A few months ago, I emailed the local private voice teachers and asked if they wanted to meet for coffee. For some reason, it felt strange, like I was upsetting the balance of nature, but I suppose those feelings were based on how I imagined that they would react.
I was almost positive they would ignore me, but I had nothing to lose because I wanted colleagues in my new town. Would they think me strange or be so horribly unimpressed by my credentials/teaching philosophy that I’d be considered far below them professionally and unworthy of association? If nothing else, why WOULD they fraternize with the competition?
Well, I like to have singer friends because we are all in this together, fellow artists on similar missions who benefit from shared resources and experiences. I’ve come to this conclusion after going through the important process of internalizing my value as an artist. I’ve learned that my artistic voice cannot be mimicked or replaced, however seemingly insignificant in the professional world. I’ve also learned that my musical contribution is worthy of expression and is not dependent upon outside approval. This security in who I am as a musician has carried over into my personal relationships.
I contacted these other voice teachers, because I believed that life would be richer and better knowing them, even if it meant that I had fewer private students. If a student has a choice between me and other teachers, we are actually more likely to have a good fit in the private teaching relationship should they choose me. It is not fun teaching when you have a rough match and usually doesn’t result in a long term student anyway. It does teach ME a lot though!
The great thing about this experiment that I want to share is that both singers contacted me back and wanted to meet me too. In fact, the one I already consider a friend. I have already appreciated knowing her personally and as a professional resource (she is a great sounding board and will be referring some of her students to me this summer while she is away). The other woman I will meet with today and update you on that. I love how taking a risk has resulted in making me feel more established in my community professionally and given me a new friend (hopefully two).