As I reach a new decade and a new phase in my life, I give gratitude for the fact that I’ll continue to grow as a teacher for another 10 years.
I never planned on being a teacher. It sort of just fell into my lap. When I was completing my vocal pedagogy course at the University of Southern California, we were required to offer 10 voice lessons to a friend or aquaintence and report back weekly. I found a fellow student in my school choir and, when she and I met for our first “lesson,” I think I was more nervous than she was– wondering if I would have any information to offer her. As soon as we started working together, my intuition kicked in and my mouth was going a mile a minute: sharing stories, confessing my own vocal experiences, correcting her technique, coming up with ideas for fixes, and offering guidance. We were only supposed to meet for 20 minutes, but those 20 minutes turned into an hour as she and I learned from eachother. I couldn’t believe how much fun I was having and how easily teaching came to me. At the end of the semester, the girl I worked with created a giant giftbasket for me and wrote my first testimonial which is still on my website to this day. She made me feel, for the first time, like I was making a difference in the world.
When I moved on to grad school, I was given the opportunity to be assistant opera director at West Virginia University. With that position came the responsibility of teaching acting classes to the entire vocal student body as well as directing the opera scenes program. With knees shaking, I created lessons plans, answered questions, and started to use my own imagination to problem-solve and make something new. I was teaching students who were older than me, and yet, I still felt like I had something to offer. So, here I was, the quiet girl with low self-esteem, who finally found her voice by using it to help others.
After moving back to California, I instantly set up a private voice studio, as I went through the audition circuit in search of a performance career. I thought I’d take on 2 or 3 students to help supplement my other jobs, but word-of-mouth in this small community brought over 10 students to my studio within the year. After 6 years of private teaching, I currently have over 25 students and a waitlist. It’s been a long process over the years of seeing what works for me and for my students. So much has changed about my teaching style as I continue to do research, learn, and try new things…yoga being one of them. I am so grateful I get to fill my days sharing, learning, and helping others grow. I may be a big fish in a little pond, but I care about this little pond and I love each and every one of my students. Their progress, joy, and vocal journeys give me purpose and I am excited to see where the next decade of teaching brings me.