Do you agree with this statement:
Not all great singers are great teachers, but all great teachers are great singers.
Would seem to make sense, right?
The general public appears to believe it. A well-known YouTube teacher proclaims it in his videos – he sings better than anyone else, so he teaches better than anyone else.
Dr. Adam Grant is someone I pay attention to. I highly recommend just about anything he writes, blogs, tweets, or says.
Dr. Grant wrote a New York Times article recently on this very topic.
Here’s a quote:
Although it’s often said that those who can’t do teach, the reality is that the best doers are often the worst teachers.
I’ve known this to be true in my own experience for some time.
I have spent a good portion of my teaching career helping and training others to become voice teachers.
Some of my teaching students were fantastic singers looking for a change in their careers.
Others had struggled to learn to sing, the natural gifts that provide successful singing careers had eluded them.
I found those who struggled would often become extraordinary teachers who deeply understood their student’s vocal difficulties.
Were their demonstrations always great? No.
But demonstrations often need to be tailored to the student’s level of understanding. Thoroughly amazing vocal sounds can overwhelm and confuse the student, so these teachers found ways to use their less-than-amazing voices to instruct rather than impress.
I would observe and remark on their teaching abilities, but I would find many of these teachers to be inwardly embarrassed or ashamed that they were unable to dazzle vocally.
I have talked with brilliant, experienced teachers who shy away from creating content, videos, or courses because their singing voices are not currently world class.
They believe the hype, the idea that those who can’t do teach.
Which as Dr. Grant points out, is not true, in fact, the opposite is often the case.
Do you struggle vocally? Wonderful!
Your struggles will give you insight and empathy.
Rather than having mastered an issue years ago – you will be fresh from the practice room having dealt with the issue’s nuances and imbalances.
When you struggle to learn a science concept, you will likely be better able to explain it to another.
As a teacher, your flaws become beautiful strengths.
Let your flaws push you to work harder, to learn more, to find other explanations when the current ones don’t make sense.
Let them build your insight, your empathy.
As a teacher, flaws can be nature’s gifts to you.
And a beautiful gift to your students.
P.S. If you have ever considered using your singing journey to help others, my Contemporary Voice Teacher Academy can give you the tools you need to get started teaching voice. Click HERE for more information.