a brief Introduction to teaching
I have been coaching singers of all ages and abilities for many years, in both 1-2-1 and workshop settings. All of my students, irrespective of age, ability or musical style are coached in the fundamentals of breathing, posture, vocal placement and tonal quality and develop solid, reliable techniques that work under pressure. Through good repertoire choices and by setting a few gentle goals, my clients develop as artists, musicians and performers. Everything I teach is science-based or drawn from published pedagogical research. I regularly attend courses and masterclasses, have a teaching mentor and am a member of respected professional institutions. My students learn to sing in a healthy way. As a performer and creator of new music myself, I have a particular interest in exploring the purpose and dramatic impact of songs, helping my students to deliver meaningful, character-driven performances. The ultimate goal is to enable singers to fulfill their vocal potential and make singing an enjoyable, musical and healthy, experience.
There are lots of reasons why students come to me for singing lessons: to increase their range, improve stamina, develop a ‘better’ or louder sound, build confidence, explore new styles, develop a reliable technique or simply to learn to sing and have fun! My clients include ‘hairbrush-holding’ bathroom singers, for whom singing is a pure joy to professional performers in need of a vocal MOT. Some singers come specifically to prepare for an upcoming exam, audition or performance. Whatever the reason, I really believe that everyone can sing and strive to deliver lessons that are personal, relevant and practical while still being musically enjoyable experiences. I do not expect my clients to be able to read music and am happy to recommend repertoire, particularly for younger learners. There is always a piano or keyboard available and the facility to play backing tracks, if preferred. Drawing on my experience as a performer, I am particularly adept at coaching musical theatre and contemporary commercial music, carefully drawing out the character and natural sound of the singer.
Singing, songwriting and recording
Group sessions offer a great opportunity for singers to focus on harmony singing and building musical soundscapes with other singers. One of the benefits of group versus 1-2-1 lessons, is for singers to be able to see and hear how other singers respond and process information and how that can manifest itself in a change or improvement of sound. Groups will sing in rounds and canons and everyone is encouraged to experiment with improvisation. I strive to be as inclusive as possible and feel confident that the environment is always friendly and non-intimidating. These sessions are particularly useful to groups preparing for a particular production or concert.
In addition to these sessions, I also work collaboratively with group of young people in art centres and schools, producing original musical stories. Facilitated by me, all participants are active in the development of plot, lyric writing and the recording process. Examples of these can be heard in Audio Samples. In 2019 I will receive training to deliver Arts Awards, a Trinity College of Music qualification open to young people active in extra-curricula artistic learning. My musical stories and other songwriting projects count towards that qualification.
I encourage all my young students to experiment with song writing. We work together on lyrics, song structure and melody. Students can record their songs, overlaying with harmonies (I have a particular love of harmonies), in the relaxed environment of the teaching room in Greenwich. You can hear some original songs by my students on Audio Samples.
In 2009 I founded BelleStars (aka The Home Recording Company), giving all kinds of people the opportunity to learn to sing and record their favourite song. I have coached and recorded hundreds of singers through the BelleStars experience. Watch the video in Audio Samples.