When vocal coach Claire Cannon studied with BAST Training, she found her tribe – a group of people as passionate about voice as she is. Claire, a graduate of the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, discusses her singing teacher journey and the people, books and podcasts that inspire her.
Why did you seek out singing teacher training with BAST?
My vocal coach was a BAST trainer, and I was fascinated by how much he knew about vocal science and how he was able to help me develop my voice. I knew instantly that I wanted to join the network, so I booked on to the course as soon as I could.
What did you find most valuable about the course?
Having completed other certifications online, on my own, I really enjoyed being able to do group sessions ‘live’ with a trainer. The course content is accessible to teachers at all levels. It gives a great overview of what is needed to be a singing teacher. Ultimately though, the best thing was access to resources and mentors who helped me dive even deeper into voice science as part of a network of truly inspiring teachers, coaches and professionals.
What did you do after BAST?
I continued my studies using the materials and experts referenced in the course. I dedicated lots of my time to reading more about acoustics and anatomy and went on to join the Vocology in Practice pathway and became an Authorised VIP instructor.
Tell us more about the work that you’re doing now.
I spend around 80% of my working hours with private clients, either travelling or in my home studio. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some incredible vocalists and songwriters on lots of exciting projects in the past few years. I also teach A-level voice at college and run corporate ‘well-being choirs’ focusing on mental health and well-being in the workplace.
What’s your biggest challenge as a singing teacher?
Having to run a business alone. Enforcing terms and conditions, insurance, taxes, chasing payments and valuing your own time – even if others don’t. It can be lonely and intimidating but being involved in a network of teachers really helps.
What surprised you most about your early teaching experiences?
That it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. When I first started teaching, I assumed that my clients would expect me to have all the answers instantly. But in truth, they just wanted to know that I was connected and knew where to look for them.
What or who inspires you?
The trainers in the BAST and ViP network genuinely inspire me. I’ve had a few voice teachers over the years, but it wasn’t until I started working with someone in the BAST network that I truly found my voice. From the moment I joined BAST, I knew it was a hive of incredible minds who loved geeking out about voice as much as I did. I’m so glad that I got involved when I did.
What advice would you give someone studying with BAST Training?
That the learning process never stops. I’ve been continuously studying voice for over ten years, and sometimes I still feel like a newbie. I often have lessons where I have to ask a mentor for advice/ revisit a podcast/ re-read the chapter of a book. Stay connected with the network and keep learning.
Can you recommend any resources that have helped you in your teaching journey?
I’ve listened to the Naked Vocalist podcasts numerous times. In terms of books, there’s:
- Practical Vocal Acoustics by Kenneth W. Bozeman.
- The Singer’s Instinct – Brandon Brophy’s book was the first that I read that made it all make sense.
- The Singing Athlete – Andrew Byrne completely changed the way I teach.
What’s next for you professionally?
I have no idea, but that’s what makes this job so exciting. I’ve learned that the biggest opportunities come to you organically through word of mouth, so I intend to keep training and educating myself to be ready for them.