Music is a lifelong endeavor. One that can be pursued alone and with others, it stands out from all other fine arts because of its far-reaching influence throughout centuries, spanning cultures, belief systems and social statuses. It allows individuals and groups to be unique, even virtuosic, yet also allows them to be equals and teammates. There are challenges, difficulties and sometimes failures, but there are also sublime victories. Most importantly, the lessons learned are transferrable to every aspect of life and serve only to support the participant in terms of intellect, responsibility and pride in one's work.
While I enjoy successes onstage and love sharing my craft with the world through concerts, operas, recitals and other such performances, I find that teaching music to others has immeasurable rewards. Figuring out the best method of learning for each student is a more enjoyable form of problem solving than any crossword puzzle, cipher or riddle I have ever encountered. Helping someone realize his or her true musical potential is one of the most exciting journeys I have ever taken. Seeing the "Aha!" moment, when the proverbial lightbulb suddenly switches on, is, simultaneously, one of the most exciting and satisfying experiences one can hope to witness. Finally, knowing that the student before you is genuinely proud of all of the hard work he or she has been doing, no matter what the result, is the most powerful testament of the tenacity and fortitude of the human spirit.
There are many reasons I teach. It is not for fame, fortune or the opportunity to say, "Look at what I built." Rather, it is to help others achieve things that they may not have realized they were capable of achieving. Critics might say that what I do is simply a means to give people a taste of leisure-class frivolity; that I am making a living from other people's hobbies. It is so much more than that. I teach because I believe in allowing the more refined side of one's personality to emerge and become his or her dominant character trait. I teach because it is a personal mission to help guide modern-day society in an enlightened direction, one person at a time. I teach because I enjoy meeting many different people from many different backgrounds. I teach because I want others to have the same profound experiences in their journey that I have been blessed to have through the guidance of my teachers. I teach because I want to show others that there is so much more to life than what they see on television.
The most important reason I teach, though, is twofold: 1) to give others the same lessons in responsibility, kindness and generosity I have received from my teachers, and 2) to, in turn, provide them the tools to turn right around and give the very same to others. Whether it is a sibling, a child, a parent, a friend, or a pupil of their own, my students are able to not only provide lessons in what they learned musically, but to share a desire to become a better person through the very same responsibility, kindness and generosity. This is true service, and it will spread more effectively than any commercial or nationally syndicated television show because it is unique and personal. I love that I have been granted the opportunity to share this selfless endeavor with my students, and I invite you to share it with me, too.
My Thoughts on Singing
In order to discover the reasons one chooses to teach, it is important for that person to first discover why it is important to learn. We as human beings are always striving to better ourselves. From the moment we open our eyes at birth, the personal improvement process never ends. The same applies to vocal studies.
Singing is the most personal form of expression. From the initial inspiration to the final presentation of the product, the act of singing is the only pitched musical activity that requires nothing but our own bodies. It is because of this that stories, lessons, and traditions have been passed through the generations via folk songs, sung legends, etc. Tribal cultures still use singing to tell their people's histories and to teach their young how to be responsible community members with high moral and ethical standards. Likewise, we Americans continue to teach our children lessons through folksongs - lessons such as the consequences when too many monkeys simultaneously jump on a bed, or the dismal fate that befalls a ball of meat from an Italian dinner that has been propelled by someone who neglected to cover his or her mouth while sneezing.
In one form or another, singing is a part of us all. It makes up our very being and has allowed us to recant stories from long ago that have now become cliché due to their familiarity. Therefore, it only stands to reason that we are all able to sing. Even those who have physical defects or handicaps are able to produce tones that allow for self-expression. Some may say, "Well, I like your good-natured approach to this, but I'm tone-deaf. There's no way you could teach me to sing." Yes, it is true that some people are clinically unable to discern one pitch from another as accurately as the majority of the population. However, when faced with this type of response before, the person was able to correct his or her pitches by simply drawing more focus than usual to the sensations and sounds of his or her own voice. Therefore, it isn't just a naïve or good-natured view that everyone can sing; it is a fact.
Whether you want to be a professional performer on Broadway or at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, or if you simply want to be less embarrassed to sing in your car with friends while stuck in the carpool lane during rush hour, I can help you achieve your goals. The technique I use and teach truly crosses all genres. My students have included aspiring opera and concert singers, musical theater singers, a person who only dreams to write the next great wedding song, and people who have never read music or matched pitch before in their lives. The main goal in this studio is to provide you a solid foundation from which you can allow your own unique instrument to grow into its own entity. Through lessons in musicianship, history, presentation and other such related areas, you will gain a working knowledge that will allow you to become a truly educated and well-rounded artist.
Singing is something that should be shared, unashamedly, with everyone. Wouldn't it be great to be that carefree three-year-old who makes up songs at the top of her lungs all day, regardless of who may be listening? How much joy and satisfaction would come from singing Christmas carols with as much reckless disregard as the little boy in his first-grade choir concert? Believe me when I tell you that there is nothing more freeing. Please join me, and let your voice resound.