Emily Bender, Voice Teacher And Soprano

Emily Bender, Voice Teacher And Soprano

1 hire on Lessons.com
1 employee
11 years in business

About this pro

My passion is bringing the joy of music and the skills needed for success to people of all ages. As a Kodaly-trained teacher, I use intuitive and fun tools to teach a high level of musicianship to my students, no matter their level of experience.  

I am comfortable working in multiple musical styles, including pop, broadway, classical and world.  I have worked with people from ages 8 to 80, and I meet each student where they are.

Lessons with me include vocal warms up, working on breath and vocal technique, round and/or part singing and musicianship, in addition to, of course, choosing and working on repertoire.

Born into a choral family, I was attending choir rehearsals as soon as they would let me. I sang in school and church choirs growing up, and sang my first church solo at age 3. At age 10, I started performing in musicals, and continued that throughout high school and college.  

For the past 25 years, I have sung and soloed with numerous groups, including: Tanglewood Festival Chorus and Coro Allegro in Boston; San Francisco Bach Choir, Pacific Mozart Ensemble, and Goat Hall Productions. As a member of the Grammy-nominated Pacific Mozart Ensemble I performed in Carnegie Hall, singing with the ensemble and soloing as part of the celebration of 40 years of Meredith Monk’s music.  

In addition to Solstice’s recordings, you can hear me on AXIOS, a recording of greek hymns. I hold a BA in French from Oberlin, an MA in Interdisciplinary Art from San Francisco State and a Certificate in Kodály Music Education from Holy Names University.

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San Carlos, CA 94070
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What is your typical process for working with a new student?

Every student, no matter what age, brings his or her own goals, dreams, talents, skills and experiences to the first lesson.  My job is to listen and find out where you are, where you would like to go, and work with you to determine the best ways to get there. I suggest that new students start with a 30-60 minute lesson to see if it is a good match. I ask questions about what kind of repertoire they you are interested in singing, your current level of musicianship training, and any specific goals you may be working toward (auditions, performances, etc.).  I then assess your knowlege of what I consider to be the 3 fundamental skills of singing:  breath, open thoat and relaxed jaw.  Finally, we will choose some repertoire to work on.  

What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?

I have studied voice with various teachers for the past 28 years, including Richard Anderson at Oberlin College, Carol Haber in Boston, as well as Kristin Womack and Ann Moss here in the Bay Area.

In addition to being a professional singer in both solo and choral contexts, I am a Kodály-trained music teacher, having studied the Kodály concept of music education at Holy Names University. I recieved my certificate in 2015, after 4 summers of intensive study.  I know how to make learning music and musicianship fun, easy and intuitive for people of all ages.  

Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.

I charge $80 per hour, $60 per 45 minutes, $40 for 30 minutes for my private lessons.  I also teach some music schools that handle their own pricing, but it is roughly the same.  I ask students to pay monthly, with some possibilities for make up lessons.

How did you get started teaching?

I started teaching voice lessons in 2011, when I finally decided to make music my career as well as my passion. Singing brings me immense joy, and I wanted to share it with others. I began in Marin County, where I lived at the time, teaching at the St.  John's church in Ross, supporting the children in the children's choir.  Soon after, I started teaching at the Marin Community Music School in San Anselmo.  Since moving my studio to San Carlos is 2015, my schedule has filled quickly, and I have had to add new times to accomodate more people.

What types of students have you worked with?

I have worked with students from ages 8-80, who come with many different levels of skill and agendas for learning.  I work with a number of young people and adults who are passionate about musical theater or popular music.  My adult students include professional singer-songwriters, classical singers, lovers of musicals, and even people who have wanted to sing their whole lives and only find time in retirement.

Describe a recent event you are fond of.

Saturdays are my busiest teaching day, and I love them because of the wonderful variety of talented and interesting people with whom I am privileged to work.  In the course of my day, I encounter people who are learning to match pitch for the first time, youth who are passionate about musicals and can bring me to tears with their singing, and adults who are pursuing a long held dream.  I always leave smiling.

What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?

Find a teacher who listens to you, puts your needs first, and keeps working on a skill with you until you understand it and can do it.  Singing is a very physical experience, but describing it can be hard. I have always found that I learn the most from teachers who are able to describe skills in different ways until I truly understand.  I have learned different things from every one of my teachers.  What the best one have had in common is a commitment to good listening and communication. 

What questions should students think through before talking to teachers about their needs?

What are your goals?  Do you want to sing only in lessons or just for fun?  Are you interested in regular performances?  What kind?  How can the teacher support you in getting where you would like to go?