Sam is a gift to me sent straight from Heaven! Ive grown so quickly in such a short time - even though music and singing has been a passion for most of my life
As a kid I harmonized with the congregation to Gospel music in my father's tiny Baptist church in Southern California or "jammed" alone in my room to records my folks bought me (not realizing it was the dawn of Christian Contemporary Music). Later in my childhood I did a few jingles for TV commercials & then sang in choirs as a teen - anything from Handel's Messiah to English Madrigals; in college I moved on to singing in a cappella groups: R&B (Essence) / Praise&Worship (Rejoice).
Now 30 years later, I'm still singing when I can (as a part of my church's Worship Department) - but I can't say that I've grown that much vocally since I was a kid in my father's church...well, that all changed when I met Sam.
Sam immediately put me at ease when I met him (I'm a bit perfectionistic & was soooo nervous). After just the first meeting, he told me things about my voice even my current choir director doesn't know whom Ive served under for a decade! He's a great guy - but, he IS demanding...putting me through the paces necessary to build a good foundation first all the while being very affirming. Actually, the first gift Sam gave me was Confidence.
I don't have a fantastic voice but I have a good ear & Sam can hear subtle but important qualities/problems in my voice & call them out for me & then give great tips to correct them - whether it was my tone, breathing, inflection or phrasing. [I've purchased online voice programs (eg, Singing Success) & have understood the issues before but one-on-one instruction with Sam has addressed them more than every CD exercise I've tried.]
Because I am a mixture of different musical backgrounds, I LOVE that Sam has the unique ability to fuse Eastern & Western music theory into practical instruction. Im all about understanding the details behind singing. But, Ive learned that the best Technician is not the best Teacher or Singer. It also requires something of the Heart. Well thats the beauty of Sams range: if the song requires soul...he's got it; if a more traditional, classical flavor is needed...no problem!
So for me the best thing about Sam is his genuine heart for his students and for the true purpose of Music: to release in sound something from the heart that blesses ourselves & others...from the very core TO the very core. This was what I was missing before...the sound that came out of my mouth never seemed to merit what I felt inside. Well, I'm so much closer now to this precious place than I was before (after only 7 weeks)! I still have a LONG way to go. But because of Gods gift to me (Sam), I know Im on the road to some place very new...