"My approach to voice is holistic, exploring body mechanics, breath control, timbre, pitch, emotion and personality all together. The first day I meet new students, I listen to their voices from a technical perspective and interview them, figuring out the best teaching strategies to engage them where they are and to move them to where they need to be. I use a unique combination of teaching modalities that include traditional vocal training, theater voice work, and elements of the Alexander Technique and Feldenkrais models, and I have a particular interest in issues around performance anxiety. For each individual, I look at the factors that enhance and hinder vocal sound. The first step is helping the student understand their personal mind-body connection and then creating a series of individualized exercises to support what works well and to change what doesn't."
"It's critical for me that students are engaged, aware of their own minds and bodies in relationship to their singing, aware of music. A singer is a singer every moment of the day, not just when singing, and every way we move and everything we choose to do affects how we sing. When we're aware of this, singing becomes effortless. It's another reason why vocal exercises are so important-scales and arpeggios are the building blocks to improvising and riffing, to feeling completely in control vocally."
"I'm also big on repertoire. The song is the medium through which singers express their talent. I encourage my students to listen to vocalists of all genres, analyze what is happening vocally, both technically and stylistically. It's critical that a singer learn to choose the right songs. All of my students create a book of songs in the proper keys so that they are prepared when someone says, 'Can you do this gig?' Yes, and I'm ready to sing 50 songs to prove it."
- B.M., Berklee College of Music
- Founder and president, Make Your Life a Musical
- More than 20 years' experience as a musical theater and theater arts educator
- Listen to a podcast about musical theater at Berklee with Rene Pfister here.