I believe that my role as a teacher is first and foremost about dignifying and recognizing the individual person and the distinctive gifts and vision of that person. I want to be a supportive ally as well as a teacher and I want to call the artist and the person forward. At the same time, I am also very specific about the techniques of singing and acting without being rigid about what works and what does not work. Flexibility is important, but so is discipline, regularity, commitment, and working through the difficulties and resistance that we all encounter. I think teaching and singing should be simple and practical with an eye toward the larger more complex whole. I like to work hard, but with a comfortable and relaxed vibe in lessons. Humor is healthy and healing. But it is always about the work ultimately. We all learn differently, and I like to understand whether a student is a thinker or a feeler, an intuitive or a sensate. I can favor a student's particular mode of learning, but I also want to encourage development in the opposite mode.


I am very experienced, comfortable, and capable teaching opera as well as musical theater and all contemporary commercial styles. I believe that the various cultivated and vernacular singing styles are different languages of universal truth and art, and I believe that they all have value and a place in our society. I do not discriminate between singing styles. However, within a singing style, I do discriminate between the higher and the lower forms. I strongly encourage well-crafted songs and texts over poorly crafted songs and texts within a genre. Regardless of the singing style, as a listener, I want to be moved, to get a glimpse of possibility, to hear something I was not expecting, to see beyond my personal limits and values, to understand what lies beneath a character and the archetypal experiences common to us all. And I want that experience through skill, craft, and passion.


My approach to vocal training is about the synthesis of all the components of singing/acting technique and performance craft. My teaching consists of a practical, balanced process covering vocal production, category classification, acting, text analysis, physical life, performance anxiety, singing styles, and voice qualities, or head voice, chest voice, and mixed voice. All singing styles are comprised of varying percentages, or mixtures, of these three qualities, or functions. The ability to sing various cultivated and vernacular styles depends in part upon the singer's ability to vary the percentages of head voice (light function) and chest voice (heavy function) through vocal technique, acting, intuition, and physical sensation. My singing and acting exercises are designed to cultivate that technique of mixing the opposites and varying the percentages.


I believe that synthesis of opposites is of utmost importance in balanced singing. Every aspect, tendency, directive, function, and action should be balanced by its opposite, allowing for the temporary predominance of one with the other. One function should never be completely exclusive of the other. Only after evaluation of a singer's vocal strengths and weaknesses can the appropriate technical guidelines and exercises be applied specifically for each singer. This diagnostic process prevents the abuse of imposing a method on a student without regard for the particular student's limitations, needs, and individuality. At the same time, there are requirements of proficiency for professional singers that must be developed.


After an evaluation of a new student, I recommend techniques and repertoire that address the student's imbalances with attention to vocal category, suitable audition material, and the student's relative place in the professional growth curve. The goal is a singing and acting approach that coordinates and blends technique with imagination, chest voice with head voice, substance with style, head with heart, and the physical with the spiritual. This healthy antagonism can become a metaphor for living, personal growth, reconciliation, individuation, conflict resolution, and healing when viewed as a MANDORLA, the symbol representing the overlay of opposites, as represented by my studio logo above.