Q. Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?
A. A lot of people perform as singers,then decide they are too old for the lifestyle, need more money, aren't getting the roles due to their age, or their voice is getting tired, and so for them the next step is teaching. Many who follow that path never intended to teach and had little or no training for teaching, and rely solely on what they were taught and anecdotal evidence.
I have been teaching alongside my performing from the time I was in college. I studied pedagogy and voice science, and have maintained and grown as a teacher by continuing to participate in teacher training workshops and conferences geared for voice teachers.
I am also a classically trained pianist. It can be very limiting, as a student, to study with a person who can't give you a sense of the accompaniment or who limits your repertoire based on what they can play. It's likewise burdensome to have to pay for an accompanist to attend your lessons or spend additional time and money with a vocal coach. Students who study with me do not need to pay for an accompanist and do not need to spend additional time and money with a vocal coach (although if they have somebody they enjoy working with, I don't have any problems with them continuing to see a coach). Likewise, as a skilled coach, if somebody is already working with a voice teacher and they do not want to change teachers, I am amenable to working with somebody as a repertoire coach only -- it's just a matter of clear communication of expectations at the beginning.
Q. What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A. They ask me if they "have what it takes". That is not a question that can be answered after one lesson. Music is an extremely rewarding profession emotionally, and can be very lucrative for the very few at the very top. However, even the most talented and skilled people do not make their sole living from performing for much of their lives, if ever. The risk to this profession is absolutely as high as its potential for reward. If you aren't ready to put in some years of training and feel good about the process, whether it leads you to a career or not, it's not the right thing for you.
Q. Do you do any sort of continuing education to stay up on the latest developments in your field?
A. Definitely! People think that singing lessons have been the same for hundreds of years, but new research is being generated all the time in learning theory and voice science, and if you work with people in musical theatre or other contemporary music, you also have to keep up with changing and even multiple aesthetics.
I am a member of the New York Singing Teachers Association, and have taken several of their professional development courses in vocal anatomy and health, acoustics, repertoire, and comparative pedagogy, and continue to attend their workshops. I have achieved the highest level of certification (III) in Somatic Voicework(tm), the LoVetri Method, and am President of the New York State chapter of the Music Teachers National Association.
I also attend at least 10 professional performances in NYC each year between the New York City Opera, the Met, and Broadway shows, and I fly to London once a year where I attend 1-3 shows., focusing on shows that have not yet come to NYC. In November 2010 I saw Love Never Dies, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, and Oliver!, all on the West End.
Finally, though my teaching schedule at the present does not let me do any performing to speak of, I do try to squeeze in various classes and workshops to keep my own skills up. Right now I am taking jazz piano lessons, just to shake things up a little, and a Meisner acting class to explore a little more thoroughly ways to connect emotionally to the words.