Questionnaire about singing teaching

1. How long have you been teaching for?
I have been teaching for 12 years now, starting with the Academy of Contemporary Music In Guildford, then Chichester Uni & BIMM. Also Private Students.

2. What were the main skills you needed in order to become a singing teacher?
Music Skills such as Aural Perception, Basic Keyboard Skills, IT Skills, Psychology (Singers are often blessed/cursed with artistic sensitivities!) Business Skills, Being always on time, working with different musical tastes…

3. Is it a challenging or daunting job, and if so how?
I found it to be so for the 1st 3 years as I was learning how to teach & learning about vocal techniques myself. Then it suddenly got quite a bit easier.

4. If there’s one student misbehaving in a class, how do you approach this?
Nip it in the bud by saying “Timothy, put your phone away” (or words to that effect!) If they continue to be troublesome, a chat outside, then if it worsens ask for an accompanied chat with a member of learning support. Interestingly, this does not happen in one-to-one lessons.

5. Have you gained confidence from teaching?
In certain areas yes, in others I realise just how much more there is to learn!
I guess, I trust my judgements now.

6. How do the students react to your teaching methods?
I think it would be a great idea to ask them! Why don’t you take a cross section from my classes to get a true picture?
I would be intruiged to know the results!

7. Do you have some useful tips for teaching? In terms of how to engage students during the lesson.
Ensure that as much of it as possible can be participatory. Singers love to be involved & are not always passionate about sitting still listening!

8. What makes a successful lesson?
Finding something that inspires the individuals & challenges them just enough that they feel they have achieved something & there is still a little “stretch” that has occurred.

9. What do you think are the best ways to motivate students?
Appreciation of their efforts/courage to try something new/ musicality/performance etc. Each and every student seems to have different motivations, this comes from observing your group & each person’s level.

10. Do the students tend to enjoy your lessons?
Again, feel free to interview them!

11. Which parts of the lessons do you think the students enjoy the most?
When I manage to get them thinking & reacting in ways that they would not have thought possible before.

12. How do you manage situations where students are distracted or disinterested?
I chat to them outside as generally this does not happen.
13. How long does it take you to prepare a lesson or a sequence of lessons?
Quite a long time, I tend to prepare powerpoint lesson plans for the whole 10 week term, then review to see if the course is progressing enough through a sufficient amount of challenges for the level of the group.

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