A student’s success in singing is determined by a variety of factors: anunderstanding of the vocal mechanism, the ability to coordinate efficiently the physicalprocesses involved in the act of singing, sensitivity to musicianship, and creativity ininterpretation. It is the voice teacher who plays a crucial role in fostering all of theseelements. A student’s confidence in his teacher’s abilities establishes trust and lays afoundation for progress. Therefore it is paramount for the teacher to demonstrate hiscompetence by communicating proficiently and effectively his knowledge of singing.Pearl Wormhoudt elaborates, “The teacher must know what he is doing (or the student’sfaith is sadly misplaced) and the student’s respect for the teacher’s knowledge, when hefinds it is working for him, gives him the confidence that he is building in a solid way.”
Assurance in one’s ability to demonstrate competence in all elements of vocal pedagogyis gained through years of experimentation and practical application. For a beginningteacher to be successful, he must find a way to minimize the severity of this learningcurve.Many voice teachers gain initial teaching experience during their tenure ingraduate school. Graduate voice students enter post-baccalaureate degree programs withvarying levels of performing and teaching skills. Ideally, a student will enter withsignificant academic performing experiences in such mediums as opera workshop, operaand/or musical theater productions, choral ensembles, recitals, or other solo opportunities,as well as with courses in vocal literature, diction, and foreign languages. However,students often enter their graduate degree programs having had little practical voice
Pearl Shinn Wormhoudt,
Building the Voice as an Instrument
(Oskaloosa, IA: William PennCollege, 1981), 44.