Pedagogical Philosophy

As a teacher of music, I have been given the opportunity to educate in my dream field and to help the next generation of musician perfect their natural abilities and create a technical product that will remain strong throughout the rest of their lives. I personally dream of a day when all singing, no matter the style or genre, features technical backing to ensure healthy/consistent vocal production without harmful lasting effects. Students of singing must learn the basic fundamentals of vocal production, support, and resonation at a minimum to have a serious chance of creating a lasting vocal career.

 

My pedagogical expertise ranges from applied voice instruction for all levels and types of singer, traditional undergraduate vocal diction in English, Italian, German, and French diction, vocal literature covering all periods of repertoire, vocal science for musicians, vocal pedagogy, aural theory, and general music appreciation/survey of western musical cultures. My personal musical experiences and instruction have led me to the point where I am today, confident in my performing and pedagogy abilities. As far back as my memory reaches, I can clearly remember feeling that love for singing and performing that is required to pursue a career in this challenging profession, but now more than ever I feel that love and passion in all my teaching. The feeling one gets when working with a student, when you see the enjoyment on their face and the knowledge entering their minds, is more powerful than I could have ever imagined when choosing to become a professional singer.

 

As a teacher of singing, I have found that my private teaching studio is not only the centerpiece of the majority of my instruction but is also a “home-away-from-home” for my students where they can feel comfortable talking freely and asking for guidance at any time. I have found over my educational career thus far that I learn at a much faster rate and retain the concepts more effectively when the material was taught in a comfortable and welcoming environment. I make a point of getting to know my students as more than just faces in my class or studio. I believe that teacher and student are cohorts in the educational journey, thus it is necessary for students to be fully comfortable and open with their teacher enabling the pupil to make efficient strides in a one-on-one studio or classroom-teaching situation. I have become very close with many of my former students (private voice students, voice majors, voice minors, voice class students, aural skills students, etc...) and I work hard to remain in contact with many to this day. No matter the student, I know I can make positive impacts that will last a lifetime. Just as I have learned and changed from every single student I have had the pleasure of working alongside in his or her vocal and musical journey.

 

My voice teaching philosophy is based off a few very simple concepts: 1) I strongly believe that everyone has a “true” voice. 2) Through the use of healthy and consistent vocal technique (appropriate to the individual level of the student and determined through assessment), the “true” and “honest” voice can be brought out and utilized effectively. 3) Singing requires a perfect balance (or equilibrium) of concepts and mechanics, which is learned at exceedingly different comprehension rates from student to student, thus requiring patience and knowledge of varying techniques and approaches. 4) It is important for the student to study all areas of singing including diction, languages, song literature, opera literature, music theory, music history, and vocal pedagogy. 5) Learning to sing is a journey, which never ends. When the degrees commensurate and you are finally a “professional singer” or teacher yourself, that does not signal the commencing of your education. All practitioners of voice have chosen this profession because they love music and the art of singing. Thus, no matter how much you may know, there is always new knowledge to be learned. I truly believe that this is a fundamental ideal that all students must understand. 6) Every student of voice is different. I have had the pleasure of working with tremendously talented students and some of which have been put down in the past because of the current standing of their voice or possibly for other reasons. These students are often times some of my favorite students because they bring me so much joy when building up the confidence in their voice that has been lost and when knowing that the technique taught will lead to a healthy and effective utilization of their instrument. When given the opportunity to fully apply my training and experience in a pedagogical situation, I thrive in that moment when the clinician is required to perform a meticulous assessment of the vocal faults and possibilities, and quickly find the optimal solutions to effectively and healthily utilize that instrument.

Student Spotlight:

Rhy Weithe (Dual Majors: Public Relations and French with a Vocal Performance Minor - WVU) 
Rhy Wiethe - Ridente la calmaW. A. Mozart
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Congratulations to Rhy Weithe on completing the applied instruction component of her Vocal Music Performance Minor at West Virginia University through the School of Music during the Spring 2020 semester.  Please enjoy the beautiful singing of this tremendously talented soprano! 

Robert Webster (B.S. in Computer Science & Vocal Music Performance Minor - WVU) 
Robert Webster (Soloist) - Bright Morning Stars are RisingWVU Community Choir
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In addition to all his hard work on his primary major in Computer Science at West Virginia University, Robert Webster is also pursuing a Vocal Music Performance Minor through the School of Music.  He is actively involved in performing opportunities through the program and is a proud member of the WVU Community Choir.  Please enjoy hearing Robert perform as the soloist for "Bright Morning Stars are Rising" with the WVU Community Choir.  He can be heard at the beginning of the piece and at the end.  Congrats to Robert, the WVU Community Choir, and Dr. Kym Scott (Director of Choral Activities at WVU).

Kiley Cassis (Music Therapy Major - WVU) 

Congratulations to Kiley Cassis on her recent admission into the Music Therapy program (Major Instrument: Voice) through the School of Music at West Virginia University.  Kiley has been a student of mine for a year and I am extremely proud of her hard work and progress!  Please enjoy Kiley performing "No Flower that Blows" by Thomas Linley.

Sarah Victory (West Virginia University - B.A. in Music Industry (Voice) Graduate - Spring 2020) 

A massive congratulations to Sarah Victory on her recent graduation from the West Virginia University School of Music with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Industry with voice as her primary instrument.  Sarah has managed some wonderful accomplishments during her time at WVU and graduated Summa Cum Laude in Spring of 2020.  Thank you to Sarah for a wonderful time working together and for all her hard work.  Wishing you the best in all your future endeavors!   Your talent, knowledge, and drive will ensure success.