Sing IT Forte

Sing IT Forte

Michelle Kei Ishuu

Mount Prospect, IL


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1 employees

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Michelle Kei I., a soprano of Japanese and American heritage, "uses her strong dramatic soprano to slice through the orchestra" in a varied repertoire that encompasses Verismo to Broadway. Possessing a captivating stage presence and praised as "superb," "gifted," and a "constant breakaway from the rest of the vocal pack," she has entertained audiences on stages around the world. Those are the first two sentences of my professional biography. I thought I'd use them to get the ball rolling.

Ever since I can remember, I've always been a performer. I come from a very musical family. I was always singing! I sang at home, in church, in show-choir and musicals at school - basically anywhere I could find an audience! When I decided to go to college to study music, I chose the prestigious School of Music at Indiana University. I wanted to sing Broadway, but my father encouraged me to study classical singing first, so I'd have the foundation for a bulletproof technique that could endure a long and demanding career.

I'm so glad that he did! Who would have thought that I would learn to LOVE opera?!? It had everything that Broadway did, and so much more! Plus, I learned to fill a theater with the sound of my voice and soar over the orchestra WITHOUT A MICROPHONE!!!

Would you like to learn how to do that? I can show you how. Let me help you find your REAL VOICE!!!

What you can expect from me:

- I will provide a supportive and effective work environment. - I will make recommendations on repertoire based upon your goals.- I will provide you with an individualized regimen of study based upon your strengths and development, not a standardized format of study.

What I expect from you:

- Learn the musical selections we choose. Your lesson time should be used for improving your technique, not learning your music. - Leave your outside life at the door. It will be waiting for you when you leave. - Enjoy the process. Experiment. If it doesn't work, try something else. Take constructive criticism as an opportunity for improvement, not as a personal attack. - Commit yourself fully! Be engaged. The benefit you receive is equal to the work you put into the process.

Education: Master of Music Indiana University; Jacobs School of Music, Study Abroad: Vienna, Austria: Institute for the International Education of Students, Bachelor of Music Indiana University; Jacobs School of Music


Singing, Musical Theater, Opera Voice, Music Performance, Vocal Training, Voice, Classical Voice, Broadway Singing, Audition Prep


Mount Prospect, IL 60056

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  • Rich Bucchi

    It's only been two lessons, but I'm very happy with Michelle and Robert.

  • Maureen

    Michelle does a fantastic job at creatively teaching based on her students need and ensuring the lesson time is both productive and fun. My daughter singing talent grows each lesson and she has a lot of fun and looks forward to the lessons. Highly recommend Michelle!

  • Julie Boggess

    I have had 8 lessons with Michelle and/or husband Robert- and they are amazing! I am 53 years old and never took a voice lesson in my life, although I have been a singer since high school. I had a beautiful soprano voice back in the day, but it was never developed because I was a band kid. I needed to find teachers who could help me rehabilitate my voice. They are teaching me a whole different way of singing because I have been doing a lot wrong for many years. They are teaching an old dog new tricks. I am really pleased with my progress and they are so encouraging, supportive and fun! This is my therapy. I highly recommend both of them- and by the way, they are both magnificent vocalists.

  • Annu undefined

    I have just begun taking singing lessons with Michelle, and I have to say she is a wonderful teacher. Not only will she educate you on the importance of a classical method, the fundamentals of using your voice as an instrument, exploring your voice, and encouraging healthy technique, but also give you the confidence, and motivation to do so. I look forward to my lesson every week with Michelle, knowing that I will learn something new, explore the strength of my voice, and also be encouraged, and given guidance to reach my highest potential as a singer, and an actress.

  • Tiffany B.

    Michelle is very understanding and really works with you to find your voice! I noticed a difference in my voice in the first lesson alone. She provides constructive feedback and creates an environment that is supportive and lets you be yourself. Her positive attitude helped me to believe in myself. I greatly enjoyed lessons with Michelle! P.S. Her voice is amazing!!

  • Tina M.

    I started working with Michelle and Robert in mid-March. I clicked with them right away. Knowing that we only had about a month and a half before my audition date, we worked very diligently. They did a great job customizing my lessons to really prepare me for my audition. I had a couple of songs picked out and we began ironing out the details right away. Michelle and Robert knew exactly how to challenge me more and more each lesson. They quickly helped me to find my own unique and healthy sound that felt very comfortable. We not only focused on the music and the voice, but also stage presence, interview preparation, and acting out the pieces. I went into the audition feeling positively over-prepared. I was not only accepted into the program, but also offered a generous scholarship. Quickly after my audition we began working on new, more challenging pieces. I am very happy to have the opportunity to work with Michelle and Robert. I cannot thank them enough for all the hard work they put in for their students. I would definitely recommend studying with them for any serious vocalist looking to fine-tune their craft.

  • Jess M.

    “Michelle is wonderful, patient, and professional. My daughter (Sophia) 15 years old benefited greatly from the many techniques (classical and operatic) taught by Michelle. She always stress the importance of vocal health, even incorporating stretching, proper exercises, breathing, and proper vowel sounds. Not only did she prepare my daughter vocally but taught her facial structure, posture and how to add her acting and emotion into her singing while still having a great projection. I highly recommend you meet with her at least once and see the difference. I can’t wait to see her again.” (Parent) ~Jess M.

  • Monica C.

    “Michelle is Fantastic! I started taking lessons with her my sophomore year in high school and she really helped me find my voice and become more confident throughout my range. I wish I could have studied with her longer, but she gave me a great foundation to further my studies in both Classical and Broadway techniques.” (Soprano) ~Monica C.

  • Vicki undefined

    I am so excited about my voice lessons. I am a university trained classical singer with extensive operatic and art song experience who wanted to get back to singing after a long absence. I was looking for a teacher that could help me to navigate the changes in my voice due to the aging process and provide me with the tools to steady a vibrato that had gotten out of hand. Michelle and Robert are exactly what I needed. They have extensive and commanding knowledge of the voice and support mechanism and teach from the Italian “Bel Canto School” perspective. That is to say pure vowels, open throated but focused sound and a healthy, low laryngeal position. I am loving my voice again and it has only been 3 lessons. They are exceptional at finding the beauty in the individual voice and not requiring a “carbon copy” sound. One of the best things about my lessons is that they complement each other as teachers and find a number of ways to facilitate a natural and beautiful sound by articulating suggestions in many and varied ways. If the student is unable to reproduce the desired outcome by one method, they will find another way to achieve it. Not one minute of a lesson is wasted and each week brings quick and substantial progress. It has been a joy to work with them and I look forward to each lesson and the progress they bring. In short, I am thrilled.

  • Tina M.

    I've taken a few lessons with Michelle now and I am very happy with my experience! Michelle is great at customizing her lesson to her student. I actually tried a few different teachers in the area before finding Michelle and no one seemed to "get" what I was looking for. With Michelle I feel challenged at an appropriate pace and am able to focus on the important details. Michelle has lots to offer and even in just a short time has helped me to improve immensely! I am very excited to continue studying with Michelle.

  • Ashley D.

    “Michelle Kei is an Awesome Voice Teacher. I sing opera and was looking for a teacher to help me prepare for a college audition; within two weeks I have learned several techniques, including the importance of stretching, breathing and diction. I now sing with more confidence and can hit all the high notes without hurting my voice. I highly recommend Michelle Kei to anyone who wants an amazing voice teacher.” (Soprano) ~Ashley D.

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Q & A

What is your typical process for working with a new student?

There is no "typical" process. Every student is different - with a different voice, temperament and learning style, I develop a process for each student that walks into my studio. 

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

Master of Music; Indiana University, School of Music
Study Abroad; Vienna, Austria Institute for the International Education of Students
Bachelor of Music; Indiana University, School of Music

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

$70 per hour

$35 per 1/2 hour

How did you get started teaching?

A parent approached me after I sang a concert at a church, asking if I would teach their daughter to sing like me.  I met with the young girl, and she inspired me to teach her because of her talent, dedication, maturity and personality.

What types of students have you worked with?

I have students ranging in age from 10 to 67 years old, male and female, learning to improve their voices to sing different types of music.   

Describe a recent event you are fond of.

A Night out at the Opera: Cinema event.  We took our students to see a Metropolitan Opera performance at a local movie theater.

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

Look for a teacher that can help you define and reach your ultimate goals? Do they have a good singing technique themselves? Are they effective communicators? Look for a teacher with credentials and extensive professional experience.

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

What are your singing goals?

Will this teacher inspire me and propel me towards reaching my goals?