Proposed Consent Agreement In the Matter of Music Teachers National Association, Inc. #00131

Submission Number:
D. Woerner
Woodlark Arts, Inc.
New York
Initiative Name:
Proposed Consent Agreement In the Matter of Music Teachers National Association, Inc.
Matter Number:


This is an absurd proposed change, which can only harm the voice teaching profession as a whole, and most important, our students. It could only have been contemplated by people with no understanding of the process of training voices. I speak from 30 years' experience. Voice teaching is not the compare-our-rates version of the energy industry, the try-one-on-for-size clothing industry, the real estate industry. The relationship between a voice teacher and his or her student needs to be one of trust and integrity, a safe space for the student to develop. And it's a form of service that generally takes years with a CONSISTENT course of technical study to bear fruit in a student being fully prepared for a career, for college auditions, or for their maximum enjoyment and potential as an amateur vocalist. Voice teaching professionals are already free, like everyone else in the world, to put our credentials and special areas of expertise out there in public: in our communities, print media, the internet, by offering workshops, etc. A student who is not happy with, or has outgrown, his or her current teacher has full access to information about potentially hundreds more. Since no teacher knows everything a student may need eventually to learn, it's relatively common for a student to study with one person for a period of time, usually a few years, and then seek new impressions and knowledge. A handful of unethical instructors, who either aren't members of our professional organizations, or aren't compliant members, already engage in direct "poaching" of students; there will always be a few rotten apples. Some try to hide this and assure a student that they can study with two people at the same time. That's a recipe for vocal disaster for the student. Outlawing the non-solicitation tenet of our organizations' ethics, thus officially authorizing direct poaching, would be extremely destructive. It would 1) create unnecessary confusion for vulnerable students, potentially blighting promising careers; and 2) set the stage for a free-for-all of back-biting and mistrust among voice teachers, instead of the largely collegial atmosphere now enjoyed. So, exactly who would benefit? The people who are better at self-promotion and persuasion of the vulnerable than they are at actually teaching? I challenge you to explain the benefit you anticipate to those actually engaged in this beautiful profession! Is there a way to say NO more strongly?