Emily Tolnay – Voice, Piano Teacher

Emily Tolnay
Voice, Piano

Emily Tolnay


B.A Theatre, Temple University

Musical Theatre, Contemporary, Jazz, R&B

My name is Emily and I am a professional singer and actress in the Philadelphia area. I graduated from Temple University in 2018, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double concentration in Musical Theatre and Acting. After graduation, I lived in New York City and pursued a career in entertainment. I worked regionally at Theatre Raleigh in their world premier production of Around The World In 80 Days and was featured in a national commercial for the brand, Adore Me. I trained in improv and sketch comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade and was an intern at The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Saturday Night Live. I have loved singing ever since I was a little girl and find teaching to be deeply fulfilling and a ton of fun! This summer 2023, I’ll be training with New York Vocal Coaching to become Certified in Vocal Pedagogy. I love working with singers of all ages with all different levels of experience. I look forward to singing with you!

When did you begin singing, and why?

I began singing when I was 6 years old. I was in a community theatre production of Annie and fell in love with musical theater and performing! I started taking voice lessons when I was about 10, and have been a student of voice for the past 17 years.

What other instruments do you play, and what is your experience with them?

My main instrument is voice, but I love playing piano and guitar too. I learned how to play chords early on so that I could accompany myself singing my favorite pop songs. Piano is especially helpful for singers to know; it really comes in handy when learning new music.

What are your personal goals as a musician?

My personal goal is to spend my life singing. I hope to continue learning as much as I can and share everything I know with my students.

Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked?  Something you’ll remember forever?

I remember the first time a teacher asked me to use less air. I was confused because I always thought the goal was to take in and use as much air as possible. She explained that the vocal folds need to vibrate very thinly and sometimes with too much air, they can’t do that. It helped me better understand the balance between air and muscle in singing and that sometimes, less is more.

What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?

Louder does not mean better.

What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument

I think the most challenging part is the self discipline required to practice daily. You have to really make practicing part of your routine and make yourself do it, even when you don’t feel like it.

What is your biggest musical achievement?

I have my own Live Music Entertainment business! I sing for parties and events at various venues in the area and it has been extremely rewarding.

Favorite thing about teaching?

When something clicks for a student and I can see them gain confidence as a musician. That’s a great feeling and their excitement is infectious.

What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?

Try not to compare yourself to other musicians. Learn what you want to learn; there is no one right way to make music.

Personal music projects:

My business is called Emily Tolnay Live Music Entertainment. I perform a variety of genres at parties and events. Feel free to contact me if you are in need of some live music and I can send you a sample of my 1-hour show!


Philly Music Lessons specializes in connecting students of all ages and skill levels with great teachers in the Philadelphia and Main Line areas.