Keely Sibilia – Voice Lessons, Guitar, Piano

Keely Sibilia Voice
Voice, Piano, Guitar & Ukulele

Keely Sibilia

She/ Her/ Hers

B.M. in Jazz Vocal Performance

Rock, Pop, Classical & Musical Theater

I am a professional singer/songwriter originally from Los Angeles
currently residing in Philadelphia. I graduated from The University of
the Arts in 2012 with a Bachelor of Music degree in Jazz Vocal
Performance. I specialize in singing Jazz, Pop, Singer-Songwriter,
Classical, Rock, and Musical Theatre. I have over 20 years of vocal
experience, and 9 years of teaching private instruction in voice,
songwriting, guitar, piano, and ukulele. My private instruction ranges
from ages 4-adult. I also have experience teaching music in group
environments, using collaborative and creative approaches. I have
taught various music groups, ranging from baby music classes to band
instruction with teens. When I am not teaching, I am a full time
performer, gigging and writing music in various studios around the
city. I am in a band (Keely Sibilia) and we are an electro-pop trio. I
currently have 5 singles out everywhere, and preparing for the release
of our album coming out this year with all new material. I have had
the pleasure of performing in other bands and choirs at venues like
Carnegie Hall, The Sidney Opera House, Preservation Hall, The Kimmel
Center, and others throughout Los Angeles, such as House of Blues, The
Hotel Cafe, The Viper Room, Molly Malone’s and more. In 2015 I won a 3
month long vocal competition in Philadelphia, called Songbird: Search
for Philly’s Best Singer.
When teaching, my approach is to lean towards the student’s needs and
accomplish the goals that we are focused on. It is important that I
help each student reach their breakthrough moment as a musician, and
help them feel good about what they are accomplishing. I concentrate
on broadening the student’s mind, and am open to all forms of creating
art. I currently teach voice for all levels, and piano, guitar and
ukulele (beginner/intermediate levels) at PML.

When did you begin playing music, and why?:

I began singing at a very young age. I started actual vocal lessons
around 8 years old and piano lessons around the age of 10. I was
eventually introduced to guitar a couple years later by my dad, and
opened up to other instruments later on, which I taught myself.
Singing was always something that came first for me, and eventually I
became passionate about writing my own music. I have always had
something in me pushing me towards music. There has never been a time
in my life where I’ve stopped, because I have continuously developed
who I am through this passion. It has never been a question whether or
not it is something I want in my life. Music is what makes me happy,
fulfilled, and incredibly driven. Today I find myself very fortunate
to call myself a professional musician. When you find something you
are good at AND makes you happy, you run with it.

What are your personal goals as a musician?:

My goals as a musician range in categories from small goals to large
goals. The smaller goals often change, which I personally think is
healthy. I am constantly striving to collaborate with other musicians
and be involved in as many musical projects as I can handle. I try to
have a certain amount of gigs booked a couple months ahead of time,
and I make it a goal to practice everyday, even if that means for 15
minutes. I believe it is important to preserve the fundamental
techniques of music that I learned as a student, and use that as my
base to always come back to. My larger musical goals have to do with
where I am headed in this profession as a musician. I currently have 5
singles out, and preparing for the release of my new album this coming
year. I am constantly focused on promoting my art and music, just
trying to simply get my name out to society. My ultimate goal would be
to go on tour, traveling the world while playing music. Although this
thought can often be discouraged, it’s something that has never
wavered in my mind.

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

A musical concept that really always clicked for me and I will never forget, is the
phrase “emotion over technique”. Not to confuse this phrase with the
thought that technique does not mean anything, (because it means a
lot). However; In my experience with performing, I’ve realized that if
you put the right amount of work and proper technique in during
practice time, all that’s left to do is the performance, or “emotion”.
I feel it’s best to let go of the brain’s thoughts and just be. My
mind will be thinking a million different things, such as breath
support, lifting, dropping the jaw, and a million other technique
memorizations that we all go crazy over. When it’s all said and done,
I believe it is best to surrender to the emotion. Let yourself sit in
the music and let it take over you, however that may be. I have found
that if I do this, my technique and everything else that is musically
essential will naturally follow.

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

An instructor of mine in college gave me a particular piece of advice
that has really stuck with me throughout the years. She told me that
no matter how busy you are, always find time to warm-up and you will
never be out of shape. I think about this everyday. There are times
where I’ve found myself running around super busy, presenting vocal
examples for my students, or heading straight to rehearsal without a
proper warm-up. This has taught me more than ever, warming up is
essential, and there really is no excuse to skip it. Other times I’ll
find myself traveling or simply taking a break from everyday work
life. I have carried my teacher’s advice throughout these situations,
and have found the time to warm-up. I’m not perfect, but I have kept
this as a goal of mine and succeeded for the most part. I do my best
to take 10-15 minutes every day to do some type of warm-up, maybe sing
through a past aria, even if it is a third of the song! Whatever it
takes to wake up my voice and keep it in check, I will do it. Even
during the slow months with not many gigs, a little practice everyday
really does add up.

What was your most challenging moment learning music?:

My most challenging moment learning an instrument is probably when I
started to accompany myself on drums while singing at the same time.
In the past I incorporated a tom drum in my sets, and the rhythm
played combined with the syncopated and sometimes staccato rhythms
that I sang on top of it was often challenging. This combination
improved me as a musician immensely, for I was able to multitask
rhythms naturally, like every drummer is able to do. It improved me as
a vocalist, for I now often incorporate rhythmic accents in certain
phrases more often than I used to. Because of this challenge, I have
become more comfortable and definitely more knowledgable when it comes
to rhythm and everyday embellishments in the music that I perform.

What is your biggest musical achievement?:

One of my biggest musical achievements took place December 2015. I
ended up winning a 3 month long vocal competition held in
Philadelphia, called, “Songbird: Search for Philly’s Best Singer”.
Starting alongside 19 other contestants, we competed each week as one
singer was eliminated at a time. Each week there would be a different
theme; Such as Michael Jackson, 90’s R&B, group week, EDM, etc. I put
an immense amount of work into this competition and was continuously
expanding my creativity as an artist to top each previous week’s
performance. I’m glad that I forced myself to be put in such a
competitive environment, which is never easy to do. Standing there and
being judged is a big part of the music business, and although it was
difficult, I can say that I am much more confident and comfortable
today when it comes to people’s opinions of me as a musician. I stick
true to who I am as an artist, and it pays off.
My other biggest achievement was definitely recording my album this
past year. I am super excited to share with everyone an extremely
authentic side to my art. It feels awesome to know that I made music
that I didn’t hold back on, which I think is super tough to do!

Favorite thing about teaching?:

My favorite thing about teaching is the moment you see something
click within your student. I love the thought that I am the reason
that this person is improving in something that we share a common
passion for. Seeing someone improve is such an accomplishment for the
teacher, and definitely a gift in return. Giving something good is
always a good thing! Another highlight I recall from teaching is
constantly being able to review the fundamentals. I think as musicians
improve, we often become lost in the embellishments and stylizing and
we sometimes lose the basic technique that we first learned from day
one. Teaching helps me solidify the basics in my own memory. A
musician can improve to endless amounts, but I believe that
improvement is only possible when one carries the basic fundamentals
alongside them.

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

My advice to anyone learning music is to be patient with yourself
but also have high standards. I try not to be too hard on myself, but
I am disciplined. I take note of mistakes I made in past shows and I
make it a point to fix them in the next one. If I am doing a warm-up
or practicing a song, I will always repeat it until it is right. You
can’t just go through the motions when it comes to music. You have to
feel it and give 110%. If you do this, you will see positive results
in your instrument. Alongside of discipline comes patience, which is
also extremely important because music is something that requires so
much emotion. You must be kind to yourself and understand that you
most likely won’t be a rock star overnight. Take the time to reward
yourself and acknowledge the smaller accomplishments, because every
“baby step” is still a step in the right direction.

Personal music projects: i.e. bands, groups, shows, recording, etc:

I have five original songs out everywhere with my band, Keely Sibilia
(an electro-pop trio). We also have our album coming out this year.
It’s amazing to have the opportunity to collaborate with the musicians
in my band, and create a sound that we are all satisfied with. At this
point in my career, I am confident in the genre of music I create and
look forward to continuing the creative growth!

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