Melanie, a classically trained soprano, has worked with students from grade school to adult on improving vocal technique and finding an ease and joy in singing. A well rounded performer, Melanie graduated first in her class from the University of Albany with a BA in Voice Performance and Psychology, and summa cum laude from the Crane School of Music with a MM in Voice Performance. While at Crane, she was the recipient of the Warren Hultberg Scholarship. Selected awards include a two time winner of the ENY NATS Art Song Festival, second place in the Rachmaninov Competition, and finalist in the Civic Morning Musical Competition.
An active performer of musical theater, opera, oratorio, and art song, Melanie has performed roles and solos with various groups including the College Light Opera Company, Opera Company of Brooklyn, Mosaic Arts, Resonanz Festival, Hubbard Hall Opera Theater, and the Octavo Singers. She has studied Alexander Technique, Jazz, and Modern Dance and incorporates movement into her lessons.
A firm believer in finding the joy in music, Melanie teaches with a balance of fun and discipline that incorporates the whole body, drawing on her somatic voice training. She feels it is the teacher’s job to make the student comfortable and find the best way to communicate with them by meeting each person at their unique level. Laughter is usually a part of every lesson, because if you can feel the freedom to laugh you can feel the freedom to be vulnerable and truly trust and experience music.
In addition to voice, Melanie is an experienced music theory and beginning piano tutor, and believes in integrating technical skills into lessons, including solfege, scales and chord recognition. By slowly introducing technical skills in partnership with performance, students make connections which make the music more meaningful and the technical skills more interesting. Most importantly finding music that speaks to the student, be it musical theater, pop, or classical, is what begins a lifelong connection music no matter what path they choose.
What will make a student learn best?
Voice is an incredibly personal instrument, since it is literally a part of you. You can’t put your voice down and walk away for a while to get some distance. Since it is so closely connected to a person’s identity, I find that students learn best when they feel comfortable and trust the teacher. I try to encourage this environment by always being open to questions and concerns, incorporating humor, and always being willing to be right there with the student in exercises so they can really trust them selves to the process. The goal in singing is freedom, which can only be achieved if the lesson is a safe space.
What do you enjoy most in teaching?
The most enjoyable part of teaching for me is the individuality of my students and finding what speaks to each one and brings them joy. Every student is different and will respond differently to suggestions and techniques- once the right language is found for a student it is exciting to seeing the understanding and learning that accompany this communication. Taking the passion that each student brings to their music making and helping it grow and solidify is a rewarding process.