ABOUT PENNY R.
I graduated from college in Virginia with a Bachelor of Music Education degree as a voice major, and minored in piano and violin. My teaching certificate was for vocal, instrumental and general music, grades K - 12, and I graduated Magna Cum Laude.
Graduate school brought me to Indiana, where I earned a Masters of Music in Vocal Performance. Migrating up to the Chicago area from there, I taught at a private music school (voice and small ensembles, as well as many faculty performances) before staying at home to raise our children, and teaching voice lessons privately in my Studio. After 30 years of teaching, I'm still at it, and I still love it!
I am a Permanent Professional member of Music Teacher's National Association (MTNA), Illinois State Music Teacher's Association (ISMTA),West Suburban Chapter of ISMTA, as well as a member of National Association of Teachers of Singing. Most of my students are high school aged, but I have taught from ages seven through 70. My students regularly achieve MTNA's Music Achievement Award, are selected for District Choir and All-State Choir, as well as receive leading roles in high school and community musicals.
I believe that singing does something to words which nothing else can--it puts feelings to music. Everyone has feelings, and everyone can be musical. Those who pursue their vocal education can be rewarded with confidence in their ability to sing. The goal of my Studio is to promote the study of music, and to create a musical environment at each lesson so that every person's individual potential can become realized - all while having fun!
My Studio provides a nurturing environment for all singers, from beginning to advanced, children to adults. I will help you develop and maintain your vocal health, expand your vocal range, and develop your musicianship. You will learn to integrate a coordinated process of breath, pitch and tone, while exploring your vocal potential in a wide range of contemporary and classic musical styles. Teaching proper vocal technique is my primary goal with every student: fixing what is being used incorrectly, and enhancing what is already done well. I will work with you on any style of repertoire you desire: classical, opera, broadway, jazz, folk, etc. I love it when a student wants a variety of song! And if your music theory skills are weak, we'll take care of that, too!
Children eighth grade and younger should sign up for half hour lessons; students high school and older should sign up for 45 minute lessons.
I am so excited to share the joy of making music with my new TakeLessons students! We get right into breathing, first thing. Once that is right, we can turn our attention to what's going on with the throat and mouth. All the while, we are learning songs by which we can practice whatever we're working on in the exercises. Everybody's different, with different tensions, both proper and antagonistic. We isolate the muscular tensions that are interfering with your perfect sound, and go from there!
*** Lesson Details ***
Come prepared to make a lot of noises with which you don't normally sing! We will explore every sound you are capable of - there's something to learn from most of them! Obviously, we'll concentrate on the ones we really want to sing with, while using a myriad of vocal exercises.
My studio brochure will explain many of the nuts and bolts of our lessons, and any expectations regarding practicing, keyboard ability and access, and how we work home practice when you don't know how to play piano. Generally, we spend about half the lesson time on warm ups/exercises, and half the time on songs. Sometimes we memorize them; sometimes we polish them; sometimes we just learn them quickly and move on to new things. Each lesson is a little different, depending on what I'm hearing from you that day.
I'm always happy to help you with school/church solos, audition material, choral parts, etc. Otherwise, we will choose repertoire together, taking into account your goals and interests, along with what makes good teaching material. Come join the fun and make some music!
*** Studio Equipment ***
My basement rec room serves as my teaching studio, so there are stairs with which to contend. Parents may stay either in the studio, or up in my living room to wait. The fully equipped studio contains a piano, audio-visual equipment for recording and play back, music stands, stools, a comfortable couch, and even a sink for quick water drinks! (Singing can make you thirsty!)
*** Specialties ***
In my 30+ years of teaching private lessons, I've amassed quite a toolbox of eclectic musical resources. That said, I still find muscle manipulative exercises while vocalizing to be the quickest route for most students to have success in building their long term voice. So I utilize those techniques frequently. With proper, healthy vocal production, a student can sing in any genre they choose. I am very concerned about producing a healthy voice with a free tone, particularly for children, so that all students can go forward into whatever style they choose with good vocal production.