I know I am the ideal teacher for any type of music student because I have been on many sides of the fence. I started out as a young teen singing folk, Gospel, opera, and Broadway music winning awards (Most Improved Singer), contests (Delaware PIN Contest), and scholarships up until my senior year of college. I graduated from Heidelberg University with a Bachelors in Music specializing in Vocal Performance but was not ready to continue on to my Masters.
I had realized another love, teaching, during those four years in college and needed to explore it more. I was admitted into the Masters of Education program at The Ohio State University and acquired 32 credits and a 3.8 GPA. Afterwards that I continued to advance and diversify my vocal skills at the same time as my teaching skills through studying with a different teacher in my hometown. He perfected my Broadway, Jazz, Country, and Disney singing and gave me many opportunities to perform as a soloist at his church while I continued working as a Lead Preschool Teacher in the community.
When I moved to Tucson I decided my next focus was to understand the business side of the entertainment world so I worked in retail management and finance sectors, helped with a start-up independent business, took online accounting courses, and read any entrepreneurial and business book available. I transmuted all that knowledge into the courage to start my own performance/lesson company and started taking college level voice lessons again. I continued to perform locally at different events for a university such as swim meets and for weddings and funerals at churches and even at local and international comic conventions. All of those experiences led me to wanting to get my Masters and take my voice and business to the next level. That summer I auditioned for a university but they denied me based on my current skill and resume level.
Where that would deter most, it only gave me more motivation to work harder for my dreams. I worked as a substitute voice teacher at two different companies and taught a few students on my own while I took extra voice lessons along with Italian and acting classes. That summer I was accepted and performed in 3 different opera workshops with one in Mexico. I discovered an excellent voice teacher at one of the programs and he taught me all I needed to get into graduate school. I traveled to six different schools around the United States to audition, submitted 2 video auditions, and was accepted by 7 of the schools.
Last May I flew to Montreal to study and perform in Italian opera workshop and as of this April I have finished my first year of graduate school. Therefore, though I know am relatively new and do not have my full Masters in Vocal Performance yet. I am confident I am the ideal teacher for many students because I understand music from a multiple perspectives: personal, academic, pedagogic, business, social, historical, therapeutic, cultural, and international perspective.
I love helping others find their "voice" literally and figuratively. Singing to me is far more than the accolades and roles: it is a way of living. It teaches you how to express with every aspect of your heart, mind, body, and soul. I feel there is no other field or art that can uses all those things to the extent singing does. We breathe the air with our bodies and make sounds and words, we comprehend with our mind and sing other languages, we put passion and heart into our performances, we understand complex mathematical and scientific concepts listening to and analyzing music, we must connect with the ground deeply for proper support, and music can allow us to make a whole room weep or suddenly free us of a painful memory decades ago in our past. Music can heal broken hearts, lead countries into battle, bring a community together, released blocked memories and emotions, soothe a crying child, give dimension to one's existence, tell a story, speak unspoken messages, stop, reverse, drag, and acclerate time, liven up a party, unite a generation, instill pride, and just simply make a person smile. It is so powerful and life-altering and at the same time so gentle, kind, sentimental, and even whimisical. What I enjoy about music is everything because it is and stands for everything that I am and believe in everyday.
Katherine is talented, patient, knowledgeable and has been amazing working with my 9 year old!
Knowing who my client or student is, what their dreams are, and what drives them has always been my top priority regardless of the field I was working in. Therefore I would want to talk for the student for a little bit to get to know them and the length of that talk would be dependent on the lesson time length and age of the student. First I would discuss the payment policy and send a request for payment then I would get right into asking questions like, "Why do you want to learn about music?", "What is your favorite kind of music and why?", "Do you want to study music in college?", "What concepts are you struggling with in music theory?", "Do you have a keyboard?", and "What is your background in music?". If I had a lesson that was 30 minutes, I would only spend 5-10 minutes on introductions and jot down all the student’s answers.
Then I would ask if the student is familiar with the four basic voice types(soprano, alto, tenor, bass) and if they know their own voice type. I would explain to them that all singers are athletes and artists, therefore, we must warm-up our bodies and voices. The way to get the voice moving is through warm-ups and stretches. Then I would demonstrate for the student a few stretches myself and ask them to do it with me. Next we would do a few warm ups together first discussing the purpose and reason for each one. Last I would ask the student to find their favorite song online and to perform it with an accompaniment track on their computer. I would praise the student's bravery and natural skills and then go through the difficult parts together slowly. We would continue to work on those parts until the student felt secure and confident and move on the next difficult passage.
We would continue this meticulous work until each section felt solid and I would then have the student perform the entire piece once more with the changes we made earlier. Last I would ask them to describe the differences in feelings from the initial performance to the final performance. Asking questions like “,What did they feel in their body?,” “Can you recreate it?,” “Why did you think you initially had some concerns with certain sections?,” “How did you change between your two performances?,” “What do you think are your strengths?,” “Where is it easiest to sing?.” I would give the student suggestions on what songs to sing next and either email them the sheet music or provide a free website to download it from. Last I would ask them if they feel I am a good fit for their needs and if so we would schedule another lesson.
I have taken over 17 years of voice lessons from a variety of voice teachers and am currently specializing in operatic singing in graduate school. I took beginning piano lessons and passed my piano proficiency test in my undergraduate training. The first instrument I played was the flute and I played it from 4th grade to senior year of high school. I also began performing in musicals in middle school and continued to be involved in them until a year ago when I was training for graduate school auditions. I have taken a variety of acting classes from ones at a prestigious Eastman summer workshop to an series of comedic classes in downtown Arizona.
I did well in all my undergraduate courses: ear training, music theory, music history, vocal pedagogy, French, German, Italian singing diction, sight-singing, conducting, movement, choreography, opera and musical theatre, University and Symphonic Choir, and performing in regular Master classes. I have been singing as a soloist at variety of churches with radically different denominations and programmatic styles for off and on 20 years. I learned French in middle school and acquired Italian, German, and Spanish speaking, writing, and reading in particular reference to Classical music in college. I have been exposed to or performed as a soloist or a group almost every type of music in almost every musical period.
College, my voice training, and graduate school have trained me to understand a large amount of musical styles and have only increased my versatility as an artist, performer, and student over the years. . I have greatly advanced in my performance and staging with the last two years I took ballet and gymnastics until middle school and later of took 3 years of private dance lessons focusing on ballet, basic Jazz, modern, and stage movement. Through the four different summer opera workshops I have completed I have solid relationships with numerous talented teachers, coaches, pianists, singers, dancers, professors, directors, and conductors from around a large part of the world. If I am not able to help a student immediately, I can refer to my superior musical colleagues.
I do have a standard pricing system to an extent. I am still a relatively new teacher and a student myself. It would be wrong to overcharge anyone and I aware of the status of the world right now. It is more important to me my students have access to music and culture versus me making a lot of money. Therefore, I think $25 for a half hour lesson in any of the fields I teach is very fair. $50 for an hour. However, if families have multiple children or going through a difficult time, I would consider $20 for a half hour and $40 for a full hour. I just ask my students or parents of students let me know immediately if something does come up. I am a very understanding, compassionate, and fair person.
I began teaching in elementary school often being the group leader and assisting my peers with difficult concepts. When I was in 4th grade, I was part of a program to help first graders learn how to read. When I got too old for Brownies, I helped teach crafts, business skills(cookie sales), and social skills to the younger girl scouts. At 13 I became the neighborhood babysitter and loved teaching all the children about nature and how to respect one another better. My first paid job was as swim instructor and I did that from age 16 to 22 years old and after that I worked as a Preschool Teacher at a local daycare for 5 years. I received 32 Masters credits in education and nannied for a couple years. Education and teaching has never left me my whole life and I consider myself a forever student. Teaching and helping someone else grow are the most rewarding things on this planet!
I have worked with all types, ages, ethnicities, levels, and cultural backgrounds. As a swim teacher, I worked with babies up to adults. While in college, I taught a high schooler for my vocal pedagogy class. In my Preschool position, I worked with infants up to eleven year olds depending on the day and a child with autism and another with Asperger's. When I was mentoring for my Masters credits, I taught and assisted first graders with multiple disabilties and at an early education program for hard of hearing and Deaf children.When I joined as a substitute voice teacher at two companies in Arizona, I worked with a five year old to a fourteen year old, a couple of adults in the 30s, and an elderly student, who just wanted to take lessons for fun. Therefore, I can adjust my curriculum and lessons to whatever is best for each individual in my studio.
The event I am most proud of is passing my graduate recital preview this Spring. My voice teacher and I had been working very hard toward this goal since the first time I sang for her, but I knew realistically where I stood against others in the program. It had been 12 years since I had that many classes and physical demands placed on my body and my voice. I was nervous I would not make it through my first year because I had so much academic catching up and reviewing to do too. Yet, I told myself I am just going to work as hard as I can and never stop trying and that is exactly what I did.
I took extra voice lessons every week, constantly asked for my teachers’ advice, researched topics on my own, received tutoring, spent countless days and nights reciting my foreign words over and over until they were innate, worked extra hours with my pianist, practiced in front of a mirror numerous hours, spent extra time studying, cancelled fun dates with my friends, tediously went over different rhythmic sections, studied and listened to my body, and used every performing opportunity as a tool to measure my progress as an artist, performer, and singer. Before I knew it, it was the day of my pre-recital and I did so well! My teacher, another professor, and my pianist were thrilled by how much I have progressed as a singer and a performer. They all said in one year I have gone up two levels musically all around; it because of their encouragement and support from that day I am ready to teach others how to have that same success!
My first bit of advice for finding the right teacher is find one whose personality meshes with you very well. Music is very personal art and can leave us feeling very vulnerable, therefore, it is important to find a teacher you trust 300 percent. I have found my best lessons have come from teachers I can talk about anything with.
Also it is important to understand how a teacher's background lines up with your personal goals as a student. If you are looking to get the lead in your high school musical, get into a college voice program, perform a Disney song for an event, or say even become a soloist at your church, I know I can help you. However, if you want to be the next country star or specialize in scatting and move to New York, I would not be the best match for you. Though I have some experience in both those types of singing, it is not that high of a level. If you still chose to work with me, you would need to understand we would be students together in that learning journey. I am open to learning whatever I have to though to ensure my students’ successes. A student should also consider their teacher's actual location because in-person lessons I feel are even more beneficial. It is something to consider when life goes back to normal in the world.
I suppose the last thing is finding out if your future teacher and yourself have similar learning and comprehension styles. One teacher is not right for every student and that is no fault of either. Teachers are humans too and we are all built differently. I have met wonderful teachers that have radically changed my colleagues singing lives for the better but I grasped very little from our lessons. Then I have met teachers who friends have discouraged me from ever meeting and we instantly clicked and I learned a ton from them. My suggestion is really take your time finding the best-fitted teacher for you, especially if you want to make music your career.
I think the student needs to spend some time thinking back on times when they did well on a project or in a class. They need to ask themselves questions such as “Why was that?,” “What was the teacher doing at that time?,” “How were they teaching the class?,” “Do you learn best from visuals, audios, texts, physical movement, graphs, etc.?,” “What subjects do you naturally excel in?” “Is music/art natural to you?,” “Do you come from a musical family?,” “Are you trained to play the piano?,” “How can a teacher help you learn and retain information best?,” “What memorization devices have you used before?.”
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