A question I’m often asked is how to find the right teacher for training and expanding the creative skill of your choice. The relationship between a student and teacher is a sensitive one and you should spend a little time on finding the right teacher for you. I‘ve put together a list of my top 10 tips to finding the right teacher, so lets dive right into it:
1. Recommendation: the „easiest way“ to get a name. Ask those who recommend the teacher why they love working with that teacher.
2. What kind of education does the teacher have? Do they have any formal training as a teacher? Could they have developed their teaching skills over time as a result of their experience as an artist? Do they keep learning and expanding their skill set?
3. What kind of experience does the teacher have in the art form you want to learn and of course in teaching it? Of course the more years they have been working in either area the more they have seen and learned and this should feed into their teaching. This is no guarantee, but experience helps. However, young and ambitious teachers who are very keen to be the best teacher they can be at the time can also be really good teachers! They can really be worth giving them a chance! And what I‘ve learned: someone who is a brilliant artist doesn‘t necessarily have to be a great teacher. They can be, but that is not a given one. That‘s why there are all the other factors that you have to look into when looking for the right teacher for you.
4. Are they specifically trained and/or experienced in the area you want learn from them? E.g. If you want to learn classical singing it won‘t make too much sense if you go to a teacher who has only experience in popular music. If you want to become a screen actor you need to find an acting coach who really knows what kind of skills you need for acting in front of the camera and how to teach them to you.
5. Are they flexible in regards to the methods they are teaching? Are they open to other approaches? Are they continuing to learn about the newest (scientific) findings in their area of expertise? Are they continuing to take further training to become even better?
6. You and the teacher have to be on the same page about your goals. You should have a clear idea about what you want to achieve and discuss that with the teacher. Listen to their opinion and ask questions to see if their answers are realistic.
7. You and your teacher need to have a good chemistry. The best teacher in the world will not be the right one for you, if you don‘t click. You can‘t force what isn‘t meant to be, but when it works you can look forward to a great journey ahead!
8. Is the teacher‘s studio conveniently reachable enough for your so that you are not going to use the distance as an excuse to not go there whenever you have a „lazy day“ or the weather isn‘t nice enough ;) ? OR:
9. Does the teacher offer online teaching via Skype, Zoom, Facetime, Hangout or whatever? If so this might give you the opportunity to more options in the choice of your teacher. Maybe from much farther away.
10. What types of classed does the teacher offer? One-on-one, small groups, bigger groups?
I hope this is helpful for you. Don‘t rush into anything, but don’t wait too long. At the end of the day you will only find out if the teacher is right for you when you give them a chance and take a few lessons with them.
Stay healthy, stay creative and be brave!
Lots of love,
„You’re too sensitive for your own good”
“You need to toughen up”
“You take things to heart too much”
“Stop over-thinking things!”
Have you heard this before? I have. I thought something was wrong with me until I learned about high sensitivity. It changed my life and how I see myself.
So if you these phrases sound vaguely familiar to you you might also be a highly sensitive person (HSP).
Great! But what does this have to do with being a creative person? Well, bare with me :)
First of all, high sensitivity is a trait that is normal. It is found in 15 to 20% of the population. It is not a disorder, but since we HSPs are a minority it isn't really well understood and our world is built in a way that we can make us feel as if something was wrong with us. In reality, it's most likely that we are just overwhelmed.
High sensitivity is innate. In fact, biologists have found it in over 100 species (and probably there are many more) from fruit flies, birds, and fish to dogs, cats, horses, and primates. This trait reflects a certain type of survival strategy, being observant before acting. The brains of highly sensitive persons (HSPs) actually work a little differently than others’.
We are more aware than others of subtleties. This is mainly because our brain processes information and reflects on it more deeply. We are also more easily overwhelmed. If we notice everything, we are naturally going to be overstimulated when things are too intense, complex, chaotic, or novel for a long time.
The German psychologists Eduard Schweingruber who wrote about the sensitive person as early as 1935 characterised the sensitive person as having:
An increased response to stimuli, and because of this a greater chance of excessive irritability, also as having complex emotional processes. And having more difficulty with releasing/processing their emotions. He also describes how all the stimuli also influences the body of the sensitive individual.
There are four main indicators/categories in which the characteristics of being Highly Sensitive is grouped:
Depth of processing
What does that mean?
So now lets come to the point why I'm talking about this here:
Studies have shown that the number of Highly Sensitive People is significantly higher in the creative community. When you think about, the typical traits a Highly Sensitive Person brings to the table really serve the creative process. We notice more details around us, we have a higher awareness of the world around us, a lot of us understand much better how someone else is feeling, we feel deeper. While sometimes this can be a disadvantage, when it comes to creating art this is a huge advantage!
If this rings a bell, if you feel this could give you some more understanding, you might want to try HSP expert Elaine Aron's self test.
📕Here is a list of recommended reading:
Elaine N. Aron, The Highly Sensitive Person*
Georg Parlow, Zart Besaitet*
Being sensitive is not being weak. It actually takes courage to live life in full awareness.
It is time for us to start honouring our sensitivity, embracing our inspiration, our passion, our creativity.
Lots of love,
“Being highly sensitive means being able to enjoy life in high definition, the natural world, light, music and art, friendship, comfort and solitude can all bring acute happiness. In the absence of stress, being highly sensitive can be beautiful.”– Kate Coady
Romana Carén is an actress, film and theater maker (writer & director), and singing instructor sharing her experience with juggling all her creative interests, the struggle to feel that you have to decide to be good at one of them, to constantly feel the drive to learn more, learn something new and how this inner artist can be set free to express itself in a healthy and fruitful way.
THE VERSATILE ARTIST