My path to becoming a voice teacher was certainly not a straight line. While music has been a passion of mine forever, its manifestations have been varied. All in all, I think the wide variety of musical experiences has been good for my teaching. For the purposes of this website, however, let’s focus on the vocal bits.
To be honest, studying voice in college was an exercise in frustration – a waste of time compared to the success I experienced with woodwind instruments. I concluded that I didn’t have a talent for singing, quit voice lessons, and stuck to the horns for the rest of my music degree. After not singing for over a decade, I ventured back to the musical theatre stage, where I felt somewhat safe vocally. Eventually I came to revisit the classical repertoire that first attracted me to fine singing, and began to aggressively research voice teaching methods and seek out experts to learn from.
While always an avid scholar of the latest (and the earliest!) developments in the areas of pedagogy, voice science, and performance practice, I continue to study and perform, making bridges between the theoretical and the practical. I have researched countless books, articles, and blogs, and had many productive discussions and debates with colleagues. As I became more aware of biases, entrenched camps, and editorial liberties, I revisited old singing treatises of the 18th and 19th centuries in their original languages, to see what they really said (and didn’t say). I have clocked myriad hours of listening to singers, both recorded and live, finding clues about what has changed and what is constant in the world of singing. In 2010 I began this blog, which is centered around the question: “Why does so much voice instruction not make sense, and what can we do about it?”
After fighting to find my voice, 30-plus years of teaching many kinds of music, two master’s degrees (music and instructional design), and a dogged determination to learn everything I can, I’m a much happier singer and a still-enthusiastic teacher. In my private studio and in group settings I work with people from widely varying backgrounds and all ages. Regardless of the genre they sing, I am passionate about helping them to make sense of vocal study.
A condensed resume follows:
- Private voice teacher. Have prepared students for successful college auditions at top schools such as Indiana, Michigan, Maryland, Boston Conservatory, Elon, and Berklee. Work with professional soloists, actors, and teachers.
- Vocal Coach (musical and audition preparation) for students, amateurs, and professionals.
- Public School Teacher – orchestra, band, and general music.
- Vocalability (this blog) where I write about singing and voice pedagogy, since 2010.
- Book scheduled for publication in fall of 2017: Sane Singing: Navigating the Vocal Journey. Sane Singing is a guide to finding training that works, as well as giving advice on how to assess one’s own vocal progress.
- Tenor with Cantate Chamber Singers.
- Solo recitals – special interest in Latin American and Spanish art song and new music.
- Opera and musical theatre roles.
- Tenor section leader at churches and cathedrals throughout DC Metro area.
- Pianist for auditions, seminars, and recitals.
- Symphonic and chamber music on flute, bass, piano, and viola.
- M.M., Music Performance, Bowling Green State University
- M.A., Instructional Systems Design, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
- B.M., Music Performance, University of Iowa
- B.S., Music Education, University of Maryland, College Park
- Graduate coursework in Vocal Pedagogy, Shenandoah Conservatory
- Vocal Study with David Christopher, George Gibson, J. Arden Hopkin, Mary Walkley
- Coaching with Gillian Cookson, Jorge Robaina, Richard Crittenden
Non-musical interests include cooking, spirituality, politics, psychology, fitness, travel, fine dining, and all the other arts.