Theresa Koon Vocal Studio

Theresa Koon Vocal Studio

5.0 (4)
1 hire on
38 years in business

About this pro

What matters to me is that each of my students has a unique voice.  There is no template to which all voices are molded.  At the same time, there is a lot to discover about what the human voice is capable of, which is usually beyond a person's wildest imaginings.  The technique I teach is classically based, adaptable to most styles of music.  My experience is that singing is a central part of being human and it is worth doing for its own sake, though many of my students work towards professional goals in opera, music theater, jazz and other styles.  No person sounds like another.  Our mutual goal is for the voice to become free, supple and fully expressive.

My performance experience includes opera and music theater in Europe, Canada and the US, as well as jazz, cabaret and eclectic cross-over styles. 

Composition credits includes three operas and works for choir and solo voice.  PARMA Recordings will release my newest recording in the spring 2020.

I enjoy working as a team with each student, developing trust so that the inner depths of the voice can be explored together.  There is a generosity that develops in this teamwork, so that more is accomplished than either of us could do alone.  The careful technical work involves depth of focus.  The benefits are physical, emotional and spiritual.

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Portland, OR 97202
Email verified

4 Reviews


  • Bryan Hallberg

    I’ve had the privilege of attending Theresa Koon’s student recitals for the past 10 years. They’re incredible! It’s amazing to watch the progression of individual students as Theresa develops and opens their voices to soar and fill the auditorium with breathtaking interpretation, color, and depth. Many of her students first join her studio during high school to prepare for musical theater or choral productions. As Theresa brings out their talent, these students will often progress on to enroll in university voice programs. They have auditioned for and been accepted to Hartt, Emerson, and Indiana University, amongst others. They also compete and win in NATS and state level high school competitions. One was even named Oregon Jazz Singer of the Year. In addition to watching the progression of Theresa’s students, seeing the diversity of styles and abilities is also impressive. Students include members of high school music programs, Portland Community College students, the Portland Symphonic Choir, Staged!, Stumptown Stages, Opera in the Park, and numerous local bands including lead singers and even entire bands! Their genres include music theater, opera, folk, blue grass, jazz, and singer-songwriter. During any given recital the auditorium becomes filled with moving music theater pieces, glowing operatic arias, and lively music from her singer-songwriters and local bands. Both beginners and professionals alike are welcomed onto a stage where music and singing are the main event.

  • Christine Kahane

    Among Theresa's numerous gifts as a vocal coach is her astounding ability to leave judgement out of our coaching - I don't think she tries to do that, I don't think she can teach any other way. I've studied with her for close to 5 years now and am convinced that her highly developed intuition, which she marries flawlessly with her incredible technique allows her to teach me in a way that I can hear and understand best. I don't have to conform to her 'way' or 'style' but rather, she has stripped away everything in technique but what is useful to me and useful in a given moment or phase of my development. Her skill in articulating what is up for refinement comes from an unswerving devotion to uncovering my true and authentic voice. She is a miracle and a gift to me and I'll warrant, to all who wish to sing from that place of authentic grounding. I've experienced the glory of singing with a freedom that has lifted me to seek a quantum way of living - so I can continue to sing from that place! Theresa has been able to unlock with me, those places in my instrument that have been blocked and unavailable for integration. I wouldn't want to be on this journey with anyone else.

  • Ruth Metz

    Theresa Koon is an exceptional, gifted teacher. Several years ago, my impulse to sing led me to Theresa’s studio. I had no idea what a life-enriching journey het teaching would inspire. My voice had developed beyond anything I imagined. Singing and the practice associated with developing my voice gives me unparalleled joy. I am in awe of the focus, the concentration, and the presence that distinguish Theresa’s teaching. At the same time, she fosters a safe, humane, and trustworthy space for the development of the voice and the student. Every lesson yields progress because Theresa precisely isolated barriers and just as precisely prescribes remedies that she patiently works through with me. Theresa works with the student in developing the voice and her pleasure in that is clearly evident. It is fun, rewarding, and exhilarating to be a student of Theresa’s.

  • Sharon Fendrich

    Theresa is without question the most dedicated, knowledgeable, respectful, kind, encouraging, and capable instructor I’ve ever had. It's my honor to recommend her without reservation. I studied music at a prestigious university and am a working composer. So I have had my fair share of music professors. Theresa excels them all, without a doubt. She has the remarkable ability to be fully present in her time with a student. She so invests her entire self into my success that I loose all sense of time in my lesson. Every second is used so fully that each time I walk away feeling like I’ve just discovered new layers of my abilities. It’s profound how her complete engagement with me allows me to completely trust her and open my voice. Theresa’s knowledge of vocal repertoire is unmatched. She knows exactly the right pieces to match with her singers, from across genres. And it’s not about matching a piece to “your voice” it’s about matching it to “you”. She has a unique ability to listen to who you are, and to what your goals may be... and respond with the music that will move you directly forward on your path. So to me she’s also become a guardian and guide for my spirit. Her pedagogy is divinely inspired. She hears “you” in your unique voice and quickly identifies how to nurture “you” to fully embrace your voice. And she guides you at exactly the right pace, the one at which you are most comfortable, and that will best help you achieve the best you can be. Theresa also excels as a pianist / accompanist. She has a remarkable ability to play so well, all the while completely focused on your singing. Her ability at the keys certainly brings a greater musical depth and understanding to the lessons. I am grateful for Theresa in my life, every single day. On days I don’t sing, her wisdom is still with me. Her joy in watching me improve, in embracing my voice is infectious and inspiring. Anyone who is looking to start singing or continue at the highest level will be so grateful for their time with Theresa.


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

At the first lesson we talk about the student's prior training, experience and future goals.  I ask the student to sing something they already know well and love.  If they provide sheet music, I accompany on the piano.  This gives me a sense of how they sing in their comfort zone.  Then I introduce them to the vocal exercises I use.  They generally record this session and practice the new exercises at home.  At the second lesson, we review and refine the new exercises, then choose two songs together that fit the student's goals, abilities, and preferences.  Each lesson after that involves 20 minutes for exercises, and 20 minutes each for the two songs.  I record the accompaniments for the student to work with at home, and eventually we deepen the exploration of what each song is has to offer.  Elective Group Performance Classes are provided when the student feels ready, and two recital opportunities are available each year, along with audition prep, if appropriate.

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

Master of Music in Vocal Performance

Workshops in Music Theater Directing at the Wesley Balk Summer Institute

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

Students can pay by the lesson or at the beginning of the month for that month.  Cash or check.

How did you get started teaching?

I was working as a minstrel at the Oregon Shakespearean Festival in Ashland.  The actors there asked me to help with their singing.  I enjoyed teaching and have kept at it along with a professional performing and composing career.  

What types of students have you worked with?

Usually age 14-70, with some exceptions for younger students.  Beginners to professionals.

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

Schedule a single lesson to explore the rapport you have with a teacher.  If it feels comfortable and inspiring, schedule more!

Lessons offered

Speaking Voice Training Spoken Word Lessons Voice Acting Classes Choir Teachers Acting Classes Arrangement And Composition Lessons Audition Prep Lessons Broadway Singing Lessons Classical Voice Lessons Composition Lessons Country Singing Lessons Ear Training Lessons Gospel Singing Lessons Jazz Voice Classes Music Performance Lessons Musical Theater Classes Opera Voice Lessons Singing Lessons Songwriting Classes Vocal Training Lessons