Photoshop for the voice". As I say on my Voice Lab credo... "every voice is unique", make the most out of yours and remember, at every single stage of your vocal life, be it beginner or professional... "I'm learning".