Voice Teacher PSA:
Not every performance is a voice jury.
I know we are in that habit this time of year, but must we really critique every single performer’s technique as right or wrong?
Effective? That’s different. Easy vs straining? Sure. But what about all the conditional factors involved that aren’t being included in your critique.
Besides who really cares?
Was it an effective performance - not for a voice teacher - but for the audience?
Singing is not about technique. Sorry, it’s not. Technique is only a means to share your gifts with the world in an easier / more effective way. No one sings or performs in a vacuum. To be successful, you need an audience. No audience cares about formants or placement or acoustical resonance (except for other professionals who are not the majority.) The audience cares about what the performance makes them feel. End of story.
I would much rather watch a passionate and connected singer perform “Angels We Have Heard on High” mispronouncing the Latin and singing the top of the runs flat, than watch a technically perfect singer who is so obsessed with technique that they have no emotional connection or story. Just Sayin’.
Can we please stop belittling performers who choose a technique that may not be “perfect” according to a book or some pedagogical lineage? Could we instead ask: Does it work in THEIR story?
If the audience enjoyed it - does it matter?
As you watch your nine millionth Messiah Aria or the twelve thousandth pop rendition of O Holy Night, enjoy the performance. Turn off your “jury ears” and focus on what they do well. Focus on what gifts that performer is sharing with the world.
Especially if they are your students.
It will make the season more enjoyable, I promise.
Signed, Your Friendly Neighborhood Actor’s Coach (and Fellow Voice Teacher)