Sunday, August 19, 2012

On Becoming A Coach: Part One

People have been asking recently how I got started in the coaching biz.
It seems, on the eve of taking the Singers Playground workshops national, (Winnipeg, Toronto, Halifax and Vancouver!), to be a good moment to look back at how this all got started.

                                                 Private  Coaching Studio in Los Angeles

   Frankly, I started teaching voice technique because the actors singing my score in theatre productions weren't skilled enough to pull them off (and I wanted help my compositions to be heard! A very selfish reason when you think about it).

        I asked the actors to informally come by my apartment on Spadina Ave. in Toronto for me to show them a few things… And the miracle would happen that I was somehow able to free their minds and bodies enough to let a better sound happen for them on stage.

Luckily for me because due to early success with theatre and film actors, I began to coach productions, (including the original touring production of "The Rez Sisters"). That started actors seeing me before singing auditions and a kind of reputation as a "useful" coach began.

                              While coaching on CBC's "How To Solve A Problem Like Maria"

 For many of the early years I thought of my teaching as a way to pay the rent, without a real professional focus, as is the case with many coaches..(which is why I always suggest singers interview many coaches before settling on someone to work with)....

....... but over time I came to see which methods worked best, both in terms of teaching actual technique and most importantly how to find the most effective ways of communicating until the singer opened up to the work and began to find their sound.
 I seemed to have an instinct and a knack for getting through to even the most fearful and blocked singers, something which I would expand upon later in my coaching career.

Up next in Part Two: Vocal Coaching and The Nylons!

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