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Staff Leadership and Management / Storytellers

Q & A With Preston Pohl, Season 5 Contestant on The Voice

Preston Pohl

When NBC debuted their new singing competition…

The Voice, many people wondered how it might be unique from other shows like it. The difference was made pretty starkly, and in dramatic fashion.

First, instead of judges, the show uses coaches who compete to work with singers they think are best, and to mentor them through the show.

Secondly, the coaches make their picks solely on the quality of the voices, without seeing the contestants.

These two factors have set the show apart.

And as Executive Producer Mark Burnett (Survivor) has said, the show was designed as a positive approach to competition. “One thing we know about The Voice is that families tend to watch together in groups- that’s really great. Anything that can be done to foster the enjoyment of families as a group, you know. The Voice absolutely is young America’s show, and kids are dragging their parents to watch the show with them.

It’s an uplifting show. People said in the beginning, “you’ll never ever pull off a singing show that doesn’t have a humiliation factor,” – that was totally wrong. America loves The Voice, it’s the #1 show and doesn’t humiliate anyone.”

As season 6 of the show sets to air, we were able to speak to one of last season’s contestants, Preston Pohl, about his experience, and the value of coaching, something our BOOSTers know a little bit about.

Preston Pohl

What was the experience of being coached on The Voice like? Had you ever had musical or vocal coaching before?

It was really nice to have someone so successful be able to show me some pointers on something they are so good at. You just kind of sit there and soak it up. It was a little weird for me at first, because I have never been trained before. 

Was it hard to hear coaching that pinpointed specific things to work on that you maybe thought you already did well?

Adam never really corrected anything that I did, as much as he helped me come up with some really great ideas to push me harder. 

Were you nervous about the kind of feedback you might get from your coach, Adam Levine?

I can honestly say I was never nervous, I just wanted to make sure I made use of my time, so no time to be nervous. 

Did you ever have disagreements with your coach? If so, how did you address those?

Only time I ever disagreed with him, was when I couldn’t hit a note in practice and he told me to change the note, but I said no and promised I would hit it next time I saw him, and it worked out in the end. 

How difficult was it to implement things that you were being coached on? How were you able to put those coaching tips into practice?

After a rehearsal you usually get an audio recording of it, you just take everything he said and work, work, work. Practice makes perfect!

What sort of value do you think a coaching / mentoring process has for life skills?

Once you are around that level of professionalism, you really start to try and put that into your everyday life and strive to get there. What I learned fast as a musician, is always try to find players and singers that are better than you and you will continue to get better. 

When people watch The Voice, are there things that they should pay attention to from coaches?

Listen to what they say in rehearsal. They are always dropping knowledge!

Is there one thing that people who are fans of The Voice would be surprised to know about the coaches?

The fact that they all really do care about the artist that they work with, not just for tv. 

So to wrap up, a few of the key things to take away from the coaching experience:

  1. Listen.
  2. Push yourself.
  3. Find people better than you / more experienced than you and let them make you better.
  4. Work, work, work.
  5. Care.

You can see Preston interview season 6 contestants on The Voice this spring, and follow him on Twitter: @prestonpohl

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BOOST Collaborative is a unique, purpose-driven organization committed to supporting those serving youth in the out-of-school time hours by providing quality professional development, opportunities for networking & partnerships, and leadership training. Together, we make a difference.

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