Q. Describe the most common types of jobs you do for your clients.
A. I mostly work with intermediate and professional vocalists helping them prepare for concerts and recording. I also help students with their media, such as demos and YOUTUBE. The other part of my clientele is young school age individuals that I help prepare for NYSSMA, school plays and talent shows. Some of my students are successfully working with agents and have participated in pageants.
Q. What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A. When looking for a vocal coach-look for one who has done the things you are looking to do. Google any instructor you are thinking of hiring-see what they have done and what type of results they had. Find out if they are an actively performing vocalist-or have they been teaching most of their career? Are they a classical singer or a pop singer? Have they recorded and preformed professionally? A good coach will also be able to give you references. Finding the right teacher for you or your child also depends on the type of rapport that develops between teacher and student-each teacher teaches differently-try to find an instructor who will bring out the best in you and your child that you feel understands your needs and goals.
Q. If you were a customer, what do you wish you knew about your trade? Any inside secrets to share?
A. I think the biggest misconception people have about singing and playing guitar is that it is work. Most people get into lessons and are surprised how hard it is. The successful singers and musicians you see have put an enormous amount of hours into developing their technique and craft.
IF there is one "insider" secret it is this:
IF you are passionate, tireless and committed to anything you can succeed at it. AND nothing takes place of time put into whatever it is. Experince is priceless and is everything.
Q. Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?
A. What makes me different from most vocal coaches and guitar teachers is that I am presently active in the music industry. I am currently recording in my professional recording studio-where other artists record as well.. I also am the Vice President of a guitar company and am directly immersed in the music business in my day to day life. I have performed in major venues performing for nationally touring artists. I have many contacts in many genres of music that I can use as a resource for my students.
Q. What do you like most about your job?
A. The most fulfilling thing about what I do is see the successes and artistic growth of my students. There is nothing more gratifying as having my students succeed. Actually, just this week one of my students auditioned for a children's choir at Carnegie Hall and got in. I was very excited because when he first came to me for lessons a year ago I told his parents that I saw exceptional raw talent in him. Seeing this young boy live up to the potential I thought he possessed almost brings tears to my eyes. Singing and playing music is a gift. Music is healing. For me to help others be able to tap into that on a higher level is more than I could ask for.
Q. What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A. *Can anyone sing?*
Most people can, barring any type of physical limitation. Some people have a better ear than others, but if one is passionate enough about making music and willing to put in the effort it can be done.
*How often should I take lessons?*
Once a week for lessons at least. Bi-monthly lessons I find don't really move a student forward.
*How much do I have to Practice?*
Practice should be at least 20 minutes a day under 11 and at least 45 minutes to an hour 5 days a week for anyone 11 and up.
*Whats the youngest you should be to start singing lessons*?
Formal vocal lessons 7-8 depending on the child. On occasions when child is already professionally acting and needs coaching for a vocal part or play,it is a bit different because the child has already demonstrated an unusual level of maturity in performance and focus and the parents have demonstrated the ability to harness it. Before that just have them join a church children's choir and put some Karaoke on for them to sing to. Expose them LOTs of music, especially classical and jazz and nursery rhymes to develop pitch. Singing is athletic. Under 7 they don't quite have the body control for diaphragmatic breathing. Correct breathing comes before correct singing.
*How old does a child have to be to play guitar?*
Guitar as young as 5 years old with a half size guitar of decent quality purchased at a music store, not a toy or department store. However, again, 7 years old is better as the guitar is not a toy but a discipline and requires practice.
Get kids under 7 a small keyboard to play with-its best for developing pitch and familiarizes them with proper notes.
Parents must have their children treat music lessons as important as school(of course school comes first!) in order to succeed.
*How much should I spend on a guitar?* Anything under 100 is usually of such low quality it is barely playable, and the student has a very hard time and usually ends up quitting. It is best to get something in the range of 250 and up. Getting a used one is a good option because you can usually sell it for what you payed for it, and a 300 used guitar was at one point probably a 4-600 new guitar. The quality of the instrument makes an enormous difference. I would advise against toy store and department store guitar purchases. Go to a music store.
Q. Do you have a favorite story from your work?
A. Too many to tell. The short version-I realized I felt most whole when I was playing music so I did and did all sorts of cool music stuff and am living my dreams and living happily ever after.
Q. What do you wish customers knew about you or your profession?
A. I work more than you can imagine.
Q. How did you decide to get in your line of work?
A. I loved singing and writing songs. I got myself a job at a music store and bought a guitar and learned from there. Within 6 months of the purchase of my guitar I was getting paid to play in coffee houses. Once I started recording I became interested in learning that and got an internship at a recording studio, which led to a job doing live sound, which led to more shows and it evolved to where I am today.
Q. Tell us about a recent job you did that you are particularly proud of.
A. One of my students needed to produce a three song demo for college and we did it in a short time with lots of hard work and had excellent results. She was pushed way outside her comfort zone, but in the end she did it and did a great job.
Q. Do you do any sort of continuing education to stay up on the latest developments in your field?
A. I occasionally go to New York city to get some vocal lessons with a top celebrity coach. I study Youtube tutorials by other vocal coaches and guitar teachers and I am reading some old Classical singing technique books. Owning a recording studio as well as being a guitar manufacturer I am always keeping up and seeking out information on the newest gear and technology. Occasionally I learn something from my students. I also spend an enormous amount of time exploring the uses of social media. An artist has to be tied in and have access to producing great social media. Between my business and guitar company I spend an enormous amount of time on it.
Q. What are the latest developments in your field? Are there any exciting things coming in the next few years or decade that will change your line of business?
A. The speed of the recording technology is increasing as well as the ability to create manipulate and enhance the sounds itself in new ways. I think social media, especially Youtube is amazing-as you can find so many different type of music(old stuff too), technology and performers on there. Youtube and multimedia is the way to go. My studio is fully equipped with Hi-Def video and sound and this is a must for any aspiring artist to put up quality videos
Q. Describe your most recent project, what it involved, how much it cost, and how long it took.
A. My own recording of my album this year. We have just upgraded my studio, which was expensive-we have full live multi-track digital recording as well as partnered with great producer Mike Berard. We have some great microphones and new effects. We are in about 90 hours collectively on the first single and will be doing at least 7 more by the end of the year. With the album I am also starting a record lable to promote it and I already have 1 artist I am signing with 2 others in negotiation. PLUS my guitar company is developing new products to launch in 2015.
Q. If you have a complicated pricing system for your service, please give all the details here.
A. Lessons and Studio-60 per hour.
Q. If you were advising someone who wanted to get into your profession, what would you suggest?
A. Practice. Practice. Practice. Do it because you love it not because you want to be rich and famous. Be ready to work for a LOOOOOOONG time. Enjoy the ride, its like no other.