One of the most destructive things a teacher can make you feel as a singing student is that what you are doing is wrong. Teachers sometimes will tell you that you are wrong or perhaps they just say, “That is not right.” If you knew all you need to know about singing, you would be singing right. But you don’t, so they tell you that you are wrong. The teachers respond to your inability to sing as you would wish by telling you exactly How Wrong You Are. I would prefer that singing instructors would be more sensitive to how personal this is for their students. I deeply regret negative language in singing lessons.   I looked up the word “wrong” in several online dictionaries.  It means things like inaccurate, invalid, false, illogical, unsound, flawed, bogus, phony. And there are more definitions. All of those synonyms are negative. When a student tells me he is “wrong,” I disagree. I say something like, “No, you are not wrong. You are using your voice in a less than efficient way and you are doing this because you do not know how to use it efficiently. That is what I am teaching you and things will get better.”  Not to know something means you do not know it. It does not mean you are wrong.

What negative talk from a teacher brings on is a state of self-criticism.  If the student singer is busy telling herself that she has it all wrong, she will not be able to focus on positive approaches to change.  I am not a psychologist, but this seems obvious to me.