My Story

I became a voice teacher through a series of events that lead me to my life's work. I could never have planned it this way, like most important things life unfolded with a mind of its own.  I love how this profession more or less found me! I have been teaching for 15 years and have never looked back. Each person I work with becomes an inspiration to me, no matter what their level or style, so my work always feels alive and new. I can honestly say I'm never bored, and that my work is amazing and fun.

As a child I always loved singing and painting. I was the shy artistic type rather than the athletic type. I began singing and humming around the same time I began talking. I always identified myself as a singer no matter what else I was into. When I was 17 years old my mature "operatic" voice emerged from out of nowhere, much to my surprise while I was singing Christmas carols.  Life would never be the same after that day. I felt that my entire body opened up to get out of my way so that this voice of mine could pass through me. As much as I wanted to be an opera singer, spending many delightful hours singing along with recordings of art songs and oratorio when no one was around to hear me, I was very much "in the closet" hiding my talent. It didn't seem like a normal pursuit to me, even though I knew I had a special vocal ability. I didn't think that anyone in my family would support a career choice like that, and I had no formal musical training. So, by the time I was in college I went into Occupational Therapy as a career choice. I loved art, the medical sciences, and working with people, so this seemed like a perfect and practical fit at the time.

I got my masters degree from Columbia, and practiced O.T. for 18 years. I learned how to teach disabled people basic life skills with a knowledge of human anatomy, cognition and neurology. It was a great career, but something kept gnawing at me. Thoughout these young adult years I always managed to take a few voice lessons, here and there. I also sang folk songs with my guitar in coffee houses and restaurants, as I had a strong need to express myself and reach others through music and lyrics. It was so very gratifying.

The urge to sing professionally and to develop my voice finally began to win the inner struggle I was experiencing. When my youngest child was two years old I finally decided to take the plunge, and learn everything it would take to sing opera. That meant voice lessons, foreign diction and learning how to read music. Amazingly, I forged ahead and tried to do exactly all of that! I figured I needed 10 years. That was about right.

While still working as an O.T. part time I took voice lessons with various teachers and ended up for a few years at Rockland Conservatory of Music. There I started an opera workshop where I began to learn roles and many arias. I also began to learn Italian and other languages and how to sight sing music. It was a huge, but exhilirating struggle. The biggest hurdle was developing my voice.

I studied with many teachers, some very prestigious ones in NYC, but I never got my voice to the place I wanted it. It always sounded either very weak or very shrill. It was to say the least frustrating, especially when voice lessons seemed to make my voice worse than my natural singing. I found myself singing arias that were so beautiful that were way too difficult for me and that I couldn't express the music. After years of going through this I decided that singing had to feel easy, not forced, and began picking out exercises from all the various teachers that seemed to work for me, while discarding the rest. I began to sing better. I sang as a soloist with local choirs, symphony orchestra, in recitals and small opera regional companies.

I stopped working as an Occupational Therapist and began working online as a graphic artist. After a few years the computer work was causing severe neck pain and I found myself without a career. Then one day I got a phone call. The daughter of a friend who heard me sing inisited that I become her voice teacher. I had been asked to teach before, but I never felt qualified, so I turned that down. This time for some strange reason I said yes! Then the oddest thing happened. I got a phone call from a friend I hadn't heard from in a while telling me that her sister, who was also an opera singer had just enrolled in a series of courses in the city for singers who want to learn how to be voice teachers. I didn't even know that this type of study existed. This happened on the same night I accepted my very first voice student.

I enrolled in NYSTA 's profesional development program and learned everything I needed to know about teaching voice. I studied vocal anatomy, acoustics, developmental repertoire, how to teach belt and commercial contemporary singing as well as classical, and more. It was the best decision I ever made. I have gone on to combine in my teaching of voice all of my life experiences--how it felt to sing as a gifted teen, the many wonderful things I learned to do (or NOT to do) from at least 20 voice teachers, my ocupational therapy background (helping me to break down tasks, work with the entire body, and work efectively with others), all the NYSTA courses, as well as classes with other people in the voice field, such as McClosky, Anat Keidar, Alexander Technique, Kitty Verdolini and Estill. I truly believe the struggle I went through to learn how to sing shaped me into the very successful teacher I am today. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.

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