Q. Describe the most common types of jobs you do for your clients.
A. Individual lessons are the most common, and group lessons are the most economical. Most students are long term, but some come for advice on how to sing a song better for an audition. I also teach mountain dulcimer and will soon offer beginning piano lessons. I can also tutor students in basic music theory, including sightsinging.
Q. Describe three recent jobs you've completed.
A. I have been working with a singer who is an aspiring professional southern gospel singer. We have worked on improving his ease of singing and smoothness of production. He is making good progress, and has found he has much less strain and a much better understanding of his voice. He said the technique saved his voice. He will continue singing lessons when he returns from college.
A recent high school graduate came to me for lessons over the summer to prepare for an audition for choir at the college she would be attending in the fall. We worked on technique and applied it to 2 songs she could use for the audition. She was able to replace tension causing habits with good technique that helped her to find her true voice and discover her extensive singing range. Her progress gave her confidence and she had a successful audition.
Two health professionals have been working with me for a few months and recently performed for the Vocal Life Singing Studio performance evening. One of them sang 3 songs he had learned including Michael Buble's Everything (which he was working on to sing at his wedding), Per la gloria (an Italian aria), and In a Very Unusual Way from the musical Nine. The other sang a Mozart piece named Un moto di gioia, Many a New Day from Oklahoma, and Lied der Mignon, a German art song. I love seeing the progress they have made and confidence they have gained.
Another aspiring young performer came to me for coaching. She was being watched by some important people in the country western scene. They knew she was talented and were wanting her to develop her voice. After 3 lessons she was able to adjust her technique enough that she has been given a recording contract.
Q. What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A. Look for a professional teacher with knowledge of how to train your voice safely and effectively. Find out about his/her training (degrees) and experience. Look for a teacher that not only has a degree in vocal music but also has had some course work in vocal pedagogy. A vocal student needs a teacher who is patient, caring, supportive and knowledgeable and who communicates effectively with you.
Q. Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?
A. Vocal music teaching is my profession, not a hobby. Providing quality instruction is very important to me. That's why I studied singing for nearly 20 years through private vocal lessons in addition to my musical studies at university. I studied advanced vocal teaching methods and combine this knowledge with a strong academic grounding in music and strong performance skills. I have sung lead roles in operas, musical theater productions, and oratorios and have sung with bands and in a cappella groups. I bring all this background to my vocal studio teaching. My teaching emphasizes producing a vibrant, comfortable tone utilizing the methods I learned during my 18 years of study with my vocal teachers, and through my university degrees. I enjoy working with a wide diversity of students with different goals and interests, while some teachers only like to work with classical students, only feel comfortable teaching pop style, or only want to work with those who are wanting a career in music.
Q. What do you like most about your job?
A. Watching my students progress is the most satisfying aspect of my job. When teaching, I especially enjoy diagnosing any problems with the voice and working together to solve them. Voice teaching often involves visualization and finding common images between the teacher and student, and it is very exciting when this happens. Meeting and working with many interesting people who are passionate about music is also exciting. It is also educational for me to work with students who have many different musical interests. I learn about a lot of new music and performers this way.
Q. What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A. People ask me what styles of music I teach, and how I teach technique. When teaching vocal lessons, I believe it's very important to work on the style of music the student enjoys, and make suggestions of songs that would work well for that student's voice, or would help with technique. Vocal exercises are an important part of the lesson to improve technique. After listening to the student sing I select exercises that will help them, often creating new ones specifically geared to that student. As the student progresses, I adapt the exercises to encourage continual improvement.
Q. Do you do any sort of continuing education to stay up on the latest developments in your field?
A. I am a member of National Association of Teachers of Singing which publishes a quarterly magazine that I read. It has informative, well written articles dealing with recent trends and solid research about the voice. In addition, I participate in some of their online chats discussing vocal issues.I attend recitals and concerts and listen to recent compositions using Sound Cloud, etc. Recently I completed a course in digital sound design and have begun online courses in music production and programming for musicians.