I have studied under several renowned teachers of different pedagogical styles, however both my teaching style and philosophy are rooted in the work of my late mentor, Betty Jeanne Chipman and my collaborations with Aubrey-Adams McMillan and Cindy Dewey.
As a teacher and a singer, I believe in using all good tools to explore the voice. Though I am formally classically trained, I began in musical theater and jazz styles and have carried those skills with me. I do not teach students to just sing “opera” or “belt” or "pop", I teach them healthy techniques that aid in discovering what their voice can do. These techniques are not restricted to one style but adaptable to the style the singer may need.
In addition to my formal education in voice, I have also studied healthy and efficient use of the body through Thai & Vinyasa yoga styles, cranial sacral therapy, but most predominantly the Alexander Technique. I spent several years studying with the master teacher Cathy Pollock learning natural and appropriate use and movement of the body, especially as it relates to singers and musicians. Together with an understanding of anatomy and singing technique, I use these concepts to help students develop a better relationship with their whole-body instrument and to solve common tension issues.
One truth that I would like to share with my students and encourage them to embrace is: Every voice is unique. No one voice will ever sound like another and this is something to celebrate! In our modern world our ear is influenced by so much media. As a result, many young singers either struggle with a desire to sound like a certain performer or to sound a certain way which can lead to many unhealthy habits and difficulty in singing. To find success you must be you!
Discovering your voice is best done through exploration and learning what feels free and easy for you. Sodare to be ugly, dare to make a mistake, be bold, be brave and enjoy the messy and glorious journey that is life and music. The process of singing isn't always pretty and that's a good thing. We don't always want to express butterflies and rainbows.
As a parting thought, not every voice is operatic, not every voice is commercial or meant for the stage, but I believe everyone with a desire to sing should sing, find joy in improvement and expression through music. After all, it's the instrument with which we were born. I absolutely believe in the words of my late mentor, "No one should ever be told not to sing!"
"I would rather instill in my amateur students love, than knowledge, of music. Left with only knowledge, they will at the end close their books and consign the course to forgetfulness. But if they have learned to love but the smallest part of the art, they are likely to pursue some phase of it the rest of their lives." --Ernst Bacon (1898-1990, American Composer & Pianist)