Voice lessons at a private studio or performing arts center: Which looks better on a resume?

There was recently a post on a Facebook voice teacher group stating that a parent was considering switching voice studios because they thought that having a performing arts school listed on their child’s resume would look better than a private studio. The teacher was frustrated and rightfully so. I suspect that the parent thinks they are looking out for their child’s best interest, but their point of view is simply not true and I think it is a topic that needs to be discussed.

When we are listening to a singer at an undergraduate college audition we are evaluating one thing: the singer. If the student can sing, we are interested. If they have technical issues, we may not be as interested. It is that simple. Auditioning for college programs is extremely stressful and students and parents are always trying to strategize, get inside the audition panel’s head, and attempt to take control of the situation in any way they can. A lot of time and energy is spent trying to control things that cannot be controlled. Time that would be better spent on practicing, taking musicianship classes, and improving one’s skill sets. If a teacher is not giving a student what they need, that is a different conversation. However, if the only reason for switching teachers is an assumption that the teacher’s name (or teaching location) will make a difference between getting into a college or not, then I think the student/parent is making a mistake. It usually takes one to three months to get comfortable with a new teacher and if you are starting your senior year, that is time you don’t have to waste.

As you continue on your journey remember that practice makes perfect and technique is more important than anything you list on your resume.

~Matt

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2 comments

  1. I concur entirely!
    I have taught in university music programs and I bring that experience to my teaching of those preparing for university auditions.
    When hearing auditions, I might look at who taught the student or I might not. It never has any bearing at all on acceptance or rejection. Acceptance is all based on how the student sings, whether they are expressive and musical, whether the voice is pleasant and the singer shows good instincts for producing a sound and/or a good start with a healthy technique. The big eliminating factor would be severe intonation issues.

  2. Great post Matt. I have had to explain to my own parents many times how criteria considered quite valuable in some fields (name of school, GPA, etc.) just doesn’t hold its own against good singing and technique in our field.

    I do think there could be value in a student having some sort of connection to a performing arts school for skill building and networking. This doesn’t need to be in the form of a voice teacher or solely for the name of the school though, as you say. Instead, a student could take music theory lessons, acting classes, or build other skills needed in this field while also having the network, if that’s really important to a student.

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