For the starting out vocalist, or even for the professional at anything, I don't think there is one bestanyone.
Vocalists, Performers, Teachers/Coaches, and most anyone I know has had their dreams. In our youth the dreams are, for the most part, grandiose. For a very small few, they aren't. For whatever reasons, those people hit it big. I like to think it's destiny, but who knows?
Ego deflation has taken its time on me. I don't know about anyone else, but I am one of those people who had to be brought down to what I call "right size." Yes, okay, it wasn't pretty, but I came to accept something that made me very happy. I am THE BEST teacher for those who find their way to me. It's that simple. For those singers who come to learn from me in my 'lab,' I invest everything I have to give. For myself, I've learned I really can't afford to take students on just for money. I want to be teaching those who are sincerely hungry to learn.
In my practice, I've noticed many 'a confused' student. They come not having been able to understand so many things after so many lessons with other instructors.Often its' because of misperception with semantics when, in reality, we are all trying to teach right way. With my own clientele, I've found it important to not only learn how to explain things using the right words, but to also learn how to communicate on different levels. My dictionaries have been quite useful with this.
The "just do it" method never worked for me, so why would I think it would work for my students? In my mind, it's like when I was a kid and asked my parents, "Why?" and they came back at me with "because I said so." Some students don't even understand why they even have to bother practicing vocalises just because they've never understood the reasoning behind it.
"Learn by do" is one of my mottos, but we also have to have some intellectual understanding of how things work or the puzzle pieces won't come together when physically experienced. It all has to make sense. The AH HA moments come when someone has repeatedly physically experienced right way. I teach a lot of foreigners. There are a lot of words they don't understand. This is where my acting (used to be an actress -- long story) and my willingness to look ridiculous comes in handy. Often I have to imitate the unnatural ways in which a singer is trying to go after something, exxagerate it so much that they get the point. It never fails that we both end up laughing hysterically in these moments. And to me, laughter is so healing, so important.
It's also surprising ( at least to me) that those who are famous, have the money to spend, and don't sing well 'live' aren't doing the research to find the teachers who are equipped to fix such problems. I'd be embarrassed to have someone running around telling people, "I took lessons with Dena Murray" if I hadn't corrected such things. Additionally, it's such a let-down for fans to hear that their favorites need so much technology just to be able sound as good as they do on their CDs. It leaves those who are really trying to learn something feeling badly about themselves (their investment), and wondering about their own journeys.
I don't like to judge whey anyone has chosen to take voice lessons. There may be reasons that none of us may know until it's time to part ways --and personally, I don't want to be the type who tries to hang on to someone just because I might need money. At that point, there would not only be an undercurrent of resistance, but trying to learn anything would prove unproductive. Besides, it doesn't make room for someone else who might need my service.
As instructors, most all are trying to teach the same things and not hurt anyone's voice. In that way, we are all one. I also believe it to be very true that each and every one of has something very unique to bring to the table and that this is what separates us. I have not only learned multitudes from other teachers, methods, and books, I have also learned from my students. I'm not just a professional instructor of voice, I am also still a professional student. I love the challenge of learning new things; challenging my own self.
All of that said, it is a privilege to be on this site, an honor to be able to work with such a supportive, professional, gifted, and accomplished group of people.
And, if any of you singers find yourself with a teacher who doesn't necessarily 'click 'for you, remember that sometimes it takes having a 'wrong fit' to realize when you've found the right one.
I thank all of you for your gifts and the willingness to share them.