Kyle Rudolf – Voice Teacher

Kyle Rudolf
Voice & Musical Theatre

Kyle Rudolf

He/Him/His

Pursuing M.M Opera Perfomance, Oklahoma City University

B.M Voice Performance, Oklahoma City University

Opera, Classical, Musical Theatre

As a child I was ALWAYS singing, wherever and whenever. I was very lucky as a kid to have had a grandmother who fostered my love for the arts and took me to see plays, operas, ballets, and symphonies regularly. It was not until I went on a high school choir trip to Austria and Germany that I realized a career in singing was an option. It was right around this time that I rediscovered the magic of opera and I was hooked immediately. I knew then and there what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Since the age of sixteen I have been taking voice lessons regularly to aid me in my pursuits of an operatic performance career. After graduating from high school, I struggled with how to make my career goals a reality, but I eventually applied to Oklahoma City University where I was accepted on a talent scholarship. 

At OCU, I was fortunate to have had opportunities performing leading roles in the operas, as well as in some engagements outside of school. During my time at OCU, I was required to take vocal pedagogy classes but quickly found a love for teaching voice. My approach to teaching voice is simply focused on helping students find a healthy and efficient sound that is based on the principles of the Italian-Bel Canto school of singing. In my humble opinion, singing is singing. The only difference between singing Opera, Musical Theater, or Pop, is attitude. I make no promise to my students that I have all the answers to great singing. There is no “one size-fits-all” type of technique since every student is different and has their own goals. But I do make the promise to every new student that I will listen attentively and be adaptable in how I communicate what I believe to be healthy and efficient singing.

When did you begin singing, and why?

As far as I could remember, I was always singing as a child. It was just something that I did, as though it was like breathing. I would sing stuff that I would hear on the radio and tv, in addition to making up my own melodies. I became obsessed with opera at sixteen when my grandmother took me to the Metropolitan Opera-Live in HD performance of Aida. I knew then and there that I had found my calling in life. So much has changed since then but my love and passion for opera remains the same.

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

I can play piano at a proficient/basic level. In high school I took piano lessons but never went very far because I didn’t like to practice playing my scales as much as I enjoyed singing them. During my undergraduate studies that changed due to my school’s required two-years of piano classes. 

What are your personal goals as a musician?

My primary career goal is to be a freelance opera singer. I want to travel the world singing opera at all the big houses, all while living out of a suitcase for most of the year. I do love to teach singing and would love to teach full-time but only after a career on the stage. 

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

I recently spent a summer in Eureka Springs, Arkansas where I was an Emerging Artist at Opera in the Ozarks. We had very long days where we had rehearsals in the mornings for one of the operas and in the evenings had a full run through of another opera.  While my technique was developing fine prior to that summer, I felt that my learning really accelerated, and it was the first time in my life where I discovered how to sing consistently well. It was the first time that there were no barriers that got in the way of me telling a story and I felt free doing it. That summer changed my singing for the better.

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

“There are only three things that matter in singing: discipline, technique, and MUT (German for Courage)!” Maria Callas says this to one of the sopranos in Terrance McNally’s play Master Class. Master Class is loosely based on the master classes that Callas gave at The Juilliard School in the 1970s. I absolutely love this play because it is a meditation on what it means to be an artist.

What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument?

The most challenging moment for me was figuring out how I best learn music correctly. I was mostly self-taught at reading music and learned a lot about music theory, but my musicianship was something that I struggled very hard with in the beginning. At that point in my journey, I was also not attentive to the fine details. It took a long time for me to figure out that I had to really break things down in small chunks, work in 15-minute increments and ALWAYS use a metronome.

What is your biggest musical achievement?

I was thrown into the lion’s den during my first semester of my master’s program when I was cast in the role of Edgardo in Donizetti’s opera Lucia di Lammermoor. Prior to this I had done a few smaller sized roles but only with piano. This was the first time in my life that I had a “big boy” role with an orchestra and had to work hard to be laser focused. Edgardo is one of the most difficult tenor roles in the operatic canon and having to sing it with no prior orchestra experience was the biggest feat I have ever faced.

Favorite thing about teaching?

What I love most about teaching is seeing that moment with my students where the challenging song or phrase in a song is no longer a challenge. It is so gratifying seeing the payoff of their hard work and discipline. It signifies to me, the teacher, that they are on the right path.

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

If you’re studying music, it’s because you love your instrument and want to grow as a musician. Don’t forget that. There will be moments along the way that are frustrating or phrases that seem impossible. But on the other side of that mountain of challenge will be the fruits of your labor. In music you will always get what you put into it.

Personal music projects:
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