Mary Beard Music Studio
Frequently asked questions
What is your typical process for working with a new student?
If a student has studied previously, then they sing or play for me and I evaluate what I see and hear. I ask them their goals and then tell them how I would proceed and what I see as their next steps. If they have not studied previously, then we begin with core basics and an overview of what is necessary to sing or play well, and off we go.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I have a BA in music performance from Stanford University, two years of vocal study in Stuttgart Germany, and years of lessons with well known teachers. For years I was the president of the Board for our local northern California branch of the National Association Teachers of Singing and currently still serve on the Board. I am the Voice Chair for the Certificate of Merit program of the local branch of the Music Teachers Association of California. I have performed in recitals focusing on art songs, local opera and operettas.
Do you have a standard pricing system for your lessons? If so, please share the details here.
My lessons are 45 minutes or 1 hour depending of the age and stage of the student. I offer partial scholarships when necessary for a hard working student.
How did you get started teaching?
I loved student teaching even back in college and it was the perfect way to supplement the family income when I had children at home, since I could be home and available for emergencies. My children were very respectful of the teaching going on in the living room and tended to their own practicing and homework in their own rooms.
What types of students have you worked with?
I work with students from 8-88 years old! Some voice students have gone on to study or perform music in and after college, performing in opera, oratorio and Musical Theater and recitals. Others continue to sing or play just for the joy of it. A current high school piano student has increased her abilities enought to accompany a local choir. Music continues to bring joy to their lives.
What advice would you give a student looking to hire a teacher in your area of expertise?
Speak on the phone or by email to find out if your goals and the skills of the teacher are a match. Research the teacher by looking at their website, recommendations, etc. Then schedule a trial lesson. Follow your heart. If you feel comfortable, supported and excited by what you do and hear at the lesson, then this is a teacher to study with. If not, keep looking. Especially with voice, since the instrument itself is developing as you study, you MUST trust the teacher to whom you commit.