Very tricky… one of my teachers just told me a very similar story! I think what you’re doing is great – the most you can possibly do! Just ask the student what they feel is the best way to go forward at this stage? Do they feel like they’re moving forward even if it’s just in the smallest way?
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Very Very Nervous Student (Singing Teachers)
I have a student that is the most nervous of anyone I have ever taught before and I am struggling to know what to do. I have seen her for 6 lessons now, and I have just about managed to get her to sing 3 notes. When we sit and chat we get on really well but when we start doing anything to do with singing she just freezes.
I couldn’t even get her to do breathing exercises to start with, but she is now happy with those. Recently, I have also been able to get her to hum a few notes, but she stops after 3 to 4 notes. I then try to open the hum into a vowel (just on a sustained note) and she will just about do this, but is terrified of singing it wrong, or sounding bad so stops. She is never fully using her voice. So far in the last 3 lessons I have managed to get her to sing 3 notes. (middle C, D, sometimes an E). No tactic or encouragement I have tried so far works.
I have tried just talking exercises and projecting sentences at different volumes, which she was able to do. I have tried different sounds rather than singing to find different places of her voice. I never ask her to sing on her own, I always sing with her, but she is so quiet (not really singing) that its impossible to do anything.
I give her the same exercises we do in the lesson to practice at home, and she says she can do those fine at home, she just can’t do them with me.
Has anyone had anything like this before? Do you have any tips? I don’t feel like I can help her right now and I don’t want to waste her money, but on the flip side, I also don’t want to give up on her as I definitely do not want to ruin her confidence even more.
We have a 45 minute lesson, should I decrease this to 30 minutes, but do it twice a week or something and see if the frequency improves her confidence?