Jonathan Silvia

Kirkland, WA

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About this pro

How does your business stand out?

Since 2004 I have been teaching and performing in the Puget Sound area and beyond. A classically trained bass-baritone, I bring my active performing experience into every lesson. Solid, time-tested technique, modern scientific understanding, and use of technology get straight to what the student needs most. At the student's option, all lessons can be professionally accompanied. Whether you are preparing for an audition or looking to develop your skills as a student, church, community, or professional singer, I can help lead you to your goals. My teaching focuses on good technique, breath, range, strength, ease, and health, based in the fundamentals of Italian "bel canto" singing, and yet I explain the most complicated principles in easy-to-understand language. During lessons and in-between, I keep communication open by using tablets, recording, and cloud-storage so that you continue to improve, even when on your own.

What do you enjoy about the work you do?

Teaching others to succeed is a passion of mine, and countless times I have seen what happens in a person's life when they pursue a challenging skill such as singing. Their voice gets stronger, but they also carry themselves differently, speak confidently, work with more purpose, and have a more positive, enriched outlook on life. Music has the power to transform not only the listener, but also the performer, and my lessons can help make that happen, one student at a time.
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Location

Kirkland, WA 98034

Background check

Complete

Times hired on Thumbtack

15

Reviews

10 Reviews
  • Ruth N. Sep 22, 2017
    Singing Lessons
    Verified Review
  • Leah V. Jan 13, 2017
    Singing Lessons (for adults)
    Verified Review
    Highly skilled instructor!
    Jonathan is the best vocal instructor I've ever worked with. He spends a great amount of time on breathing technique and understanding of anatomy. He focuses on these important details to get the most out of the vocal instrument. I highly recommend working with him if you truly wish to improve your range and technique.
  • Eric H. Nov 23, 2016
    Singing Lessons (for adults)
    Verified Review
    Great Teacher
    I had my first lesson with Jonathan today. He is very experienced and professional and even after 1 lesson we have a plan for the future. I look forward to continue learning from him and know that I made the right choice.
  • Dan M. Nov 5, 2016
    Singing Lessons (for adults)
    Verified Review
    Professional and a Good Teacher
    Jonathan is very knowledgeable and a skilled professional, but is able to take that knowledge and break it down into easily understandable exercises. In just two lessons he has helped me to address my biggest struggles to singing freely and easily, and challenges me to progress without pressure.
  • Rick C. Jul 27, 2016
    I went to Jonathan to accomplish some specific objectives. Those were obtained and I learned much more in the process. This experience has been echoed by a couple of others that I sing with who had had Jonathan as a vocal teacher as well.
  • Dash T. Jul 27, 2016
    Singing Lessons (for adults)
    Verified Review
    Learning a lot and seeing improvement in my voice in just a short time.
  • Jordan M. Jun 3, 2016
    Jonathan is a great colleague of mine in the Seattle opera scene. He is wonderful to work with, and has a beautiful sonorous bass voice. I would recommend him as a capable and knowledgable voice teacher to anyone looking to develop their vocal technique.
  • Nathan S. May 12, 2016
    Jonathan Silvia was the first voice teacher of my career. Under his guidance, I was able to attend Washington State University as a Voice Performance Major, where I was repeatedly informed that my previous voice teacher prepared me very well for college. I have since graduated with a Master's in Voice and am singing professionally in the Seattle Area. Jonathan knows what he's doing and can give any singer a solid foundation for years to come!
    Jonathan S. May 13, 2016

    Thanks Nathan - I've been so proud of you!

  • Chris F. May 12, 2016
    I took voice lessons from Jonathan, starting in 2008 for about 5 years. Voice lessons work! Jonathan took me from someone who could (usually) sing correct pitches to someone who could sing with good technique and confidence, and am currently singing tenor with Cascadian Chorale. I have continued to recommend Jonathan to friends, and recommend him to you, too. Voice lessons are fun and are a great personal-growth experience.
    Jonathan S. May 13, 2016

    Thanks for your kind words, Chris! Best of luck with your latest compositions!

  • Teresa O. May 12, 2016
    As a voice teacher myself, I know what to look for in selecting an instructor for my own private lessons. Jonathan has not only a thorough knowledge of vocal technique, style and interpretation, but is a gifted teacher as well. He customizes each lesson to build on your strengths and correct your weaknesses in an encouraging, systematic manner that is easily utilized by the student.
    Jonathan S. May 13, 2016

    Thanks Teresa - it was a pleasure to have a go-getter like you as a student!

Q&A

What should the customer know about your pricing (e.g., discounts, fees)?
The recommended lesson length is one hour, and that cost is $50. Most students prefer to have a professional accompanist during the second half of the lesson, so most pay $65 each week. The easiest payment is through personal checks brought to each lesson. Other arrangements can be made. The professional accompanist in this case is my wife, Sarah Silvia. She in high demand as an accompanist in King, Pierce, Snohomish, and Kitsap counties, and frequently plays challenging pieces at the State Solo/Ensemble contest, and quite often for the winning students. She also teaches many pianostudents, accompanies choirs, and is a trained singer of her own right. Occasionally, if I am unavailable, she will teach the voice lesson, using her own rates.
What is your typical process for working with a new customer?
At the first lesson, I have a conversation with the new student about their experience and their goals. I always make sure to hear the student sing some so I can hear where they are starting from, and then we jump straight in by talking about breath. We'd work mostly on technique for the first few lessons, making sure to sing some easy pieces along the way to apply the new principles. After a few, we'd have a more balanced 3-part lesson: 1) teaching technique and warm-ups, 2) applying the technique, and 3) working on repertoire (songs). This pattern varies based on the student's needs; for example, if there is an audition coming up.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
Often, private teachers have no music degree, or have something else as their main instrument and just try to tack on "voice" so they can make a little more on the side. My degree is a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance and Pedagogy, from the conservatory of Lawrence University in Appleton, WI. "Pedagogy" is the music word for "teaching lessons", and we use the term "Music Education" to describe teaching in a classroom setting. So I have specialized training, just to teach lessons. More than that, however, I have spent many years earning my living as a full-time musician. I have hundreds of performances and over a decade of teaching to draw from as my experience. It gives me a unique perspective on what it takes to actually make it in the "real" world.
How did you get started doing this type of work?
At the fourth grade Christmas concert, I had the solo "Five Gold Rings!" in our presentation of the 12 Days of Christmas. I actually sang with the correct pitches, and someone insisted that I should be in a choir. I have not stopped singing since.
What types of customers have you worked with?
I have worked with other professionals, have taught university students seeking their degree in performing, high school and a few middle school students who have just started singing, people preparing for a contest or an audition, church and community choir members, people who otherwise don't have an outlet for stepping out of the their comfort zone, etc. I insist that everyone is able to improve in their singing, and I have even taught a *formerly* tone-deaf singer.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
When looking for a teacher, try to find someone who can push you in a healthy way. Don't be too focused on one song or one style, but find someone who can give you the tools and technique you need to succeed in any style. Consider how the teacher practices what they preach - do they have other students that succeed and/or are themselves doing what you wish to be doing?
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
Be careful about budgeting enough time and money. You will need time outside of the 60 minute weekly lessons to practice in order to make progress. Lessons can get expensive very quickly, and if there isn't enough work between lessons, you risk having the same lesson over and over again, and that is not an efficient use of your money. Singing is a joy, and really great singing can be even greater joy - but it comes with work!