Possible teacher switch for junior year?

<p>I am 16, a high school junior, and future vocal performance major. I have had the same teacher for four years. He was my teacher for MT, and for the past two years, classical. I always look forward to seeing him. My family thinks I'm "in love" with him as a teacher. But over the past two years, I've had my times of doubt. For one, while he knows I'm aiming for vocal performance in college, he always thinks I'm in a grade younger than I am. When I was a sophomore, he kept on saying "oh, you're a freshman, right?" and now, as a junior he sometimes says, "oh you're on a great track for top schools - because you're in 10th grade, right? " When I remind him that I'm a junior, he says "oh, well you're doing fine." </p>

<p>Also, he hasn't been historically great with helping me with repertoire choices. Still, when I sing, 99% of the time, people say "It is obvious that you have a great teacher". I've placed in every competition that I've done locally, but not at the first two national competitions I went to over the spring and summer. I got great comments, but at one of them, repertoire choice was one of the negatives that may have cost me the next round. While I was hesitant, he assured me it would be fine to go with one of my pieces. He also doesn't really give me the chance to say that I don't like a song. He tells me something will be great for me, and then I pretty much have to sing it. </p>

<p>I recently sang a short recital, and someone that spoke to me told me I should try some new teachers - maybe women, as I am a soprano voice. I'm not really sure what I should be doing, and I'd feel bad for letting go of a good teacher - I wouldn't know how to do that. I just want to make sure that when I apply for schools, I'm getting into the best ones on my list. I'm confident in my potential, but sometimes I feel like maybe I'm not maximizing it.</p>

<p>Where have other students of this teacher gone to college? Are they the schools similar to ones you want to attend? If not, it is time to find someone who does send students to the level you want to go to. If he is successful sending students where you want to go, then maybe you could talk to him about communication and more resources for repertoire. </p>

<p>If you are going to make the change, you must do it now to give yourself time with the new teacher before preparing for next fall's pre-screenings. Find a teacher who sends students to the level of schools you want to attend. Leaving one teacher for another might make you feel bad at first, but people do it all of the time when one teacher is no longer providing what they need. You thank the current teacher for all he has done, but let him know you feel it is time for a change.</p>

<p>I would try some trial lessons with different teachers. One of S's best friends (VP major) switched teachers later than you (summer after Jr. year) and it made a huge difference in his auditions. He was accepted at his top 2 choices (attending a top conservatory now) and struggled with the same decision after many years with his teacher. I agree with Singersmom in that the sooner you do make the switch, the better. It takes a lot of prep work before auditions.</p>

<p>It also sounds as if your gut instinct has been spot on and since you are questioning the move yourself - I would pay attention to your instinct. This is your life and future.</p>

<p>The audition trail is crowded with sopranos of all shapes and sizes, so you need to do whatever is necessary to give yourself the best possible chance. Local competitions are not always good indicators because the judges and teachers know each other and who comes from what studio/school etc, but the feedback from larger events could be an excellent indicator that you are not singing what you should be. Too often, teachers hand arias to students without spending time on the Art Song rep and Bel Canto technique, and it catches up, sooner or later. The fact that your current teacher is a bit absent minded isn't a big worry now, but it just factors into the uncertainty you are feeling.
Are there other teachers in your area that you could take a lesson with? While you are talking to them, discuss what they have done for their students and where those students are attending school/working before getting into your goals.</p>

<p>One suggestion I have is in the same vein as what someone else suggested with having sample lessons, and that is find someone who is considered a top level teacher, maybe at a good quality music school or the like near where you live or at least doable, and get an assessment of where you are. I can't speak much about voice, I only know what I have gleaned from here mostly, but I do know the teacher is critical, and I also know with music instruction that a lot of teachers don't necessarily know what it takes to get into a top level program, it is amazing how many teachers I hear of or have met who actually went to high level programs and such, and seem clueless. In any event, if you get an assessment it should tell you whether this teacher is doing the right thing or not, if the teacher tells you you have major holes or isssues, it may be time to find another teacher (maybe the person you got the assessment from could recommend someone in your area?). Your current teacher could well be good at getting someone started, but with teachers often a student comes to the point where they can't teach them any more, and good teachers will at that point help the student find someone they believe can guide them from there (sadly, there are also more then a few teachers who are over their head with advanced students, but refuse to recognize it, which is not good). </p>

<p>I agree with what another poster said, don't take feedback like "oh, you sound so good, you must have a great teacher" or winning a local competition too seriously. Many of the people telling you that, even quite honestly people who may have music backgrounds, may not know the difference in levels of performing, they may not be aware of how competitive voice is and so forth. Likewise, based on my own experience with local competitions and seeing the levels there, those judging it often are local teachers who IME don't necessarily have the kind of skills to discern what makes for a top level performance, I have seen kids win local competitions on instruments who to be honest were average public school music students at best, but everyone was telling them "how great they were"...not knocking local competitions or saying they don't mean anything, just saying that the level there is not a great indicator of how well you are doing:)</p>

<p>Hi,
My senior S has studied with same teacher for 5 years and his teacher want to keep study together with him at college. He is a very well known professor and will support him fully.
However, if my S go to his school, it will be more than 10 years together with same teacher.
Teacher suggested my S can see other teacher at summer program.
Do you think it will too long period? Of course, we all like him.
Thanks!</p>

<p>Many people will disagree with me, but I'm of the opinion that more than 4-5 years with the same teacher is generally unproductive. Both parties become "comfortable" with the other's strengths and weaknesses and even in terrific teacher/terrific student pairs, there's a tendency to "get in a rut." </p>

<p>I think the high school to college transition is a good time to switch teachers. Of course if
[quote]
will support him fully

[/quote]
means a full scholarship, I could be convinced to change my mind!</p>

<p>Stradmom, it means full scholarship.
We appreciate so much for that offer but I worry same point you mentioned.</p>

<p>I had a teacher like that once. She always held me back and when I went to a new teacher I had to start all over from the basics. I would find a reputable teacher at the local conservatory/uni and see who is the best match for you. It's worth the risk. trust me.</p>

<p>Cresendo, that does change the playing field considerably.</p>

<p>Repertory choices are crucial in vocal development. If your teacher does not understand that, your voice will not develop appropriately. However, you are singing well, and you do not want to make a mistake in choosing someone else. Have you discussed this with your choral director at school? Whoever it is that gave you a clue that the repertory may have been to your disadvantage.....do you have access to talking to that person? Before you do so, ask your choral director if he/she knows that person, make sure it is someone reliable, not just a person who was there, or someone who knows nothing. If you would like to send me a private message with more details (what the repertory was, where you live, what your logistical options are), I would be glad to try to help you. Good luck.</p>