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Sharon Brown has been a singer, conductor, and teacher in the Boston area for almost 25 years. As a faculty member in Berklee's Voice Department, she teaches vocal technique classes, the musical theater workshop, and vocal pedagogy as well as private students. She has also taught at Simmons College, Boston Conservatory, and Northeastern University. Her performing credits as a mezzo-soprano include many years with Boston Lyric Opera Chorus. Brown has also sung with Boston Academy, Intermezzo Chamber Opera, and Salisbury Lyric Opera in addition to singing oratorio with several orchestras in the area.
As a conductor, Brown founded and led the Boston Conservatory Women's Chorus for seven years and recently retired after 20 years as the music director for the Fisk Memorial United Methodist Church in Natick, Massachusetts. She also conducted the Simmons College Choral for four years and led the Masterworks Choral in two of their Summer Sings. Brown holds both a bachelor's and master's degree in vocal performance from the Boston Conservatory, where she studied with Elisabeth Phinney.
"I teach private lessons, classical elements of vocal technique, reading labs, the musical theater workshop, and vocal pedagogy for advanced voice majors who think they might teach voice someday. The musical theater workshop is both an ensemble and a lab. Students sign up for both together; it's by audition. We do a program of scenes from a variety of musicals at the end of the semester. We have a good time—we work on stagecraft, acting skills, and working through a song."
"Someone once told me that I had a reputation for being a hard teacher. I said, 'Good. I’m going to do all I can to keep it that way!' There's a discipline that's required here. I ask students to be as disciplined as possible with their practicing. It's important that they know that the study of voice is a lifelong commitment. On the other hand, I want them to have fun with it and not get bogged down by the small stuff."
"I just love the 'light bulb' moments. For instance, one day someone was having a hard time belting in a particularly difficult place in a piece. We talked about some options—just worked our way through it—and it worked. It's little moments like those that are great."
"I want students to be as free, as open, and as honest as possible so that I can see their true performance rather than something they're putting on. But finding your individual style is a natural part of growth. Our job is to wean students away from the radio in their head and foster their own talent. But I think it's a process rather than simply saying, 'Don't try to sound so much like so-and-so.'"