Voice & Musical Theatre
I teach Voice. Growing up in central Wisconsin, I sought out singing at a young age in choirs, community theatre, for church services, and special events. Besides hiking, camping with my family and dogs, and playing sports, music became one of my favourite things to do. I used to enjoy singing musical theatre most, but once I began taking voice lessons in undergraduate study, I fell in love with opera. I went to college in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and received my Bachelor’s Degree in Music- Voice from The University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire.
I’ve always had a passion for teaching, and initially began my undergraduate career as a dual, voice and instrumental education major. While that passion for teaching remains, and has been exercised in teaching private voice lessons for five years, I am currently pursuing my Master’s Degree in Vocal Performance from Temple University. In my time at UW- Eau Claire, I performed in three mainstage opera productions, and participated in four semesters of scene study in Opera Workshop, including work of W.A. Mozart, Englebert Humperdinck, Roger’s and Hammerstein and Leonard Bernstein, as well as performing as a soloist with the Chippewa Valley Symphony Orchestra. On campus, I sang in three ensembles and performed as a soloist with the UW-Eau Claire symphony orchestra’s performances of G.F. Handel’s, Messiah, and Antonio Vivaldi’s Gloria.
A unique opportunity I had while in Eau Claire was with the city’s evergrowing jazz community. My first two years on campus I took vocal jazz lessons, played tenor saxophone in one of the jazz ensembles, and sang with combos and big bands around the campus and community. Through my own trials and experiences performing, I enjoy teaching what I have learned from my own mistakes and successes. I look forward to working with new students here in Philadelphia and helping them achieve their goals.
When did you begin playing Instrument, and why?
When I was young, I remember listening to my mom sing all the time; in the car, around the house, and every morning in the bathroom getting ready for the day. The joy of hearing someone sing freely is so infectious, I eventually caught on and would sing all the time too. The first time I sang in public was when I was in 3rd grade, in a church choir with my mom and my aunt. Although a lot of the music we sang was Latin or Polish, and a little tricky, I had the best time and ended up singing there until I graduated highschool.
What other instruments do you play, and what is your experience with them?
I started playing clarinet in 6th grade and continued through my freshman year of college, before I switched to a voice major. In that time, I also taught myself to play saxophone, flute, trombone, french horn, drumset, and marimba. Can you tell I wanted to be a band director? As a hobby, I still keep up with, and am an active patron of percussion and saxophone music.
What are your personal goals as a musician?
My broad life goals tend to change frequently, but I’m always trying to be the most genuine student, teacher, and friend of life that I can be. I love performing as much as I do teaching, and am constantly building my “wish list” of new arias and operas that I would like to study and maybe someday have the opportunity to perform.
Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked? Something you’ll remember forever?
I have so many of these. Any singer that has dealt with stress or anxiety, has dealt with tension. For me, my jaw has been my biggest enemy throughout my musical journey. I think the most memorable “Aha moment” I had pertaining to jaw tension came the first time I really connected my breath to the phrase I was singing, my jaw was fluid to my vowels and not hung up on trying to control each word, and I felt my true resonance. I then understood how important breath is in order to create authentic sound.
What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?
My favorite piece of advice that my last studio teacher had given to us was, “You’ll never be Beyonce, let go of your jaw!”. The piece of advice that sticks with me through every performance however is, “It is what it’s going to be. You’ve done the work, now go have fun” It is very important to acknowledge and have pride in the work you have done on a particular piece, and that is the moment you have to stop being critical of yourself, and step out of the practice room and onto the stage.
What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument
There have been some moments in my journey as a student so far where there is so much that just isn’t going right in my singing and performing. My most challenging moment was in my Junior year of undergrad, during a summer young artist program in Italy. I was three years into my degree and I was vocally fatigued and frustrated. That summer I was told by multiple professors that I need to strengthen my basics (breath, posture, pure vowels, etc.), and taking that step back to return to those simple, yet essential elements of singing was the best thing I could have done at that moment. It has given me a reinforced set of tools that I can always go back to when something doesn’t feel right.
What is your biggest musical achievement?
To me, my biggest musical achievement was when I completed my opening night performance of Mozart’s, Don Giovann as Donna Anna. It was a long and hard rehearsal process, and to have finished the show having given it my all was the best feeling in the world.
Favorite thing about teaching?
My absolute favorite thing about teaching singers is watching them grow through their mistakes and having those moments where they realize that they have all the tools they need to sing beautifully inside of themselves.
What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?
A balance between motivation and patience is the most important thing to keep while you are learning and practicing.You’re going to make mistakes, but that isn’t a bad thing. As long as you find the motivation to continue to do the work and learn from those mistakes, you’re in a good spot.
Personal music projects:
In my freetime, I am trying to keep up with all of the new operas being composed, especially the ones that come through Philadelphia. Besides my graduate studies, I am not currently working on any musical projects in particular at the moment. I would love to post a performance video, but unfortunately they all have copyrights and are unavailable.