Voice Teaching Philosophy
Singing is a wondrous act which deeply reflects and defines our humanity. Through the art of singing we express our hearts and minds at the highest possible levels of sonic communication. Whether performing a popular song, Broadway ballad or classical aria, the art of excellent singing requires technical ability. Though we are born with the anatomy necessary for vocal expression, we must, like Olympic athletes, train our muscles to precisely accomplish this. The more training, the better the singing athlete is able to produce the beauty and depth of expression of which he is capable. In other words, training and technique provide the singer the necessary foundation to “say” what she wants to “say” with her unique voice.
Teaching the complex physiological and expressive processes of singing is a compelling and engaging task. The study of voice has been portrayed as a personal odyssey, challenging students through candid self-discovery to master their bodies as vehicles of musical expression. It is a privilege to play a guiding role in this distinctive journey.
Learning to sing is a process which should not be worked out alone. As a result, a close one-on-one relationship between student and teacher is a vital component to studying the art form. The primary objective of this apprenticeship is to provide a solid foundation in singing through training in vocal technique, performance skill, and musicianship. Consequently I direct students through a process of vocal development towards a functional knowledge of their voices so that they might achieve musical and expressive independence. To this end, I teach disciplined practice, critical thinking, and perceptive reflection.
My approach to teaching voice is chiefly pedagogical and is based on the physiological and expressive tenets of bel canto passed down and delineated over the past 350 years by great singers such as Porpora, Lamperti, and Garcia, to name only a few. Balance is critical to healthy vocal production. This is applied with regard to breath management, support (appoggio), and resonance (chiaroscuro.) It is my goal to synthesize and solidify into tangible forms, the physical, intellectual, and expressive qualities that comprise the experience of singing—all within a teacher-student relationship founded in good communication and fun. The work of coordinating the many components of singing is generally long-range and intensive, affording me the opportunity to teach not only the artistry of music, but also to instill skills in my students that will serve them throughout their lives.
Because learning to sing is a delicate, often vulnerable process, I am committed to making my studio a supportive environment where students can take risks without fear of failure. The element of play is a critical part of this challenging atmosphere. I also believe it is important to make myself available outside of the studio should students require additional help with independent projects, audition preparation, recitals, and other performances.
I approach each student individually, desiring to teach to the talent, temperament, and unique learning style of the individual. It is important to understand a student’s personal motivations and goals in order to be a successful teacher. I teach to the strengths of each student in an attempt to build independence and self-confidence. To instruct effectively it is also essential to evaluate how each student integrates and applies information. To this end my teaching style might best be characterized as eclectic and experimental, reflecting my desire to incorporate a variety of pedagogical tools, strategies, and techniques to avoid monotony and make learning inspiring, fun, and effective. It is my great hope that each student—regardless of his or her professional musical goals—might develop into a singing artist, distinguished by organic, beautiful, well-informed music-making.
I believe beautiful singing encourages the heart and lifts the soul, making our world a more beautiful place. Singing is a high calling which must be carefully cultivated with love and patience. Passing on the traditions and techniques of singing is, for me, a supremely noble and rewarding vocation.