Sing It Forward
My motto is "Professional, Practical, and Personal". I teach students of all ages, interests, sexes, and abilities; I also have a Masters Degree in Special Education, so I love to work with Special Needs students, as well. No two lessons are alike in content but EVERY lesson is customized to the specific needs of the individual student or students. I have Professional-level students, students who are just beginning to learn to sing or play, and many in between. I teach every aspect of singing, music theory, and beginning to intermediate piano playing. Because each individual is different and has distinct needs and desires, we will work together to create a plan start you down the best possible road to success. There are foundational principles for singing and playing that EVERYONE should know, but we may approach those techniques from several different perspectives to maximize results. I teach FOR my students; I never expect MY needs or goals to supercede theirs, though I will steadfastly work to provide students with the healthiest and strongest possible and positive techniques, habits, activities, and a measurable result. Please check out my website at www.SingitForward.net and my Blog Postings at http://cathyriso.blogspot.com/
Music truly is a UNIVERSAL "Language"; it speaks to EVERYONE! I LOVE helping students discover their gifts, their passions, and their dreams. I thrive on building my students up so they can then mentor others after them. There is no greater joy for me than watching a student who came in shy and withdrawn, grow before my eyes and ears into a confident performer, able, not only, to sing and/or play well, but also equipped well to communicate and succeed in their future endeavors. I LOVE what I do but more than that, I LOVE SHARING with others what I do!
Frequently asked questions
What is your typical process for working with a new student?
Each student is different, so I use the first lesson to gather as much information about the student, musically, and goal-wise as possible. For Voice Students, I provide readable resources on Breathing Techniques for Intermediate or Advanced students, and for Beginning Students, I teach the student 1 - 3 NEW Breathing Exercises to do for "Homework" between lessons. These are described and enumerated on a "Notes and Homework" form I provide. I also take an "Initial" Vocal Range, note weaknesses and strengths, as well as goals from and for the student. As we talk and sing, I ask questions to "Tweak" my information, and to determine better the best sstrategy to pursue for future lessons. Throughout the time, students and/or parents are encouraged to ask questions or text, email, or call me later with questions. Students who ask questions will tend to advance more quickly, and NO question or comment is considered "dumb".
For Piano Students, PRIOR to the first lesson, I will attempt to ascertain through communications the BEST Piano Book for the student or parents to purchase. I also recommend Music Flash Cards, and depending upon the student's level of previous knowledge, I may also suggest "Keyboard Note Stickers" to make learning the note names easier. At the first lesson, we talk about and practice Hand Strengthening Exercises and Playing Poster; we talk about the Layout of a Piano Keyboard and the Musical Alphabet; and we discuss how and when to practice to maximize learning potential. I give each student a folder to hold Theory Worsheets, Music Games, Sheet Music not contained with their Piano Book; and any other resources I think will be helpful. Students will also choose a "Popular" song they like and want to learn, such as a Disney song, a song by a pop star they enjoy, or a simpler Classical song. I find that a student tends to practice more if they are working on a song they really want to play.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
For DETAILED Education background, Training, and my Experience singing and playing piano, please check out my Resume on my Website at www.SingitForward.net
Generally speaking, I have a Minor in Music from Georgia State University, and a Masters in Special Education with emphasis on Early Childhood Education, as well. My experience, however, is quite broad and lengthy. I appeared on Broadway in the Musical "Annie" as Grace Farrell; toured the world with Julio Iglesias, Placido Domingo, and Charles Aznavour. I've recorded MANY different album projects, sung on films such as "Mulan" and "Jungle to Jungle", and I've taught Piano and Singing for many, many years as well.
Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.
I DO have standard pricing BUT I have so many different types of lessons, it's really impossible to say that a lesson is --- this much money. For detailed pricing and lesson length and type, please send me your email address, and I will gladly send you my New Student Email, which includes pretty much every question you might have about HOW I teach, WHAT I teach, HOW LONG, HOW OFTEN, and WHAT EACH LESSON COSTS. My email address is [email protected].
How did you get started teaching?
I started teaching "coaching" fellow performers, especially those who primarily danced but needed to sing in certain songs or productions numbers. Many thought they COULDN'T sing at all before they began studying but were soon surprised to hear that with a small time investment and a little, consistent practice, they had a new, powerful tool for their resume.
What types of students have you worked with?
The youngest students I've ever taught were 3 and 4. These were Piano students but often, I would incorporate songs they could also sing into their curriculum, as this gave the more incentive to listen and practice.
Describe a recent event you are fond of.
This summer, one of my students made it all the way to the FINALS on "The Voice Teens" in The Philippines. He was very nervous and intimidated to begin with, so that his voice shook, and he would "crack" on top notes. However, with practice and some concentrated work on building and establishing his Self Confidence, he became VERY successful. I was a VERY proud teacher!
What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?
Interview SEVERAL teachers, if at all possible. Try to find a person with, not only, great qualifications, but whose personality messes well with yours. I think I am a pretty likeable person but not everybody agrees. Personality is not AS important for a Piano teacher, I don't think but, at least, be certain that the teacher's Methodology is what you are most comfortable with. I am an encourager; I always LOOK FOR qualities to support and applaud. Some people may not WANT a teach like this because they may feel they need someone who is more of a disciplinarian. For teaching Voice, I feel singing is such a personal skill, tied very specifically to the student's emotions and self-image, it is PENULTILATE to find a teacher you can TRUST. You need to be comfortable making mistakes in front of your teacher, as you LEARN from your mistakes; you need to trust the teacher's TECHNIQUE and KNOWLEDGE; and you need to be able to BE HONEST, LAUGH, and maybe even CRY with your teacher. Therefore, I really recommend interviewing several until you find one that "Fits" your needs, your personality, and your goals.
What questions should students think through before talking to teachers about their needs?
They should consider HOW SERIOUS they are about wanting to learn. Are they WILLING to PRACTICE CONSISTENTLY? What are their "Personal" Music GOALS? How comfortable are they TALKING WITH ANOTHER PERSON ABOUT WHAT THEY WANT, WHAT THEY DREAM OF? Are there PRIORITIES each student should be aware of when learning their particular lesson subject? For example, if a student is a Cheer Leader, I feel it is almost like shooting yourself in the foot to want to be a singer, too. Unless you can learn to ALWAYS "Scream" CORRECTLY, you will do damage to your Vocal Mechanism when you scream, making it impossible to learn to sing CORRECTLY. It would also be important for you to ask a prospective teacher about THEIR priorities regarding the subject. What do THEY feel are the most important things to DO in order to sing or play well, AND what do they feel should be AVOIDED in order to sing or play well. As far as I'm concerned, NO question or comment is STUPID! EVERY TIME YOU ASK A QUESTION, YOU LEARN SOMETHING, SO ASK AS MANY AS YOU CAN THINK OF!!!!