"Charlie Parker said, 'If you don't live it, it won't come out of the horn.' A musician should be engaged in activities other than music. So I give multifaceted assignments. I ask instrumentalists to listen to singers, and I ask singers to listen to instruments. And I always give my students something to read. No teacher ever did this with me, but it makes so much sense. And the students who get it really grow."
"I also encourage my students to do something physical: yoga, weights, it doesn't matter what it is. Your body is your vocal instrument, so keep it healthy. Elevators: bad. Walking up stairs: good. I'm certified in yoga, step aerobics, and weightlifting, and I was the first teacher at Berklee to institute an exercise class."
"A singer's major control is the ability to imagine sounds. The better the imagination, the more colors in the voice. I give my students examples of singers, like Bobby McFerrin and Al Jarreau, who have absolutely the best imaginations and incredible singing ability—and the most colorful voices—as a result."
"You have the ability to predetermine so many factors as you sing, but if you're busy listening to yourself, there'll be no one in the 'driver's seat.' So I give students something else to do as they sing, such as imagining another voice singing the song inside their head. If they concentrate on that, then they don't have time to listen to themselves."
"A student emailed me last night and wrote, 'Joyce! I have two more notes in my range!' And that felt really good. But teachers don't give students additional notes in their ranges; students have it within them. When people sing well, their ranges expand. The teacher simply guides them to sing better. As students go through self-discovery, they start to feel confident because they understand what they're doing. At that point they develop a kind of self-sufficiency; they realize they're in charge. And that's nice."
- B.M., University of Lowell
- M.M., New England Conservatory of Music
- Performances with the Boston Symphony and the Boston Pops orchestras
- Gospel, jazz, classical, and pop performing experience
- Member, International Phonetic Association
- Author of How to Sing American and Voice for Instrumentalists