What Kung Fu Panda taught me about teaching voice

by Grace Ng Ee Wern

 

Kungfu Panda tells the story of an unlikely martial arts hero named Po. He is an obese, clumsy panda. Adopted by a goose, Mr. Ping, as a baby panda, he is selected to be the Dragon Warrior- a hero amongst heroes, to the chagrin of his teacher and the martial arts community. This selection subsequently proves to be correct as he saves the day again and again.

 

Here are some lessons that I learnt from the movies:

 

  1. There are no accidents

Sometimes it seems that we get the most inept students in class. The same kids keep taking the module again and again, despite Singing seeming to be completely not their thing. Instead of losing your cool, understand that there is a reason why this kid is in your class in this moment. As much as there is a lesson for him or her, is there a lesson for you as a teacher to learn? The lesson may only unfold with the passing of time. Let it be. Let it go. Understand that everything is perfect now.

 

 

  1. You are not your Past

With the profusion of televised singing competitions and talent contests, everyone’s an expert on singing. Not being able to sing or worse, not being able to sing on pitch becomes a source of personal shame, a cause of low self-esteem. Singing is a learnt behavior. While the students may learn to sing and sing well, the scars of past hurts have to be addressed to heal. We are not what we can or can’t do. We are what we are and that is perfect.

 

 

 

  1. The Illusion of Control

As teachers, we want the best for our students. We want them to get into the best colleges and conservatories, to get great grades in their music examinations, to get the roles they audition for, to be successful in whatever they do. However as much as we get to decide where and when to plant the seeds, we cannot control how the plant grows. The plant will grow in its own time and at its own pace. So will our students. Our students come through us but are not from us. Let go, let fly and know that everything will be perfect in its time.

 

 

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photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/125001784@N06/26689082602″>Giant Panda – Yang Guang</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>