“Meditate often on the interconnectedness and mutual interdependence of all things in the universe. For in a sense, all things are mutually woven together and therefore have an affinity for each other— for one thing follows after another according to their tension of movement, their sympathetic stirrings, and the unity of all substance.” —MARCUS AURELIUS, MEDITATIONS, 6.38
My teaching philosophy is built on an intensive study of vocal pedagogical literature from the past 350 years wedded to the latest and most relevant scientific discoveries supporting those traditions through practical application.
My main concern at all times is with the functional freedom and health of the voice. I wish to work in such a way that the singer may explore their voice to adapt to any style or genre that they wish to sing through guidance of vocal skill, health, and musical development.
The purpose of every lesson is to free the singing voice through indirect, as opposed to direct or mechanistic, means. My studies have led me to believe that attempts at direct control of the voice entangle the singer with muscular tension, stiffen the throat, shorten the range, and lessen the natural beauty of each voice. It also causes a tremendous psychological tension and distress when the voice is prevented from free, spontaneous, and authentic artistic expression. Singing should not be mysterious for the singer wishing to learn to sing. The voice should organically reveal itself over time with patience and diligent work.
Progression of every student’s vocal development is built on logic, and the application of tools and exercises that understand at all times the interrelationship between “cause” and “effect”. In addition, respect for the process of training is paramount, and acknowledgement that voice development is an ongoing journey towards mastery formulates much of my worldview on training.
From a psychological perspective, my goal is to give students a safe, compassionate, and empathetic environment in which to work. Daring to risk failure is encouraged in order to break down barriers that can cloud development owing to a “fear of failure”. Once this is minimized, students can become free to work more deeply and earnestly in the pursuit of their vocal goals. My hope is that this makes the work in the studio a joyous, playful, spontaneous, and constant growth experience for both teacher and student.
My pedagogical influences can be found largely in the work and writings of Pierfrancesco Tosi, Giambattista Mancini, Manuel Garcia II, David Clark Taylor, Edgar Herbert-Caesari, Francesco Lamperti, Herbert Witherspoon, and most currently in the pedagogies of Frederick Husler and Yvonne Rodd-Marling, Cornelius L. Reid, Seth Riggs, Edward Foreman, Jeannette LoVetri, Peter T. Harrison, W. Stephen Smith, William Westney, and Kenneth Bozeman.
First follow NATURE, and your judgment frameAlexander Pope (1688-1744)
By her just standard, which is still the same:
Unerring Nature, still divinely bright,
One clear, unchang’d, and universal light,
Life, force, and beauty, must to all impart,
At once the source, and end, and test of art.
Art from that fund each just supply provides,
Works without show, and without pomp presides:
In some fair body thus th’ informing soul
With spirits feeds, with vigour fills the whole,
Each motion guides, and ev’ry nerve sustains;
Itself unseen, but in th’ effects, remains.