University of Connecticut, 2013 – present. Voice teacher. I teach studio voice for voice majors and vocal techniques class for music education majors. The class focuses on techniques for teaching general music classes and instructing choirs for elementary through high school aged students. Boston University, 2009 – 2014. I instruct class voice for non-majors and music education majors. Classes involve voice instruction and lectures covering basic musicianship skills, vocal pedagogy, and dramatic presentation. Additionally, I taught private lessons to voice/music minors and non-majors from 2010-13. Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI), 2011-2014. Voice faculty. BUTI is a six-week auditioned summer program for some of the country’s best high-school singers. I teach private voice lessons, instruct intermediate and advanced levels of music theory, and direct opera scenes. Norwood High School, Norwood, MA, 2001-4 and 2006 – present. Voice teacher. I teach after-school private voice lessons, culminating in voice recitals in May. Private voice studio, 2010 – present. I maintain a small private studio.
Penelope Bitzas, 2007 – current James McDonald, 2006 – 2007 Bill McGraw, 2005 – 2006 Edward Zambara, 2001 – 2004 Elizabeth Arnold, 1998 – 2001
Teaching Philosophy The human voice is the most innate and expressive of all instruments, capable of conveying a gamut of emotions and colors. The development of a reliable singing technique is paramount to becoming an artistic musician and effective communicator. I encourage a free vocal production that brings out the unique characteristics and timbre of each student’s voice. The components of my teaching method are: • proper postural alignment, which acts as a foundation for the breath and the vocal apparatus.. • an approach to breathing that focuses on low expansion upon inhalation and a balanced resistance of respiratory muscles while singing. • a healthy, flowing phonation that accommodates a steady and energized release of air. • the strengthening of both head and chest registers and the balanced unification of the two throughout the vocal range. • personal discovery of the sensations that accompany a resonant tone. • elimination of any tensions that hinder the production of a free tone. • a proper understanding of vocal anatomy, using clear vocabulary and imagery. • The combination of Bel Canto and functional exercises designed to target each student’s specific technical weaknesses. I understand that, while there are fundamentals of technique, each student has a unique learning process, personality, experience, and physicality and that all of these idiosyncrasies can affect one’s perception and vocal production. I strive to accommodate each student’s individuality in order to make lessons productive and pleasant. I emphasize the role of the singer as a performer who communicates the text and music. Whether a piece is in English or a foreign language, good diction and a thorough understanding of the text are essential. The engagement of the whole body both technically and dramatically leads to exciting, expressive singing. Voice lessons extend beyond simple voice instruction. I believe it is my job to inspire my students and to push them to reach their full potential. Students are given repertoire that piques their interest, challenges them without going beyond their abilities, and focuses on the technical issues the student is working on. I believe in creating a relaxed, positive environment that allows students not only to have fun during their lessons, but also to excel as performers.