My method for teaching voice is based on the simple concept of learning balance. It is extremely important to have command of a wide spectrum of emotion based skills in order to be a good singer (i.e. presence, energy management, groove, emotional grounding and confidence etc). Honing control, independence and balance with regard to certain musical parameters is also key. These parameters include volume, pitch, tone and rhythm. My vocal method focuses on two main areas of study. First students learn how to build an instrument (their voice) through the use of non-emotion based vocal exercises and 2nd students learn how use their instrument in performance via focused song work. I specialize in rock, pop, folk, blues, world and R & B and can help each student find and cultivate their natural and authentic voice.
When beginning work with a student I will make an initial assessment of their overall health and skill level via a questionnaire and interview. Next, I outline specific areas for the student to concentrate on in order to improve their overall well being and health. In voice the body is the instrument and this is an extremely important concept to consider when learning to sing. Next, I analyze the voice to understand areas of weakness and pinpoint elements of the students technique which need strengthening. I then create an individualized lesson plan and guide the student by providing specific vocal exercises to target the developing areas of the students voice. The endpoint of this approach is a singer with a well balanced, relaxed and natural vocal sound. By finding a singers neutral point I can help each student gain a deeper understanding of the extremes of each vocal parameter. The student can then cultivate more vocal tools which can be applied to help the singer connect on a deeper emotional level with the listener.
I enjoy helping students to find their own personal authentic sound and feel that understanding how to communicate emotion is the key to being a good singer. Many techniques and exercises I employ are outside of the realm of style and thus all types of voice students are welcome despite my area of specialization.
I believe I have developed a unique form of teaching voice through 30 years of study and applied work. As a youth and during my college years my main voice teachers were of the classical tradition. Later when I began performing rock and pop professionally I came to the realization that some of the classical methodology I was employing actually got in the way of my ability to communicate with a contemporary music audience. While searching to understand what had gone wrong with my study of voice, I found and studied with Mark Baxter. Mark opened me up and allowed me to approach voice from a new direction. I have incorporated Mark Baxter's approach into my teaching style and syllabus. Students leave each session with a recorded CD of the lesson for the student to use as a practice guide, thus reading music is not required.
My previous teaching experience includes - over 20 yrs of private guitar instruction, work as a band leader for almost 30 years, 4 yrs as a ski instructor, and teaching meditation privately. I have also worked in sleep research for 15 years as a research manager which includes training and lecturing on topics related to occupational health medicine. I have a bachelors degree in Psychology and studied music at the University of NH. I have been independently studying eastern and other esoteric healing modalities for the past 20 years. In the early part of my career I worked as a music therapist and case manager with mentally ill adults.
Through in depth study of meditation and psychology, I have come to appreciate how much an individuals background and emotional state impacts their ability to be vulnerable when singing. Understanding how to achieve this vocal vulnerability is one of the key elements in contemporary music and is what builds the connection between singer and listener.