Liesl McPherrin's Voice Studio

Liesl McPherrin's Voice Studio

12 years in business

About this pro

Singing is for Every Body

Yes, Every Body! And Everybody! I firmly believe that singing is a mind-body experience similar to Yoga, Alexander Technique, and Dance. It requires focus, concentration, and high-level thinking. Unlike many sports, which often require the mind to be silenced, singing requires you to perform a physical task, while thinking about notes, words, and sometimes words in a foreign language! As a singer, you will also work to develop a character, and convey emotion during a song, musical, or opera!
My teaching method centers around three basic concepts: Voice Science, Mind-Body Experience, and Acting Methods.
Voice Science - the physiological phenomenon that we call singing. The adduction of vocal folds, the propulsion of the breath through the folds, and the formants created by your own physical shape of the head, throat, and mouth, which makes each person's sound unique.  Of course YOU don't have to understand all of that. Yet... ;) 
Mind-body experience - Finding the comfort in your own body to allow your own unique sound to come through. Using concepts from yoga and alexander technique, I try to offer each student different ways to find relaxation, focus, and allow them to enjoy the freedom of sound making. This has also shown to be very helpful in combating performance anxiety.
The Singing Actor - singing is more than just sounds and words. You need to convey the characters and the words printed on every page. I look at the music, the words, the context of the piece to help you find a character that can capture the audience's attention. I work through the theories and methods of Stanislavski, Uta Hagen, and Meisner.

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Pinole, CA 94564
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What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?

I earned my Bachelor of Music in classical vocal performance at San Francisco State University, and Master of Music in Vocal Pedagogy and Performance at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey. I perform with many different performing groups in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

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

Lesson prices range from $45 per half hour to $90 per hour, depending on location. I have a location available in Half Moon Bay, but will travel to students' homes in Berkeley, Danville, Dublin, San Ramon, Lafayette, and Walnut Creek. 

How did you get started teaching?

My love for teaching began in my first vocal pedagogy (the art of teaching) course at San Francisco State. After graduating from my Bachelor's program, I taught in a performing arts high school for one year before finding one of the most reputable schools in the country for learning vocal pedagogy: Westminster Choir College. There, I was able to study vocal biology and mechanics, vocal music history (both the history of teaching styles and vocal literature), art song in French and German, and participate in the school's opera productions. 

What types of students have you worked with?

My students range from beginning children to pre-professional students. I have helped my students prepare successful auditions for the San Jose Lyric Theater, Pied Piper Players, Sacramento Theater Company and more. I recommend a student needing audition prep enroll in at least two to three weeks of lessons before their audition date. 

Describe a recent event you are fond of.

Every year I direct and perform in an annual fundraiser at Coastside Lutheran Church in Half Moon Bay to raise money for a breakfast program that feeds 100 low-income people every week. My students have performed, alongside my professional singer friends and community chorus members!

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

Make sure you have a teacher with a background in singing and who has taken courses on anatomy or voice science. The voice is a very complicated instrument, and damaging it can be irreparable. 

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

Students should have an idea for why they would like lessons. It helps the teacher lay out goals either for the school year or for professional coaching for auditions and shows. 

Lessons offered