Katherine Bell – Voice Teacher, Piano Teacher

Voice and Piano Instructor
Masters in Vocal Performance/Pedagogy; Peabody Conservatory
B.M. in Vocal Performance; Temple University
Opera, Musical Theatre, Jazz, Pop
Piano Accompaniment and Theory

Piano and Voice TeacherMusic is truly my passion. I have been singing and playing piano for over ten years. I have performed a variety of operatic roles including Despina in Mozart’s Così fan tutte with the Charleston Symphony Orchestra, Adina in Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore, Susanna in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, and Maren, the title role, in the world premiere production of Maren of Vardø: Satan’s Bride by Jeff Myers. Along with singing operatic roles, I have toured Italy as the soprano soloist in Vivaldi’s Gloria, cantored at many churches, performed at religious services, sang jazz standards with big bands, and performed cabaret and musical theater performances. Music and performing are truly a part of me and nothing brings me more joy than inspiring the same creativity and passion for music in my students! I teach all genres and styles of singing. My teaching focuses on developing proper and sound foundational technique so that the singer can perform all different styles of music without fear of damaging their voices. I have worked with students of all ages and experience levels, it is never too early to hone creative talents and to discover a passion for music and performing! I help all of my students to better understand their own instruments so that they can find their unique creative voices and make music that is all their own!

I received my Masters of Music degree in Vocal Performance with a concentration in Voice Pedagogy from Peabody Conservatory and my Bachelor of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Temple University. I have extensive experience teaching voice at multiple different studios. As a private voice instructor, I understand that the needs of each of my students will be different depending on their individual strengths, learning styles, and levels of experience when they begin lessons. During my lessons, I strive to learn as much about each individual’s strengths, weaknesses, and musical goals as possible in order to best serve them through my instruction.  My teaching is strongly based in physicality and technical aspects of singing. An aspect of my teaching is being sure that the student themselves understand what is happening in their voice when singing, with the end goal that each student will be able to use their understanding of their technique and voice to determine what needs to be improve upon. Singers who appreciate all forms of music, are committed to excellence, and are willing to work hard and be open to new experiences will thrive in my voice studio!

Video from a recent performance:
Ne poi krasavitsa pri mne, Tchaikovsky

When did you begin playing piano and singing, and why?:
I was raised with my family taking my sisters and I to church every Sunday where I saw a cantor singing during the mass. When I was very young, probably about nine years old, I told my mom I wanted to sing just like the cantor, and thus my love for music was born! I began singing in the church’s children’s choir and then cantoring on my own during services. Shortly after, I began taking piano lessons so that I could teach myself new music and practice on my own, and this eventually lead to taking voice lessons which I began in high school.

What are your personal goals as a musician?:
On a small scale, every time I sing or practice I aim to learn a little bit more about my voice and improve upon one aspect of my singing or performing even if it is something very small! On a larger scale, I hope to continue to perform both operatic roles as well as other genres of music, and continue to inspire a love for music in the students I teach.

Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked?  Something you’ll remember forever?:
I am a very hard worker and am always pushing myself to do the very best I can. Before my degree recital at Temple University, a very important performance for me, I was told by one of my coaches that I had put in the time and worked my hardest, and now was the time to begin making music and enjoying the process. I listened to her and began relaxing and truly singing the music the way the composer intended. Not only did my singing technique improve, but I was able to deeply enjoy my experience performing! Now before a big performance either singing or paying the piano, I always remember what my wise coach told me, and enjoy the process of making music.

What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?:
My teacher during my time at Peabody Conservatory was a wonderful teacher who really understood the voice. He taught me that our voice is part of our body and because of that, it will change depending on how we feel each day. Through his guidance, I learned that if I take good care of my body, my voice will be healthy as well! That advice applies to both voice and piano, if we feel good and take care of ourselves, we will be able to make better music than if we are not taking good care of our instruments.

What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument?:
The most challenging time in my musical development was my transition from undergraduate to graduate studies. My graduate school teacher really challenged me and my technique, and approached singing differently than I had in the past. Studying with him was challenging, but it pushed me to the next level of development as a musician and singer so it was well worth it.

What is your biggest musical achievement?:
One of my musical achievements that I am most proud of was during the 2015 summer season when I performed two operatic leading lady roles simultaneously with different opera companies! It was a huge undertaking as I learned both roles at the same time with overlapping rehearsals and performances. Through a lot of diligent hard work, I was able to learn both roles on my own, sing them both without ever overworking my voice, and make huge improvements on my technique during the process!

Favorite thing about teaching?:
My absolute favorite thing about teaching is when a student of mine has been working really hard and has a breakthrough during one of our lessons! When they can play or sing something with ease that used to be difficult for them, the joy of the student seeing their real improvement is incomparable for me.

What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?:
Always remember that music is a lifelong journey. Whether you perform professionally or just for fun, once you’ve developed musical skills, they’re skills that will stick with you and bring you joy for the rest of your life!