Stef Emery – Voice, Guitar, and Violin Teacher

Stef Emery New photo
Voice, Guitar & Violin

Stef Emery


Music Performance, Berklee College of Music

Bucks County Community College

Temple University

Rock, Pop, Blues & Soul

I teach Vocals, Guitar, and Violin. I teach Vocals, Guitar, and Violin. I am a professional singer and songwriter from Philadelphia and have been teaching for over 15 years. I have a degree in Music Performance and have studied at Berklee College of Music, Bucks County Community College, and Temple University. My passion for music has led me down the path of teaching because I truly love sharing the skills that I have obtained with others and helping people achieve their musical goals. I specialize in rock, pop, blues, and soul vocals, rhythm guitar, and classical and jazz violin. I have recorded two full length albums with my band, The Black Coast, and have played many venues in Philly including The TLA, Dobb’s, Bourbon + Branch, Ortliebs, Milkboy, Boot + Saddle amongst others in the region. One of my main focus areas as a vocal coach is to help students find their natural voice in the chest and mixed voice registers, and to teach how to project and belt properly. I teach students the techniques needed to achieve their most efficient and dynamic sound.  Learning how to sing correctly and building strength in the vocal cords is an important focus that I instill in all of my vocal students. I have worked with many local philly musicians to help them achieve their performance goals vocally while successfully strengthening their sound, endurance, and power. I help students improve their coordination with playing guitar while singing, give guidance in songwriting technique, and also teach music theory. I love to instill a strong sense of technique, feel, and confidence in my students, and most importantly I want them to have fun! To me, music instruction is about learning, achieving goals, and gaining confidence in yourself so you can showcase your talent and really own it. I strive to make all of my students well rounded musicians, encourage creativity and live performance, and aid in their musical journey in the most positive and encouraging way possible.

When did you begin singing, and why?

I began singing as a teenager. I had already been playing guitar and it was a natural progression for me to start singing along to what I was playing. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I loved being able to accompany myself on rhythm guitar and sing all of my favorite cover songs as well as to begin songwriting. I took private vocal instruction with a voice specialist, professional singer, vocal coach, and voice therapist who studied at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. She had worked with big names like Shirley Manson from the band Garbage, amongst many others. She, along with many other teachers, helped to shape my knowledge and skill set throughout my college experience.

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

Violin was my first serious instrument, which I started playing around age 10. I played in the school orchestra as well as having group lessons. I played throughout high school in symphony orchestra and chamber orchestras and began taking private lessons with a teacher who studied at Julliard. I went on to study at Berklee College of Music where I dove head first into learning jazz, blues, and improvisational techniques for violin. I played in ensembles and learned that there are so many musical styles beyond classical music for violin. Eventually I made my way back to Pennsylvania where I continued to study music in school then started teaching private lessons myself.


I began playing the guitar around the age of 13. I learned classical, rock, and some blues techniques through private instruction. I learned that I loved playing rhythm guitar, mostly because it was my preferred choice of accompaniment for my singing and songwriting.

What are your personal goals as a musician?

If I were to break down my goals into two categories they would be music instruction and music performance/writing/recording. Teaching has truly been the most rewarding job I have ever had. It is a pleasure to teach people what I love and feel so passionate about, and I look forward to continuing helping artists achieve their goals. I personally love working with vocal clients who are aspiring artists working on furthering their music career. Being an artist myself, I hope to continue creating personally and with my band. Music licensing is something I have been actively pursuing with my band for the last few years as well. We have many of our songs in music libraries that are used for TV and movie placements.

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

I can remember struggling with some rhythms while learning a tough song on violin when I was younger. My private teacher really drove home the importance of counting while playing and breaking down beats into the smallest rhythm values needed. It truly was something so simple, yet something a lot of other school teachers really skimmed over. It was definitely one of those moments where things just clicked and I felt like any rhythm I faced was actually now a fun challenge to figure out.

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

I had a great vocal coach that taught me that everything you do vocally should start small and expand from a tiny place so that you have full control over the sound you are producing. When you’re struggling with a phrase, or pushing too hard with your voice you learn to scale back and pinpoint the issue then try again small and gradually build until you’ve actually gained the adequate strength to produce the sound correctly. The focus is that you are learning to not get frustrated but instead zoning in on what the true problem is and fixing it. That is something I always remember and try to instill in my students today.

What was your most challenging moment learning an instrument?

I would say my most challenging moment learning an instrument would be when I had to learn extremely challenging classical music for violin. The fast bowing for complex rhythms, shifting into high positions, and keeping a smooth sound all at the same time can be very challenging! But with practice and patience any challenge is able to be overcome!

What is your biggest musical achievement?

My biggest musical achievement so far was when my band’s song was placed on a major TV Network (Fox Sports for a UFC fight)! When I got that royalty check in the mail it was one of those moments when you think, all the hard work is starting to pay off.

Favorite thing about teaching?

My favorite thing about teaching is seeing students achieve their goals. I love watching students dedicate their time and energy on a subject and see the concepts click. The process and the progress is amazing to watch. When students get so excited that their hard work has paid off it really makes you feel like you’ve done your job well.

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

Be patient and persistent. Dedicate your time to mindful practicing and avoid speeding through practice just to “get it over with”. Progress comes when you can sit with something and truly understand it. Mindfulness and keeping a mentally positive attitude are just as important as physical ability. Learning music is like learning a whole new language, it takes practice, patience, skill, determination, and dedication. If you can pair all of those qualities together and hone your craft you will start seeing true results! 

Personal music projects:

My band The Black Coast. We combine rock and dirty blues to form a heavy guitar and vocally driven garage rock sound. We also licence our music for TV and Movie and perform whenever we can. We have two full length albums out (our first under old band name La Capitana), have been featured on Radio 104.5, in Philadelphia Weekly, and continue to grow our fanbase worldwide.


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