I read a lot of political books. If you know me, you know which way I tend to swing, politically. I generally don’t talk about them in my business, because not everyone agrees on the subject, especially in this very divided condition we’re in right now.

One of the books I read recently was James Comey’s A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership. I have mixed feelings about Jim Comey, but he’s an excellent writer, and there was a part in the book that I believe is applicable beyond the FBI and government. When he started as FBI Director, he laid out 5 expectations of his employees the first time he addressed them, and to every new employee that came onboard during his tenure there.

I think I can lay out these same expectations to my students. Here are Mr. Comey’s expectations as they appear on page 131 of his book – I have added modifications for my students in bold and struck through that which doesn’t pertain to what we do:

  • I expected they would find joy in their work. They were an organization devoted to doing good, protecting the weak, rescuing the taken, and catching criminals. That was work with moral content creative and expressive intent. Doing it should be a source of great joy.
  • I expected they would treat all people with respect and dignity, without regard to position or station in life.
  • I expected they would protect the institution’s studio’s reservoir of trust and credibility that makes possible all their work.
  • I expected they would work hard, because they owe that to the taxpayer themselves.
  • I expected they would fight for balance in their lives.

Other than fighting crime and working for the taxpayer, it’s pretty much the same thing.

  1. Find joy
  2. Be good to people, in and out of the studio
  3. Represent the studio accurately and fairly
  4. Do the work
  5. Don’t be a machine

What are your expectations for your musical studies? And for your teacher? Are they similar? I think they should be. I hope I’m doing the same in my studio for my students. Drop me a note in the comments and let me know what you think.

And please note: while I won’t share my political POVs with you (unless I know that we are on the same page and you start it), I most definitely will share my opinions with you on music and theater. And I am just as opinionated about those topics (possibly even more so) than I am about politics.


Want to know why my opinions are about voice lessons for you or your child? Contact me for a free Ask Me Anything session!

Published by Mezzoid Voice Studio

Christine Thomas-O'Meally, a mezzo soprano and voice teacher currently based in the Baltimore-DC area, has performed everything from the motets of J.S. Bach to the melodies of Irving Berlin to the minimalism of Philip Glass. As an opera singer and actress, she has appeared with companies such as Charm City Players, Spotlighters Theatre, Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Theater of Northern Virginia, Opera North, the Washington Savoyards, In Tandem Theatre, Windfall Theater, The Young Victorian Theater of Baltimore, and Skylight Opera Theatre. She created the role of The Woman in Red in Dominick Argento’s Dream of Valentino in its world premiere with the Washington Opera and Mary Pickersgill in O'er the Ramparts at its world premiere during the Bicentennial of Battle of Baltimore at the Community College of Baltimore County. Other roles include Mrs. Paroo in Music Man, Mother Abbess in Sound of Music, Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, both Hansel and the Witch in Hansel & Gretel, and many roles in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. Her performance as the Housekeeper in Man of La Mancha was honored with a WATCH award nomination. Ms. Thomas-O'Meally received an M.M. in vocal performance from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. She regularly attends master classes and workshops in both performance and vocal pedagogy, and is certified in all three Levels of Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method. Her students have performed on national and international tours of Broadway productions, at prestigious conservatories, and in regional theater throughout the country.

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