How do you become a gender-affirming voice teacher?Aug 24, 2023
How did I get into teaching gender-affirming voice lessons when I started as a singing teacher?
I'm Renée, and I'm a gender-affirming voice teacher, and recently I was on Allie Tyler's podcast, The Voicepreneur, where she asked me how I got so specific about my voice teaching niche. Watch the excerpt in the video above or read the transcript below:
Allie: So if you don't mind sharing and if whatever feels comfortable for you, obviously, I would love to hear a little bit about how you solidified your current ideal student and if there is like a story or a particular experience that maybe you had that inspired you to get really specific with your niche.
Renée: Yeah, absolutely. So for like 12 years, I was a singing teacher. Like I did singing and songwriting and I was teaching more or less whoever came to my door. And as I progressed in my life and solidified my identity as transgender and as disabled, I found that I had a better time teaching people who shared my identity. Not everybody did, but it's just like, there were unspoken things that made me more comfortable as a teacher.
So when I was in my songwriting degree, we had like a business course that encouraged us to make a three-strand plan. They recognized that performing artists usually had multiple facets to their career, as you mentioned. So they were like, okay, you're going to make a little business plan for the three strands of your business. And for me at the time, it was performing, teaching, and songwriting. And as I was making that plan, I was like, I think I want to focus on teaching trans people and/or disabled people. There's a wide overlap in that community, so it's not really hard to find people who identify as both. But traditionally, those groups don't have a lot of disposable income for voice lessons.
So I made a scholarship program called the Right to Sing Award, and I raised a little money from my community, and I gave away, I think, like 10 lessons in the first year. And because I did that, I bought an Instagram ad to solicit applications for that award and also donations. A group in Montreal called Project 10, they're a trans youth organization, found me and asked me to come and teach a workshop on trans voice alteration, speaking voice alteration, which was something I had never done. But I said yes because I was like, this seems right up my alley, actually, like it's voice pedagogy. It's trans, it's really super interesting.
So once I did that, I saw pretty much immediately the gap in service provision that existed in Montreal, where I live, specifically in French. There wasn't really anybody teaching workshops like this in French, and I do speak French. So I was doing it in both English and French, and then they just kept sending me students. And as I acquired more and more students, I realized, you know, there are lots of people who can teach singing really, really well. And I'm one of them, but I can do other things for my community. And so that was how I made the decision to pivot entirely to trans voice alteration lessons.
Thank you so much to Allie for having me on. And if you want to listen to the entire episode, you can do so at reneeyoxon.com/blog/voicepreneur or wherever you get your podcasts.
If you're interested in becoming a gender-affirming voice teacher yourself, check out my training program, Learn to Teach Trans Voice Alteration in 5 Weeks.