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April 15, 2015

1. characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession
2. exhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally businesslike manner in the workplace

I keep stumbling across voice teacher websites and online voice forums where voice “professionals” publicly discourage young children from taking singing lessons. I understand that most voice teachers have a preferred student client (see our earlier blog on niche marketing and how this can benefit your studio) It makes good business sense to clearly define your customer base. But publicly discouraging (discriminating against) a specific age group from studying vocal music? This is unprofessional.  I am asking my fellow colleagues to consider the following:

Our colleagues who teach instrumental lessons -  some of them teach students starting as young as 4 years old. Some choose not to work with the younger child. What our instrumental colleagues don’t do is make biased statements publicly, online or on their teaching websites about whether you should or shouldn't and they don’t discourage parents from signing up their kids for lessons. They are all advocates of music education.

Voice and instrumental lessons for younger students are different. They are not repertoire based. They are about discovering the instrument with fun games and simple instruction. These cool teachers encourage healthy technique with unique, visual instruction. “Draw a rainbow with your hand” . They introduce new and exciting music that the young student may have never heard before. These awesome students discover the language of music – pitch, rhythm, and harmony in a kid friendly environment.

Be a professional: Get to know the voice teachers (and piano teachers) in your area. Who teaches pop rock and jazz? Who teaches classical voice? Who is connected in the musical theatre scene?  Who teaches languages? Who teaches pedagogy? Who LOVES working with children? (LOTS OF US!) And if someone shows up at your door looking for something outside of your “niche” – Merrily send them to another.  There are enough students out there for all of us! WE can all help each other and create a thriving, professional community where everyone benefits.

Truth Bomb: Just because you are not able to work with a specific age group of student, does not mean you are a lesser teacher. There is no need to compensate by saying you don’t teach them because they are “not ready”.

Atomic Truth Bomb: Turning a young student away from your lesson studio is your choice. Discouraging a child from taking lessons all together is irresponsible and unprofessional and can have a negative and lasting effect on the child and the family. Singing is for everyone.

We have some great teacher workshops coming up. Check them out.

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