Articulating it in the manner can liberate countless singers from the mires of laryngeal entanglement. Oh lord! Has anyone else laid it out bare like the? If not, then you deserve a seat on high!! OK, seriously, I rarely get passionate or excited for that matter, but the little gem, the nugget, its priceless…I am indebted. Well, that is the sign of someone who has understood something utterly, to state the obvious about it, what is real, simply and directly. I mean, what you are pointing out applies to everything in a way, all of our muscle groups - I don't mean just for singing but in general - all of our faculties and resources. To USE it (or them). I am sorry, but it is sort of profound! Use the larynx dammit, that is what it's there for! Don't yawn it, or hold it, or make it immobile, or shift all attention away from it, or what have you. Brilliant, just so… What I would say if I were to describe my work with Nadari is, like The Beatles' song, "We can work it out". It is really amazing how open She is to all I bring to class, no matter if it is an Italian air, French mélodie or even a pop song I used to sing some years ago and now I feel I can sing. I have had lots of teachers throughout my professional life, like most singers who are desperately in search of someone who might guide her to explore and be in full command of her instrument. But mostly what happened was that I bumped into professionals who were not at all fortunate in their own career as performers and that were there to show off the potential of their voices or teach me many vocalizes which purpose were never clear to me, often saying that my goal was to be able to sing the full tessitura of my range. In a nutshell, Nadari has been guiding me so that I have ownership, practical knowledge and command of my instrument. But it takes one a really attentive approach, individual, together with patience and support. We can work it out, is what I hear between the lines. Sometimes I come to class tired, other times feeling like giving up - because we all know that singing is awfully demanding, as we must manage are ourselves, not an external instrument - and she is always there, focused, calm and wise about what I have to do to reach my daily targets. Each day I feel I know my instrument a little more and my I feel my voice is blossoming, gaining the individual colors and weighs solely mine. I can say I am really lucky to have found Nadari, who is the vocal coach I had been searching for my whole professional life. Thank you, Nadari. Just to let you know I will be the first in the queue to purchase your publications. Most of your web site is directed at Singers, but I think you have a lot to offer people who suffer with their speaking voice. You may recall I wrote to you privately regarding my sore speaking voice issue, I have since had my vocal cords checked out (which were fine) and was then referred to a professional speech therapist. I was diagnosed with MTD (Muscle Tension Dysphonia). I think the is a convenient label given by the profession to describe a form of functional tension which is not fully understood. I was given various exercises like blowing through a straw, circum- larynx manipulation and even suggested there may be a psychological component involved! None of these things helped, again the general approach was an over-preoccupation with breath. Although we have not met in person it is through reading your website that I have discovered things that are really Helpful. I am now in a better place with the voice and have even started to sing a little. I'm convinced you have a lot to offer people who suffer with functional dysphonia. It's my belief that profound knowledge in relation to voice use can only come from someone who sings; the must be a huge advantage over conventional therapists. Incidentally, I think my own problems have arisen from my habitual head & neck relationship, I had a tendency to pull the head back slightly when speaking as if reaching. The position also prevented a natural in breath. Although things are still a "work in progress" I'm in a much better place. Your website provided me with the inspiration and believe that I could eventually recover my voice Thank you
Nadari Hockenhull is a gifted technician of the voice. When teaching, she is not only an astute listener to every sound and nuance, but also takes great care to describe simply where you are at and where you want to go, creating that necessary structural stability leading to great results. I am learning a great deal from Nadari and am singing better than ever. I look forward to my singing blossoming even further!
For as long as I can remember, I have always loved to sing. I began singing around the house at the age of five and continued to sing pop ballads, jazz, and choral pieces throughout my high school and early collegiate years. However, I was skating by purely on my own talent and had no concept of technique. I began developing an interest in opera by the time I entered university and began listening to every opera singer I could. Consequently, I began searching for teachers. The first teacher encouraged me to sing with more chest voice. Although I felt I was a lighter/brighter voice, she encouraged me to sing darker and Heavier. Other teachers followed who gave me vague instructions on how to place the sound forward, backward, and every way imaginable. Suffice it to say that when I was not making any progress, they classified me as a lyric soprano and encouraged me to use a richer sound. The created some rather nasty habits-tongue tension, jaw tension, and a total lack of appoggio. The final straw came when I had to mouth the majority of the words during a choir concert due to vocal fatigue. I began to truly dread singing. It was no longer joyful and innate; it became something of a chore and a test of nerves. Furthermore, singing had become slightly painful and very, very tense. I'd read David Jones's articles and was intrigued by the Bel Canto method. Through a Google search on breathing and the Bel Canto school, I found Nadari's blog, and the rest is History. I've been studying with Nadari for only a short while. In the course of these three lessons I've taken thus far, I have gained immense vocal freedom and have enjoyed singing again. I have come to realize that singing is truly a reflexive act, not mechanical and rigid. Nadari is honestly the best teacher I have studied with. Her instructions are concise, clear, and direct. There are no guessing games which leave the student confused or frustrated. Further, she possesses an excellent ear and diagnoses vocal issues accurately, giving the student immediate ways of remedying the imbalance. As a young student who has been through the university music program and seen the vocal training present in academia, I would wholeheartedly recommend Nadari to any aspiring singer, professional or otherwise.
Your explanations are very clear and easy to understand, and that is very refreshing. Some teachers make singing sound like a Hermetic art not easily accessible to everyone. Your view of the voice as a natural function makes it seems less scary. I think there are three concepts that sound "new": Breath compression, Laryngeal "resistance" (or whatever you call it) and pharyngeal resonance… I think it is very very Helpful that you relate breath compression with other bodily functions, like sneezing or coughing - tasks that are simple to accomplish. In traditional training, we do these breath exercises and we're not really sure what they are meant for and, more importantly, if we're supposed to do the same thing while singing. The sustained "s" was always a source of confusion for me because it was the first exercise I learned, and because no one ever explained to me what the point of the exercise was, from the start I was left with the impression that singing was just having an even and constant flow of air. I suspect the might be the case with many other students too. Also, early on in my training, because of how my first teacher demonstrated the exercise, I was under the impression that we needed a huge amount of air to sing. But very soon I discovered that when we push an enormous amount of air out the sound is "forced", the throat starts to hurt, and you're not able to sing very well. Come to think of it, since the teacher was a mature lyric soprano, I assume she could withstand the "pushing" much more than a 17-year-old, ha-ha. So, I just assumed that I was physically unable to perform the task of "using the breath" to sing… I have heard different concepts about resonance. Some teachers say the voice needs to be "forward" ("imagine a line going straight to the other wall", things like that), but, like you explained, that is the description of a result. I have "tried" to get the voice forward, and the sound was always plain, weak, and flat, so that has never helped me, at all. One teacher also had come up with the concept of "vocal turn" ("giro vocálico", it's hard to translate that into English), meaning that the sound should resonate in the open spaces of the skull, and the vowels needed to be "vertical". She also emphasized the importance of facial posture. Sure, but then she had me vocalizing in "i", "o-i" or "i-a", whatever, which also did not help me (like I said, the sound was either "buried" or "spread"). I was always told to "raise" the soft palate, and that was the most dangerous for me, because, if I have air coming out and raise the soft palate, the voice automatically gets breathy. If I understood what you were explaining, for the "open" pharynx to work as an effective resonator the cords (folds) need to be adducted, not leaking air… The things you've demonstrated, I think, could be very Helpful to people in the same situation. There are questions we sometimes want to ask, but don't, because they're just too embarrassing. "How come she sounds so much louder than me?" or "Why does my voice sound so weak?". These questions sound kind of childish, but it's not just the illusion of looking for the "big sound" (which I assume leads to a different kind of vocal trap). From my experience, the matter is never addressed directly. I've had the courage to ask similar questions, out of sheer frustration, and had a lot of different answers, things like "Oh, don't worry, your voice will be fuller as you get older" or "Each voice is different from the other, lighter voices have different qualities, etc, etc". Then there are the mean ones that just say, "You're sound is not going to evolve, so you should just quit". I guess that figuring out your voice is a process that takes time, and I know that "classical" voices don't mature until later, but I think the things the singer her/Herself experiences should be taken into consideration. Like me, for instance. Doesn't the fact that I had recorded evidence that my voice doesn't carry in a big room, not even in a small distance, count for something? Not according to some teachers. I should just "wait" until the problem is magically solved as I get older and the so-called "spot" is just going to "pop out" in my face. Either that or the horrible flat tone is the only result I can ever have. I suspect that some students are categorized into a voice type without suspecting that they sound the or that way because of some misconception, or because they are deliberately trying to sound like "the" or "that" voice type. From your explanation, I can finally hope that there is a way around it, that I can have a "normal" voice that people can actually hear and learn how to use it. Nadari is a great teacher. Her methods are based on a vast understanding of how the body works as well as what it takes to use the body to sing properly. She is logical and scientific in her approach and is able to clearly articulate what is going on and help the student understand what needs to be done to achieve the desired results. Her ear is well-educated and so finely tuned She can detect subtle differences in sound and technique even from a poor mic over a Skype connection. Her experience is of a great value as it leads to faster, more noticeable results and quick diagnosis of problems. She is also very patient and does not stop reminding you of things that need to be done over and over that are not second nature to you yet. Even if She's tired of telling you, you are not made aware of the or made to feel bad in any way. Whatever is within Her power and is necessary for you to sing properly, she does. It's also very clear She has your vocal Health in mind and will not have you doing things that would harm your voice, set you back in your progress or do not feel right. Nadari is a pleasure to work with.
If you love to sing, come join me! If you feel there's a voice inside you but aren't sure how to get it out -- come let me help you. You're never too old to learn!
One on one instruction is geared to individual challenges and goals. Your singing lesson is not like anyone else's - it is just for you. Gain confidence as you develop your skills.
Explore what your voice can do and learn how to use it, through exercises and music of various genres.
TRAINING AND EDUCATION
TOP TYROLEAN OPERA PROGRAM, ELIZABETH BACHMAN, OPERA PERFORMANCE
CALIFORNIA STATE POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY, BM-Vocal Performance Major
DR. ALBERT MCNEIL
VOCAL COMPETITION AND HONORS
Metropolitan Opera Regional Winner
Who’s Who in American Music 2006/2009
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- 30 minute lesson - $25
- 60 minute lesson - $55
UNSURE? Try an introductory package: 6 weeks of lessons for $180 (30-minute length)
Lessons are discounted for those who join Diamond in the Rough Voice Studio on an ongoing weekly basis.
SHORT TERM COACHING:
Do you need help prepping for a single big event (audition, talent show) in a more intensive way?
I can help you prepare on a short term basis, too. The more notice you give, the more likely I can schedule something to help you.
Singing and teaching have gone hand-in-hand for me for years. It has been like fire shut up in my bones so I tried to do one without the other the other would be golden and they're gone hand-in-hand in my life all these years.
My students have been very diverse some advanced, some just beginning some no experience at all having entered my studio as unconfident tone challenged caterpillars and in the end soared in the industry as professional vocal butterflies.
I have just begun a series of nomadic Dine With the Diva pop-up Dinner Theater starring students from my studio, special guests and yours truly.
My husband is a le Cordon Bleu trained chef and has designed some amazing menus for our events; such a tasty combination I say.
My advice to students seeking to find the right fit student to teacher is to ask those questioned in the pit of your stomach, look them in the eye and make sure that there is a proper connection.
Top 10 Voice Teacher Interview Questions:
1. The Basics
What is their Availability?
What are their current Rates?
2. Formal Qualifications
Where did they study?
What type of singing and performing have they done?
Is voice their primary instrument? Secondary?
Don’t hesitate to request a Bio, Resume, References and Recordings of the teacher’s singing!
3. How long have they been teaching?
It’s a good idea to ask how long the teacher has owned their own studio or taught for this particular studio. I’d also ask how long they have taught in the area, where else they’ve taught, and under what circumstances.
As I teacher I love this questions. It feels like bragging without bragging. (I would answer that I just moved to the area and opened my own studio this past year. Then I would elaborate on my past teaching experience with a number of private studios in southern California, as a vocal teaching assistant at university through my masters, and as an elementary and middle school music and performing arts teacher.)
4. What repertoire do they teach?
Do they teach a specific style of singing?
This is very important. Teachers should be familiar with the style of singing the student is looking to study. Enrichment and music appreciation can be found with any teacher. However, certain styles of singing require a specific teaching expertise. For instance, if a student is looking to sing opera it is really important to seek a teacher with operatic experience that can teach both technique and proper classical style. Similarly, if a teacher is only comfortable teaching in the classical style and the student wants to sing pop music then the opera teacher isn’t the right fit. Go into the interview knowing what the student wants from a teacher; it will help a lot!
5. What performance opportunities are available to students?
Performance opportunities are vital for good vocal education. Teachers should be offering opportunities to perform. Some teachers offer recitals, master classes, competitions, and even festival opportunities. Ask the teacher if they are members of any professional organizations, like NATS or MTNA, that’s members students can participate in competitions and other singing opportunities.
Not all teachers are connected like this and they don’t have to be to be a good teacher. Maybe the teacher is just starting their studio (like me, wink!)! Ask if the teachers intend to establish these kinds of opportunities in the future and in what time frame. However if these kinds of activities are important to the student then it’s important to find a teacher that offers these connections.
6. How often do they expect students to practice?
This is a good way to make sure the student’s dedication level (and schedule) matches the teacher’s expectations. In my studio, I say “the more you put in the more you get out” and let students organize their own practice time. I encourage beginning students to practice 20-30 minutes a day. I provide tools and resources to help them establish a practice routine. More advanced students will practice more while less motivated students will practice less.
7. Do they offer a free first trial lesson or require an audition for the studio?
In my studio I offer a free first trial lesson to get to know the student before officially starting. Other studios have a waiting list and require an audition before putting the student on the calendar. Audition level studios can be more competitive. They can also be a sign of a well- established teacher who may have lots of resources and lots of loyal students. If the student likes the teacher there is no harm in auditioning, even for beginners! Just know there is nothing wrong with a lesser known teacher if they are qualified and a good fit… they are just lesser-known!
8. What do students need to bring to lessons?
A good teacher will ask for students to bring writing utensil, binder, sheet music they have worked on or want to work on, list of goals for lessons, and a recording device to record lessons.
9. Where do lessons take place?
Ask the teacher to describe the teaching environment. Consider how easily distracted the student is and if the environment is a good fit. For me I have two toddlers at home while I teach. Yes I do have a babysitter but they (and their noises/distraction/occasional toys) could potentially interrupt. I know this and make sure my rates reflect it. Most importantly, I make sure that parents are informed before students take a first lesson!
10. What is their teaching philosophy?
Are they strict or loose, traditional or contemporary, etc?
Can they tailor lessons to each student’s needs?
Do they follow a particular curriculum?
Do they adhere to a specific teaching method?
Before you Call
Consider the first phone call with the teacher a first indication of how lessons will go. Personality and first impression go a long way in choosing a teacher. In this initial call parents should gather information about the teacher, their experience, teaching philosophy and curriculum as well as studio logistics. Beforehand, be sure to look at the teacher’s website to see (hopefully) their bio, rates and teaching philosophy. If a website is not available, this information will need to be gathered during the call. Likewise, a website is a good indicator of whether the teacher offers conveniences you value like online payment or scheduling options.
Things to look out for!
Specifically with voice teachers there are some things to look out for. I believe it is wise to make sure the voice teacher has had some form of training themselves, and at the very least a long performance based bio. Try to look for a good combination of teaching and performance experience as well as a personality that compliments the student’s own. Lessons should be focus on technique not just learning songs. For this reason be sure the teacher is a singer!
Lastly, there are some things you can assume with all lessons. You should expect that students will be required to purchase their own sheet music and that this will be an additional cost to the price of lessons. Parents can always ask how much music the teacher recommends purchasing but should plan to buy some music.
Don’t be afraid to shop around!
As I said before, as parents we want the best for our students! We wouldn’t interview just one babysitter or just one tutor, why a music teacher. And don’t worry, teachers understand and respect this. While a good teacher wants to win your business, they also know that they can’t be the perfect fit for every student.
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