how i work

Opera Techniques and Brief History

carol b&w Opera was invented by a group of philosophers and artists who gathered regularly, and wanted to developed a “New” art form. “Opera”, previously, had been very much limited to the Catholic Church and was more chanting biblical stories, the singers showing little emotion or showmanship, usually performed by boys or Eunuchs.

This new art form, it was decided, would take the art of singing into the secular realm, adding costumes, singers who would act out their roles in a stage of beautiful sets and Painted backdrops. And it would be called “Opera” because it combined so many “Arias” or “Airs” together. (1 Aria stands on it’s own, many Arias combined and connected into one cohesive performance piece is called an Opera.)

Opera became so popular that the French, (wanting to be different from the Germans) added Ballet and other Dance to it’s Operas in order to set their own Operas apart as new and unique! Most importantly, it became difficult to house all those who wanted to be in the audiences! So new large, open buildings were built, with the stage down low and rows of seats rising to the back of these giant new Opera Houses. There were no electronic ways to magnify the singers voices, so techniques were developed to achieve maximum volume from the singers, without also tiring their voices, or losing the beautiful quality of the sound.

And those techniques are what I teach. How to correctly use your breath, while keeping the tone clear and vibrant and your own. Through exercises, practice and gradually strengthening the correct muscles, We will work first with Italian arias and aires, chosen carefully to allow the strength in your natural singing voice to evolve and take on it’s own character, while resonating with your own richness and beauty.

I prefer not to work with people who are very young, as the development of both female and male hormones signal that the voice is beginning to settle into it’s natural sound, and cannot as easily be overworked, causing possible longterm vocal imbalances. However I will certainly work with and care for a young singer if they will be singing frequently on their own, or in other performance venues. Young voices can be pushed too hard by some eager teachers, creating bad habits that are difficult to correct, and sometimes creating genuine vocal problems.
Talk with me and we can set out a lesson plan that will allow you to sing with beautiful techniques and sounds or your own style of singing, without doing any damage to your voice! Or in many situations, save you from incorrect techniques that have brought you to a genuine need for me to help you to do a “Makeover” on your voice!

I love to teach, and would love to meet with you so that we can both decide if the way I work will be comfortable for you. Singing is very personal, and the communication between Instructor and Student must feel safe and clear. Call me for a first appointment, and we will both get a good idea right away whether or not I am the Vocal Teacher for you. If not, I can recommend a different path to best suit your needs and ambitions.

I also do Theatrical coaching, so bring me your ailing Theatrical voice so that we can correct vocal issues and I can help you to bring out the dramatic performer who hides inside.
“Love every Note, Delight in every Word.” -cws

“Singing is natural to out automatic nervous system. We use pitch to control volume as a way to communicate. your body knows how to sing correctly, we just have to get ‘You’ out of your own way!” – Phyllis Petersen, Opera Singer and Vocal Instructor who changed the way I sing for the rest of my life. R.I.P., Phyllis, and thank you for taking me on as an eager 14 year old. Your lessons live on.


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PHONE: 206-550-2965

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