I have been involved in music for my entire life and have been a professional music director, voice teacher, and accompanist for over twenty years. Through this work I have come to believe that every individual can experience profoundly moving artistic experiences and that these moments can change lives. This belief guides my process be it with individual singers, musical theater troupes or large choirs. My job as an educator is to unlock this potential. I must help my singers define and meet the unique objectives using current pedagogy, a comprehensive curriculum and modern technology ensuring their success now and as studio alumni.
Voice pedagogy is a contentious topic engendering heated debates among practitioners and performers alike. Tremendous advances in the understanding of voice production have occurred over the past 10 years but many teachers and students are disconnected from this information. I took a two-year hiatus to pursue a masters degree in voice pedagogy at Shenandoah University and earn a certificate in Vocology at the National Institute of Voice and Speech (summer 2017). These efforts, along with continued participation in conferences and seminars, will ensure that my students are taught a method based on a contemporary understanding of voice function.
I have worked with singers at every level who collectively hold a range of artistic ambitions. Some are currently singing at the Met or on Broadway while others sing in church or community choirs, their school musicals, karaoke, or around campfires. Despite these differences, they all can work very hard to achieve common artistic and personal objectives. When artists with wildly variable artistic pedigrees are thoughtfully united, incredibly powerful experiences can be created. Think of world class soloists performing Mozart Requiem with a community choir, a Broadway star giving a master class to a group of aspiring singers, or a sharp, professional orchestra supporting a high school musical; these moments can change lives. Pulling these pieces together is a skill I have cultivated and one that helps me create outstanding experiences for my singers.
As an educator I have no need to create a legacy by establishing a roster of superstar alumni. I want to continue to create access to opportunity for any singer who is prepared to work hard and approach the work with an open heart and open mind. In doing so I will not create a factory of musical automatons, but a family of individuals dedicated to artistic greatness.
Saturday, March 4, 2017