The teaching of singing is, by its very nature, a humanistic endeavor. The instrument being trained is part of the human body and thus part of a human being. Many pedagogic perspectives attempt to separate the instrument from the artist for the sake of isolating vocal technique. But, since it is impossible to remove the instrument from the singer’s body, it must be addressed as a part of the singing artist. A human being is an intricate creature that has many interrelated parts that can have great effect on one another; if one aspect of a person is changed, it will inevitably influence other aspects of that person to varying degrees. This complexity necessitates the inclusive awareness of all aspects of that person in any endeavor that seeks to alter a person’s body, mind, or spirit. Teaching singing with an individual’s needs and complexities in mind is, by definition, humanistic.
A voice teacher’s scope of practice has always been vague, which has been both beneficial and detrimental to the profession. There are ethical guidelines provided by professional organizations and suggested practices throughout the literature, but the profession is not one that requires specific training, certification, or legal licensure, and therefore cannot easily be regulated or unified in scope or method. Regardless of teaching style, teachers may find that they need to play many roles beyond that of vocal technician when working with a voice student; a humanistic approach to teaching singing makes this inevitable. But it is important that voice teachers understand the boundaries of their practice along with those of related professions so they may provide their students with appropriate guidance and resources, and refer knowledgeably to other professionals as needed.
The Clinical and Educational Model of Wellness, though intended for use by counselors, is perfectly designed to help voice teachers assess the needs of their students, and to create and execute goals that will help them to achieve their optimal state of well-being. When singers are well, they have the possibility to reach their full potential vocally, artistically, and personally; if singers are unwell, even in a way that is seemingly unrelated to their art, they will be inhibited, making vocal and artistic progress much more difficult. Teaching singing humanistically and through a perspective of wellness is not only an effective way to assist a student’s vocal and artistic development but also will help them to achieve personal wellness giving them a better quality of life.