When theatres shut last year, singer Hannah Lindsey threw herself into online teaching – and learned much about herself as a performer in the process.
It’s a year since the lights went out on the West End, leaving Musical Theatre performers like Hannah Lindsey in limbo.
Hannah was performing in the award-winning Dear Evan Hansen (as standby Cynthia Murphy and Heidi Hansen) when theatres closed last March due to Covid-19.
Unable to tread the boards, Hannah pivoted to online teaching (luckily, she had studied with BAST Training back in 2017). She spoke to BAST about her teaching journey.
How did BAST impact your career?
The course transformed my approach to singing. Studying with BAST and taking singing lessons with Line Hilton, opened up a world of possibility for me and my voice.
Originally, I used all I learned to improve my own technique, but when the pandemic hit and I lost my West End job, I used social media (Instagram @howveryhannah) to advertise singing lessons. I now have a regular monthly income from teaching singing online.
Who do you teach?
My students include primary school kids, drama school students looking to supplement their training with extra lessons and adults who want to sing for recreational reasons.
I have also helped long Covid sufferers by teaching them breathing techniques/exercises.
What was it like leaping from performing to teaching?
I am so grateful that I decided to grab the bull by the horns and find such a rewarding way to keep the performer in me alive and see other performers grow.
It’s extremely satisfying to watch a student hit a breakthrough in their singing or see improvements in their technique that excite them. And my repertoire is expanding with all the exciting and beautiful songs they bring to their lessons.
Performers are often told to have something to ‘fall back on’, but I have always wanted to teach. I know that for so many successful artists, the ability to do both is wonderful.
What has surprised you about teaching?
How similar we all are when it comes to judging our voices. I come to every lesson with a sense of excitement to hear the sound that my student will bring and what we will discover together.
But so often, I hear apologies for mistakes or internal judgments about the sound they’re creating. I do the same with my voice. It’s been eye-opening to apply how I see other singers’ voices to how I see my own voice.
I also try to approach my singing with the same playful but tenacious curiosity that I encourage my students to have with their voices.
I’ve found that the best discoveries are made with a curious mind that is free from judgment. I will take that attitude with me into teaching and performing in the future.
When do you think you will return to the West End?
I’m hopeful that it will be this year. Understandably, it will take time for restrictions to lift and for audiences to regain confidence in the safety of watching a live performance alongside so many others. And, of course, producers need ticket sales to make a production viable.
Will you continue to teach when theatres re-open?
Absolutely. That’s the amazing thing about teaching online ‘from home’; I can do it from anywhere, at any time and fit it in with my performing schedule.
Has teaching made you a better performer?
It has helped me view my voice with my ‘teacher’s’ perspective rather than my overly critical inner voice.
Taking a step back from my own bad habits and working on them without judgment, I’ve already seen progress in my technique over the time I’ve been teaching.
Interested in becoming a singing teacher? Learn more about BAST Training courses here.