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Regardless of the reason(s) for your lesson, I mandate healthy vocal production above all – strengthening your vocal foundation whereupon your interpretation skills will be based. Solid technique leads to confidence and endurance, and is – frankly – a harbinger for a long, stable vocal career.
As your teacher, I will:
Convey information and example that may be of use to you, repeatedly, and in as many different ways as possible. As no two learning styles are the same, I am a big believer in reinventing observation, critique and instruction until the right phrase, image or exercise clicks. (Example: I wasn’t until my sophomore year of high school when my voice teacher suggested the image of an I-beam in my mouth, that I initially grasped the concept of lifting my soft pallet.) The more information you have, the better grasp you have of your task conceptually, the more confident your production becomes and ultimately a stronger performance is produced by the choices you make.
Encourage you, similarly, to approach the work from different angles, with risk and with the assumption and acceptance that you may well fail on any given attempt. Remaining in your comfort zone benefits no one; stagnation from fear of failure also prevents any hope of success
Provide insight and background for interpretive work, including clues buried by the composer and lyricist. (Example: In “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid, Ariel waffles between iii, IV and V chords for a full 31 measures before finally finding the Tonic (I) or "Home" chord, on the lyric “I want to be...” Why does it take her so long to find comfort in the song? It may seem obvious in retrospect or in full knowledge of the entire story, but it remains a specific moment where the composer has given you the performer tremendous assistance in how you can successfully interpret the song, and is thus worth acknowledging.)
Give only genuine, constructive instruction and guidance. I will not sugar coat my feedback or coddle your ego.
Make you swim your laps.
Explain the merits and objectives of the work I assign you. Vocalizing can be a bitch, but with knowledge comes a more conscious effort of focus and improvement.
Encourage you to improve that which you are in control of, and to release that which you are not.
Further, I cannot stress my personal vocal mantra enough: Enjoy the Work. Shake off any residual or lingering difficulty. Too much frustration with a particular exercise, phrase or lyric and the work itself becomes the obstacle, counter-productive. When the work becomes the obstacle your ability for improvement withers. This is not however to be confused with a healthy challenge – or contrary, a general blaze vocal day.
Professional Accompaniment is not provided in General Lessons. As lessons focus on vocal production, technique and interpretation, song accompaniment is secondary. Your lesson will be accompanied, but more often than not in a minimalist fashion. This is intended to instill in the student the ability to drive the piece on their own and moreover to prepare the student for the unexpected in an audition setting. If you’re preparing for a specific audition, arrangements can be made for an accompanist to play your audition material as written (so you can acclimate yourself to what will presumably be played in the room) while we polish your performance pieces. This incurs additional cost, currently $35/hr.