Monday 20 January 2014

If you actually turn up I might be able to help you.

So, as has been established in past Diary Entries, when I am not performing I teach singing as means of acquiring enough money in order to pay my rent and eat. I really do enjoy this part of my life and it probably will be what I spend the majority of my working hours doing from now on (especially as I can't even get auditions for Fringe projects where I might as well be paying them to do it). The bit I hate about teaching, though, is the inevitable cancellations.

I have a few regulars and they are generally excellent at letting me know in plenty of time if they are not going to attend a lesson but the newbies are a whole other kettle of fish. I can now count on both hands and one foot the amount of people who have made appointments to come for a consultation and just don't turn up or send me a text message a couple of hours before they are due to say they are not coming for all sorts of reasons. Today one person texted me 2 hours before her first lesson to say something had come up (to add insult to injury I had even purchased sheet music and a backing track in preparation for this one). The ones who let me know I don't mind about so much but the ones who don't even bother letting me know are the villains of this piece. I don't bother texting or calling them to chase them up anymore as I am not going to waste my time on rude, inconsiderate people.

Why do people do this? I reckon there are a few reasons:

1) some people get a kick out of messing people around.

2) things come up e.g. children get ill.

3) people are scared.

Number 1 doesn't even need thinking about. These people are sad excuses for human beings. Number 2 happens. Number 3 is the one I want people to overcome.

In all of the advertising I do I make a point of saying "beginners and scaredy cats particularly welcome". Of course these are just words and, even though the picture that accompanies most of my internet advertising is quite mumsie and friendly, I know how difficult it can be to sing in front of stranger no matter how nice they are. Particularly if you rarely, if ever, sing in front of strangers. However, I also know how good it feels once you have bitten the bullet and gone to that very first singing lesson. It gives you a kind of high (I imagine, I have only ever tried smoking summat vaguely illegal at university and that gave me a headache and made me cry uncontrollably for a while, I do not mean that feeling). So although I am annoyed by the fact I won't get paid for those consultation lessons people don't turn up for I am actually more disappointed for each one that cancelled out of fear as they do not know what they are missing.

"But I sing in the shower/in the kitchen/in the car Incompetent Soprano, I know what it feels like to sing!" This is true but you may not know what it is like to feel that rush of adrenalin when you face your fear (well, you probably know that feeling from doing summat else scary but you might not have had that feeling when singing and that is the feeling I want you scaredy cats to experience). 

So all you Diary readers who have never had a singing lesson but have always wanted to try it. Do it. Book a lesson now (not necessarily with me, although all are welcome). Find someone in your area and book it. Face your fear and have a go. Just once. Nobody is asking you to commit but if you don't give it a go you may kick yourself further down the line. Just promise me you won't book it and then cancel it. I don't want to be responsible for a large number of lovely, unsuspecting singing teachers ending up in the same boat as me right now.

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