STATEMENT OF TEACHING PHILOSOPHY

During the lesson I concentrate in establishing a relaxed, resonant, freely produced sound throughout all the vocal registers. I begin the lesson with some breathing warm up exercises and ask the student to become actively aware of what the student is doing physically during inhalation and exhalation. I ask them to be aware of their posture, or any tension that may be hindering the flow of the breath. I continue the lesson with vocal warm up exercises, focusing on an even sound up and down through all the registers, while changing vowels and later incorporating consonants in scale patterns, arpeggios, and staccato. Then we move on to their songs. During the lesson I ask the student to explain what they are doing technically in every aspect of their singing. I want to make sure they understand not only what I have asked them to do, but how they are employing my instructions in their singing. If the student understands and can explain it then they can recreate it during their practice sessions when the teacher is not there to assist them. I find that this also increases their confidence in themselves and in their voices.

Much of my teaching is based on what I learned on my own while I was away from my teacher and coach performing. When I had to fix any vocal problems or find the best way to sing a particularly difficult piece without the guidance and ears of my teacher and coaches. This forced me to analyze and understand exactly how my voice worked and find the best and most proficient way to overcome whatever technical problems that piece was presenting me. As a teacher I also employ the same analytical approach. With each student I find the best way to describe or explain what I would like the student to do. You can say the same thing to two different students and sometimes they understand it differently. So I try to find the best words to use in order to avoid any confusion between the teacher and student. I ask them to look in the mirror and watch themselves sing. Then explain not only what they saw in the mirror but also what they felt physically happening while they were singing. I ask them where was the voice resonating, did they see or feel any jaw or tongue tension, how effectively were they using their breath, were they pleased with the how they sang? Etc. I try not to demonstrate for the student since I want them to sound like themselves and not imitate me or the singer they hear on the CD. I find that most young singers when they imitate who they hear on a CD end up pushing their voices, sounding much older and putting unnecessary pressure on their voices in order to sound like someone else.

In my studio I insist on open and honest communication between the student and the teacher. I maintain a positive atmosphere during the lesson in order to achieve the most positive response from the student in the protected environment of the voice studio. I challenge the student to discover and expand their knowledge of not only music, but the history and events occurring during the period their songs were set and also the pertinent historical events during the lives of the composers of the songs, arias and roles they will be learning. Singing is not only learning the right notes and words and singing with a beautiful, free sound, but communicating with the audience. You must transport the audience with your voice to the time and place of the piece you are performing, creating magic with your voice and performance. Leaving the audience in a state of euphoria or despair, depending on what you are performing.