Cathy Lawrence: Voice And Singing-Acting Training

Cathy Lawrence: Voice And Singing-Acting Training

5.0 (5)
Best of 2023
44 years in business

About this pro

Voice Training

My approach is based on forty years of experience as a singer and teacher of many different styles, from Broadway, opera, and pop to folk, contemporary, and rock. I have a Master's Degree in Voice and Opera from the Mannes College of Music/The New School. In addition to teaching classical technique for opera and recital singers, I teach (to give some examples) rock singers to preserve their vocal health, and classical singers to cross over to contemporary commercial styles. Opera singers find increased power, freedom, and expressiveness, and reduced effort. I work with singer-songwriters to find the  expressive power and individuality necessary for their success. My musical theater performers typically increase their range and control, and become freer and more confident in auditions.  An ordained cantor, I have worked with many cantors to optimize their technique and bimah presence.  Children as young as seven, teens, and adults into their eighties feel at home in my Upper West Side studio, where I place a very high premium on the discovery process that is so unique to each person.
My teaching has a strong base in knowledge of the vocal instrument and its function, and I am certified in Somatic Voicework (tm), the LoVetri Method, Level Three. My priority is to find what works for you, and to create the supportive atmosphere that will encourage you to grow. I will empower you to become your own voice and acting teacher, and we will have great fun in the process!
I also strive to find performing opportunities for the students in my studio. For example, many of them regularly sing in a showcase at Bar Thalia of Symphony Space, a well known performance venue located on Broadway and 95th Street in Manhattan.
Singing-Acting Training
I offer small group classes designed to empower the singer-actor to realize his/her inherent potential. Acting while singing is an enormously complex undertaking, and involves the ability to transcend the mentality of "getting it right" (which is firmly ingrained by years of diligent study!) and be able, literally, to play on stage. Audiences want to be moved by the performances they see, and this can happen when the performer is both skilled and free enough to be truly expressive. The class provides performers with a safe place to explore their craft and to benefit from the feedback of both classmates and teacher. You will receive valuable information about what you're already doing that's effective as well as in which ways you need to stretch, and a small group of classmates ready and willing to support you in that process.
We begin with a warm-up that exercises face, body, and voice and encourages a spirited, energized approach to discovery. An improvisatory element develops the crucial quality of spontaneity; we progress from group to brief solo exercises, and then to work with a pianist, centered around repertoire which generally ranges from musical theater to opera (but can include everything from spoken texts to jazz, pop, and rock.)
These classes are largely based on my extensive work with the late music theater director, Wesley Balk. His pioneer approach to the singing acting process is renowned and can be studied by way of his 3 published books- The Complete Singer-Actor, Performing Power, and The Radiant Performer. However, there is no substitute for personal experience and the ongoing physical exercise of this challenging and exciting process. I invite you to join in the adventure!

I am passionate about teaching on all levels, from the most challenged beginner who needs to learn the basics, to the polished professional who needs to stretch her boundaries. Nothing gives me more happiness than seeing my students attain ever greater levels of confidence, mastery, and love of music.

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New York, NY 10025
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5 Reviews


  • Jacob Carr

    Working with Cathy has been an encouraging and positive experience for me from the start. Not only does she understand the mechanics and function of the voice in a practical as well as theoretical way, she has a knack for simplifying the complexities of singing and making the whole experience freeing and enjoyable. She is kind, patient, and clearly always puts the best interests of her students first. Whether you are a seasoned professional or beginning performer you can feel confident in entrusting the improvement of your voice with her!

  • R Pizarro

    Cathy creates a warm, fun, and excellent environment as a teacher. I have seen her work with both beginners and advanced students, and she knows how to bring out the best in all of us. I feel lucky to have her as a teacher.

  • Marina Ouranitsas

    Cathy is an amazing teacher. My voice grew and got better in such a short time when we worked together. I developed a strong "mix" and a stronger head voice by learning opera. She also helped me with the acting portion of my performance, how to make it believable which was very helpful. I highly recommend her.

  • Harold Theurer

    My son took lessons in voice for two years with Cathy during high school. She was careful training a young male voice in transition. The result was a perfect score in his audition for the NYSSMA competition and selction for the All a state Chorus. He was also selected to participate in The Jimmy Awards in 2013.

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

I ask about previous experience, including with lessons, and  what the student hopes to achieve. If she is comfortable singing something, I'll listen to a song to get a sense of where she is vocally and musically. Then we'll do some scales, etc, to find out more about her voice. I'll say what I notice, and how I plan to procede. We'll then work on one or two technical issues- breathing, registration, resonance, body awareness/posture, and finally, we'll return to singing the song to show how the exercises apply, and to see if the singer feels any differences.

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

I have a Master's in Music from the Mannes College of Music, one of the leading conservatories in the country. I pursue ongoing studies in voice science and pedagogy, which has included Somatic Voice Work, the Lovetri Method (Level 3) and extensive singing-acting studies with the late H. Wesley Balk.

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

Private Lessons:

Half Hour- $70

45 Minutes- $100

Hour- $125

Singing-Acting Classes (groups of 3 - 8) $35/class

How did you get started teaching?

in my twenties when I was studying voice I was so excited about what I was learning that I started teaching my friend, who told a friend, who told a friend, and before long I was making my living teaching voice!

What types of students have you worked with?

Ages 6 to 85.

Professional opera singers, singer songwriters, pop singers, heavy metal rockers, musical theater professionals, cantors and rabbis, choral singers, nonsingers who want to learn, you name it!

Describe a recent event you are fond of.

Yesterday, I saw a terrific kids' production of Willy Wonka. One of my students played Varuca Salt, and I was proud of her, of course, but what really made my heart smile was the joy beaming from all those young performers as they discovered how much fun it could be to sing and dance together.

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

Be picky! The right teacher can make a wonderul difference in your life. The wrong one can set you back- vocally and emotionally. Find someone who makes sense on paper and/or over the phone, and then try a few lessons.

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

What are your goals as a student? Do you want to improve your vocal technique, become more individual as a singer, develop your expressive capacity, explore new repertoire, improve vocal health, acquire more confidence as a performer, gain experience? You'll want to share this with a prospective teacher to make sure that you're a good match.

You also might like to learn a bit about the teacher's background - education, performing experience, teaching experience, etc.

Lessons offered

Musical Theater Classes Singing Lessons Stage Performance Training Theater Acting Classes Voice Acting Classes