Patterson Performing Arts

Patterson Performing Arts

Best of 2023
1 hire on
4 employees

About this pro

We equip students with the fundamental skills for confident,
expressive music-making, and unlock artistic potential in a supportive, performance-based environment.

We use an innovative format for voice and piano lessons that results in confident performers who learn music quickly. 

Students in our studio reach and even exceed their goals. Why? Because that's our passion! We love watching our students ignite their musical passion, push past obstacles, gain confidence, find their voice, flourish musically, and experience success. Whether an avocation or vocation, we believe music is worthy, and so are our students.

Heather McKenzie Patterson, founder of Patterson Performing Arts and Voice Instructor, has been teaching for 15 years and performing for twice as long. Her most recent singing credit was her classical soloist debut at Carnegie Hall in NYC. Heather will be returning to the Big Apple next summer for a cabaret performance at Feinstein's/54 Below -- "Broadway's living room."

Ms. Patterson's current and former students perform in venues across the country. They receive scholarships to undergraduate and graduate programs in some of the top conservatories and universities in the world, like Manhattan School of Music and Boston Conservatory at Berklee. They perform with historic and well-known equity theatres like St. Louis' beloved MUNY, along with dozens of community theatres. They sing jazz and produce their own solo cabaret show. They sing with opera companies, including Union Avenue Opera and Winter Opera St. Louis. They ace choir auditions and earn paid positions as principal singers and young artists with established choirs like the St. Louis Symphony Chorus and Bach Society of Saint Louis. They overcome performance anxiety. They sing solos in church (from memory!) and at school competitions - something they never thought they'd achieve. They surprise serenade their bride at their own wedding. They sing in All-State Choirs and earn gold/superior ratings at State Solo & Ensemble festivals. They place and win district and regional singing competitions. They sing the Star-Spangled Banner at ball games. They star in their middle and high school musical productions. They earn Best Actress in a university summer program and are nominated for Best Actress in St. Louis (twice, at just 14 and 15 years old!). They entertain local nursing home residents and vets. Some of them now teach music, too, which is a special point of pride. A number of them will join me to sing on the coveted stage at Feinstein's/54 Below next summer. Our students are poised performers who generously share their gifts and their own love of music.

No matter how modest or grand their goals may be, it's our joy to share in our students' journey and guide them toward that next step.

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St. Louis, MO 63119
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What is your typical process for working with a new student?

When meeting for an initial consultation, it's important to me to build a connection with the student right away - put them at ease, help them relax and feel comfortable singing in front of me. So, we chat about their musical experiences, I ask about their favorite musical styles and performers, and we discuss the student's goals. Why lessons, why now?

Then I teach the student several vocalises (warm-ups) to gauge how quickly the student is able to assimilate the music, how strong their ear for music is, how easily they can make changes when I ask them to, and their ability to stay focused. If the student has brought music, I ask them to sing something for me. I tweak a few things right off the bat so the student can see what I prioritize in my teaching.

I'm looking for a willingness to try new things, a readiness to keep going after a mistake, and an ability to keep up with a fast pace. I'm gauging which program will be a good fit for the student, as my studio offers a few different lesson style options.

Lastly, I talk about these options and explain what would be the best fit for the student if I decide they're a good fit for our studio.

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

I hold a Master of Music in Voice from Michigan State University and Bachelor's degrees in both voice and psychology from Furman University.

I have taught at the college level for 12 years at universities in Michigan, Illinois, and Missouri. 

I regularly attend workshops and conventions led by the National Association of Teachers of Singing to continue to hone my craft. As a lifelong learner, I love growing my teaching toolbox to reach students in creative, unique and differentiated ways.

As a singer, I have performed with opera companies across the Midwest. I've sung in an opera on the revered Carnegie Hall stage with the St. Louis Symphony which received critical acclaim, and recently made my soloist debut there. I've been the soprano soloist with a number of orchestras for works including Orff's Carmina Burana, Schubert's Mass in Ab, Vaughan Williams' Dona Nobis Pacem, and Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass.

This summer, I'll perform on a cabaret at "Broadway's living room" - Feinstein's/54 Below, a stage shared by Patti Lupone, Lea Salonga, Shoshana Bean, Jeremy Jordan, Laura Osnes, Ben Platt, and many other Broadway stars. 

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

Tuition is a monthly flat rate, and it includes all material, sheet music, recitals and other performance opportunities.

Payment is accepted via Autopay over our secure server. 

How did you get started teaching?

I come from a family of teachers and musicians, so it was probably inevitable. I've always loved teaching others. I brought my kindergartener brother to my fourth grade class for show and tell to prove that I had taught him multiplication and division. (It helped that my brother happens to be a math wiz!)

After graduating from college, I began teaching a few students "on the side," and I've never looked back. I love teaching just as much, or maybe even more, than my own performing. I find it very satisfying to help others achieve their dreams.

What types of students have you worked with?

My students range in age from 9 years old to retirees (I believe my most "experienced" student was 74 years old!). Some of my students are dancers. Some perform in musicals. They are choristers. They are college vocal performance and music education majors. Some are music educators already, continuing to hone their craft. Some are opera singers. Some are retirees, working on keeping their voice in shape as they age.

Describe a recent event you are fond of.

For our latest recital, I hired a talented music arranger to create medleys for my students to perform in small ensembles, intermingled with their solos. It was a fun, creative venture to work with the arranger on creating medleys that would highlight my particular students' vocal and performing strengths. I also had one of my talented high school seniors arrange a medley for the other seniors to perform together. The medleys were a hit with the audience, and the students loved performing them!

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

Be sure you can answer the question, "Why voice lessons? Why now?" I invest 100% in my students. I'm looking for students who are motivated, passionate, and excited to learn and grow. Their goals don't need to be grandiose. But I find it helpful if we're on the same page, working toward a common goal.