About myself and my background: I studied opera and classical voice for a few years at Stanford University in C.A., but transferred out to finish my undergraduate degree at Berklee College of Music in Boston when I decided to pursue more vocal jazz. After Berklee, I taught music at a Boston public school before moving to Madrid, Spain, where I taught privately and sang professionally for four years. I moved back to the US in summer of '05 (NYC) where I completed my masters in vocal jazz performance at Manhattan School of Music. I am also fully certified in all levels of master vocal pedagogue Jeannette LoVetri's Somatic Voicework™. The LoVetri Method is a functional, body-based method of vocal training that draws from many disciplines (voice science and medicine, yoga, speech training and various bodywork approaches), and whose techniques have been adapted by a number of my previous and most influential instructors. SVW™ applies specifically to CCM styles (Contemporary Commercial Music), and makes a distinction between the technical skills necessary to sing in an authentic and healthy way in any genre of music.There is no specific license required for someone to teach voice, so my training in Jeanie's methodology is one of the most valuable assets I believe I have as a teacher.
I've taught students of all ages and levels (from 5 to 65--kids to professionals), and a variety of styles (everything from broadway to opera to pop, rock, soul, blues, and vocal jazz, which is my specialty). In addition to my private studio work, I teach weekly group classes in jazz voice through the NYC Jazz Workshop School of Music, lead a vocal jazz group at Fordham University's Jazz at Lincoln Center program, am on the voice faculty of the Bloomingdale School of Music, and do private and group vocal coaching at the Dalton School. Recent accomplishments of my current private students include admission into the New School's Vocal Jazz program and Berklee College of Music, and acceptance into Talent Unlimited Highschool of the Arts. As a performer, I've sung in numerous classical and a cappella groups, pop, reggae and rock bands, and jazz ensembles of varying size, and have experience as a professional composer, lyricist, and vocal arranger. I currently play regularly with my own trio and quartet around NY, in Europe, South America and Asia.
I teach out of my home studio, where I have a nice keyboard, recording equipment, and plenty of repertoire on hand. I live in Brooklyn, on Winthrop Street in the Flatbush/Lefferts Gardens neighborhood (close to the Parkside Ave Q & B train, and walking distance from the Winthrop St. 2 & 5). My lessons usually incorporate some technique work (breathing, placement, warm-ups and exercises, ear training, etc.) in addition to repertoire, style and interpretation, phrasing and so forth. However, my classes are pretty varied and flexible, adapting to the needs and direction of each particular singer, so we could focus on whatever interests you the most at whatever level you are at. I suggest my students record all lessons (on a portable recorder or phone), in order to listen back to their progress and have something to reference and practice with at home.
If you'd like to hear some of my own work, you can listen to some recordings, video and cuts from my CDs on my website: www.jocelynmedina.com.
I know there are many voice teachers here in NYC to choose from--if you'd like to speak to any of my current or past students, I'd be happy to give you references, so you can hear what their experiences have been like with me. Feel free to contact me by email, phone or text.
Thanks, and I hope to hear from you soon!
My Teaching Philosophy:
Music is an intrinsic part of our physiological makeup, from the rhythm of our breath to the melody naturally produced from our vocal folds, expressed in some form or another in every culture, regardless of class, creed, customs or environment. I believe the universality of music’s creation makes this artistic exchange important on a global scale, as a means of facilitating dialogue that transcends borders and promotes peace and understanding. Yet the driving factor for what makes teaching music so important to me begins on the local scale with my role in helping guide each student on his or her unique course of artistic development. In my work as a voice teacher, I view singing as a personal channel of art, health, and feeling— a therapeutic outlet to enhance self-esteem and express emotion. In my classes, I strive to help my students experience this creative encounter between their bodies and minds, develop their musicianship, guide them through technical challenges and find their individual voices.
Just as music is a dynamic, ever changing and evolving cultural force, my teaching strategies vary according to the demands of the subject matter and the specific needs of my students. Every musician has the potential to succeed, whether in personal goals, professional goals or both. Part of the “withitness” required of a teacher helping a class achieve those goals is the ability to change gears at any point during a class and switch to another method of instruction in order to reach a diverse spectrum of students with different backgrounds and styles of learning. If a student is not grasping a certain concept, it is my responsibility as a teacher to examine my angle and method of instruction in order to adjust and respond in the most compassionate and effective way possible. This is a common occurrence in my vocal studio, as each vocalist’s instrument is unique and each singer’s mind-body awareness quite personal. For example, during my work teaching individual and group voice at the True School of Music in Mumbai, India, a student of mine trained in classical Hindustani singing required a different tactic to access head register than methods I find work with most of my Western and contemporary vocal students. In the same class I assigned contrasting exercises and practice routines to a group of singers striving to sing the same passage with the same sound. I try to establish the classroom as a safe and comfortable space of non-judgement in which questions are encouraged, risks are taken, vulnerability is welcome, and experimentation is essential.
Building solid technique for healthy, free vocal function is a key element in my classes, regardless of musical genre, with the ultimate goal of enabling each singer to convey the most emotional and sincere message possible with his or her instrument, while having a great time in the process. We are all improvisers, both as students and instructors, so I support my students in their efforts to try new things, perhaps make mistakes and then learn from those mistakes, just as I myself do as both an educator and as an artist. I encourage my students to share their insights with me and among themselves, and learn a great deal from them, both from past musical experiences they bring into the classroom as well as their new, creative ideas and approaches to music making.
In my own academic, artistic and spiritual education, I am fortunate to have had a variety of effective and passionate mentors who inspired me to pursue my dreams while also providing concrete methods to make those dreams a reality. I challenge my students with high expectations while providing them with as much clear, organized information and practical structure as possible. Daily practice logs, regular listening and analytical assignments and visual ear training aids are examples of work I assign to my students that serve as immediate and long-term learning tools to measure their own progress and development. My objective, therefore, is to develop self-motivated learners, curious, eager and able to search independently for solutions to problems, and self-confident that they can achieve any goal. In this respect, I believe my role is to guide each student to a place where he or she taps into a personal reservoir of potential to develop an individual artistic voice. In the words of Greek writer and philosopher Niks Kanzantzakis, "True teachers are those who use themselves as bridges over which they invite their students to cross; then, having facilitated their crossing, joyfully collapse, encouraging them to create their own."
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