Former pro singer Jessica Thomas explains how BAST Training helped her start her own singing teaching business.
It’s a year since Jessica Thomas swapped performing for teaching – and what a year it’s been.
No sooner had she completed BAST’s Singing Teacher Training course and landed her first student, than lockdown hit.
The former cruise ship singer had to adapt quickly to online teaching and figure out how to build a business when it felt like the whole world had come to a halt.
Almost a year on, Jessica’s West Yorkshire practice – where she teaches pop and MT to children and adults – is thriving.
BAST spoke to Jessica about the challenges and rewards of running her own studio.
Why did you choose to study with BAST Training?
After working on cruise ships for eight years, I wanted to spend more time on dry land. I knew the basics – as I had been a professional singer for so long – but I wanted to have the technical knowledge behind me.
What did you find useful about the course?
It gave me the confidence that I needed to start teaching. I loved the lesson plans and learning about vocal assessments.
I also really enjoyed learning about vocal pathologies. The course opened my eyes to the vocal health aspect of teaching. While I didn’t suffer any vocal injuries during my career, a few of my friends did, so I’m aware of how difficult it can be to cope with an injury.
How do you market your business?
Social media is really useful. I have Facebook and Instagram business pages which are linked and a website (singingwithjess.com). I also get many ideas from The Studio Challenge, which provides online business coaching for music schools.
What have you learned in your first year of teaching?
I’ve discovered that I’m a good teacher. I was so nervous at first – especially when I had to shift to teaching on Zoom. But the feedback that I’ve had from students and their parents has been great.
2020 was such a challenging year for kids; I wanted to provide weekly sessions that were fun, safe and educational. I never want any of my students to feel judged. Seeing their confidence grow has been really rewarding.
What are your future plans?
My studio at home is small, so when we can get back to face-to-face teaching, I’m thinking about hiring a space to use as a studio.
I’m also looking into peripatetic teaching and getting some day-time students – my afternoons and evenings are booked up.
What advice would you give a singer who is considering moving into teaching?
If it’s an idea that you keep going back to again and again, then definitely give it a go. Teaching is a great skill to have, and because you can teach online, you can teach from anywhere in the world. That means you can easily combine it with performing if that’s what you want to do.
Read more about the BAST course here.