Bold Claims

I came upon an interesting piece of advertising today. As you might imagine, I quite regularly use Google to see what other voice instruction is being offered in my geographical area. I came across a website for a young teacher, “licensed” via one of the available methods of teaching singing (I may write more on my thoughts of these methods at another time). Most of the descriptions on the site, and incidentally of the linked site of the particular method, were in my opinion quite sound. There was little that I would disagree with, and in fact a description of how to choose a singing teacher that I believe would reflect very favourably on how I teach. However, one particular part of the teacher’s website caused me to react. The teacher expects that early lessons with a new student would involve an understanding of what is happening functionally with the voice, and also exercises to improve the voice. Well, nothing to argue with there. The next phrase is a bit much though “with no other teacher in the Nottingham area will you find a more thorough breakdown of what is functionally happening in your voice.” Initially I felt a little insulted by this – hopefully I am viewed as a teacher with a thorough understanding of the functionalilty of voice production (it is certainly an area of study that takes up a lot of my time). After a little reflection, I decided it was just symptomatic of many of the more exaggerated claims that one is likely to find on websites. Of course, this particular teacher has no way of validating his claim, as they have no idea what the others of us in the area may be doing in lessons. A quick search of the area will find at least two very well regarded teachers working within specialist voice units of the NHS. I suspect that their knowledge of the functionality of the voice is as good as anyone would come to expect. Furthermore, a quick search revealed that the teacher of the bold claims has been teaching for a year, and singing for around 3 years. Even my own relatively recent start in the world of teaching is now approaching 5 years, with 15 years of singing study preceding this move. Now, this might all mean nothing. Regardless of experience, this teacher cannot know what I and others teach in the way of voice physiology and function because they have never observed us working. In the same way, I cannot say if their expertise belies their inexperience. For that fact, I can only claim what I offer – not in any way compare it to what others can offer, because I simply cannot validate such claims. I will not offer to be better, different, superior, to other teachers. All I can do is give an indication of what I do, what my expertise is, and how I hope to help your long term singing and vocal health. I may miss the advertising opportunities of wild claims, but I remain with a fairly clear conscience that I am doing this for the right reasons.

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