Voice & Piano
I am a jazz vocalist, currently based in Philadelphia. In the winter of 2019 I graduated from Temple University with a B.M. in Jazz Performance, and I am back at Temple this year working on my Masters. During both my undergrad and graduate studies, I have had the opportunity to act as a director’s assistant for Temple’s jazz choir by leading sectionals and rehearsals and assisting our director in a variety of ways.
I was born and raised in Waukesha, WI, growing up in a very musical family. My mom was my high school choir and music theory teacher, my grandma was my piano teacher, and my dad sometimes plays guitar with me on gigs. Before I started singing jazz, I was a classical voice and musical theatre student. Having that background made it clear to me that to sing any genre requires a solid technical foundation. I believe that having good breath support, vocal technique, and listening skills are crucial in the development of a young or beginning singer.
When did you begin playing piano, and why?
I began playing piano when I was 5, and I was taught by my grandma as a kind of rite of passage.
When did you begin singing, and why?
I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember. Both of my parents are singers, so it was inevitable that I would be to some degree as well.
What other instruments do you play, and what is your experience with them?
Voice and piano are my only instruments, unless you count the year or two I spent with a clarinet in middle school.
What are your personal goals as a musician?
My two main goals right now are to 1) finish arranging music for my first album and then record and release it, and 2) continue improving my jazz piano skills to accompany myself on gigs.
Do you have a memory of a time when a musical concept or technique really clicked? Something you’ll remember forever?
I took a few lessons this past summer with Darden Purcell and during one of these lessons she introduced me to the concept of “ornamentation v. alteration.” Particularly in jazz standards, it is common to change the way the melody is sung the last time through. She encouraged me to actually alter the shape of the melody instead of simply adding notes to the existing melody. This idea opened up a door to the many ways I could make a song my own.
What is your favorite piece of advice from one of your past (or current) teachers?
It’s important to listen to and imitate other singers to find different colors and qualities within your voice, but at the end of the day your voice is your own, not anybody else’s.
What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument?
A few years ago when I was recovering from a major surgery, it took several months to feel like I had something resembling my voice back. Then it took several more months to have full control over my voice and my breath support. It was incredibly frustrating to not know what my voice would do or sound like day to day, but each improvement I made along the way felt so good and having a solid technical foundation likely made it easier for my voice to rehabilitate.
What is your biggest musical achievement?
Last year I had the opportunity to arrange and conduct a song for the jazz choir at Temple University. It was exciting to hear my arrangement come to life in rehearsals and performance, and conducting in front of an audience was just the right amount out of my comfort zone. More recently, I was thrilled to be able to accompany my own voice lessons and see all the work I’ve put in at the piano pay off.
Favorite thing about teaching?
I love working with students because it’s fun to help them find what they’re excited about and to watch their musicianship grow.
What is a piece of advice you would like to share with anyone learning music?
Spend time with music everyday you can, whether you practice or listen to an album or read about a favorite artist. However, it’s also important to stop and do something non-musical when and if you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed or burned out. It happens to everyone, and taking a step away can help immensely.