My teaching philosophy
Over the years I have developed an approach to teaching which is organic and natural, whether it is in the voice studio or the choir room. My approach to choral rehearsals is very similar to my private lessons, and so there is always a component of vocal technique. Most importantly, I begin and end with the making of music, incorporating ideas of articulation, phrasing, dramatizing, joking, dancing--all to the end of allowing the intention and need to express and communicate to drive the mechanism, to engage the technique naturally.
Step by step I try to demystify the art and technique of singing by analyzing, explaining, providing tools and strategies for breathing, voice production, support, focus; I often try to find similarities to other disciplines--playing a sport, dancing, martial arts, playing an instrument, painting--to make the experience more relevant, more personal and more familiar to the student.
I constantly urge my students to better themselves, and equally constantly I assure them and encourage them. I strive to challenge more advanced singers and encourage beginners, always with patience and respect, empowering them towards a higher level of musical awareness, understanding, and competence. I take a creative approach to problem-solving; I am a "troubleshooter" and like to devise exercises to address particular and specific issues--tuning, voice production, blending, balance, tension release, rhythmic and ensemble problems.
I have a strong sense of humor and I love to laugh, so humour is always an important component of my lessons. My students and I have a great time together, and the same is true for my choral rehearsals. First and foremost, I like to provide a safe place for singers to try new things, to allow themselves to be vulnerable, to feel free to experiment with their voices, to allow themselves to make mistakes, and even to not make a great sound at times, to find what is available to them in terms of colour, range, dynamic and expressive capabilities in this amazing instrument that is the human voice.
I have a boundless love for music and music-making and I have been told that my enthusiasm for music is contagious. I believe singing is a right and that all humans can, should - and must - sing. Its an absolute necessity for our well-being - emotional, spiritual, physical and intellectual.