Effectively making music takes our heart, soul, mind and strength! We give our hearts to the pursuit; we pour our souls into the message and the emotions of the song; we push our minds to learn the skills, the theory; and we challenge our strength with endless practicing. It is my role as a teacher to guide and support my students in all of these areas.

Singing, over all other forms of musical expression, is the most intimate. Now the instrument is within us.   Everything we do is affected by our physical and spiritual health. I tailor my work with each student to his or her specific needs. What vocal exercises will help them overcome their specific problems or will promote the most growth in needed areas? What knowledge do they need to prevent vocal damage and promote optimum vocal health? What encouragement do they need to overcome the stops to their progress? Do they just need me to listen? What song will help them to break through their insecurities and shine?

Is the student tired from long hours of work or study? This can cause lack of breath support, dehydration or straining leading to swelling of the vocal folds, missing notes in our range, pitch issues and more. If they are frustrated, angry or upset about anything they may tighten up and restrict their range or tone, or just attack notes in an unhealthy way. If they are joyful we can hear that smile as they lift the pallet. If they are sick, the phlegm in our throat may significantly effect their vocal production. I address the whole person and how it applies to the task at hand: singing.
Often times we can take the emotional circumstances in our lives and use them to make our music more powerful and real; this makes music exciting! As a teacher, I want to bring out the best in every student while paying attention to technique and vocal health. I can also offer real world experience as to how to deal with all kinds of issues when the show must go on.

Over 15 years ago I landed in vocal surgery because of bad choices I made as a professional vocalist. Vocal health is more than technique, it also involve lifestyle choices, like how much water you drink or sleep you get for example. I make sure all my students are given the information I missed along the way so they may avoid any similar trauma!

As a mentor, I want to equip my students to be prepared for all opportunities that may come their way, to be prepared for life as a working musician. Making a living in music often involves being versatile; the more tools you have, the more genres you can cover, the better. For these reasons I stress the need to try many styles of music, paying attention to the skills inherent to each one. Sight singing and chart reading is very important. Being comfortable in the studio and understanding microphone technique is extremely helpful as well as having understanding of how to run live PA. I integrate current technologies to facilitate learning such as YouTube, Sibelius, Garage Band, Skype and more.  Teaching harmony and blending, dynamics and many other skills needed to sing in a group are also part of my curriculum.
For my youngest students, I create a place where they can experiment with their own instrument and discover what marvelous things they can do with their voices. They learn good technique while having fun expressing themselves. Singing should be fun!

Finally, since our voice is within us, reactions to our singing can feel extremely personal. Life as a musician can involve a lot of rejection.   It is important for me to encourage each student to be their best while feeling good about themselves, having a sober estimate of their skills and maintaining optimism for future growth. Singing is a gift and should bring the singer joy. I help my students to feel safe to try things, grow and discover their gifts. There is nothing better for me as a teacher than to watch a student get excited about their progress and to know I had a role in their success!