Hi! I am excited to work with students of all ages and levels, and I am here to help you unlock the treasury of our music together. I'm devoted to passing on the joy of music-making to performers of any age, whether you are passionate about musical theater, classical music, popular music, or just for the fun of making music. As a soloist, I am a frequent performer throughout the Northeast. This season's performances include engagements with Lowell House Opera, Opera Brittenica, Cantata Singers, Opera Providence, and concerts and TV appearances with the award-winning folk music group Voice of
the Turtle, as well as numerous recitals. As a classical collaborative singer, I've performed in a choral setting with the New York Philharmonic, the Dresden Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and other ensembles. I have studied theater extensively and have completed an apprenticeship and internship at Connecticut Free Shakespeare.
I am a published composer and lyricist of children's music, and have over six years of studio teaching experience with students of all ages. I hold a Bachelors of Music in Voice Performance from Westminster Choir College and a Masters of Music in Voice and Vocal Pedagogy from Longy School of Music of Bard College. Whether you are just starting to sing in your school's musical or are an artist looking to solidify your technique and style, I have the latest techniques to make learning to sing fun and effective for you.
*** Lesson Details *** The atmosphere in my studio is student-centered and informal, and is built around the student's goals and stylistic tastes and abilities. Whether it is your first voice lesson or you are a working professional, the curriculum will be formed completely around you as an individual artist want to achieve.
Within 6 months of study, you will have a firm basis in vocal technique in your chosen style, and a firm grasp of the repertoire that you love to sing. Most importantly, however, you will develop a love of music and singing that you will keep throughout your life. If you are a parent, I encourage your involvement, and you are most welcome to sit in on your child's lessons and share in the music-making experience.
*** Studio Equipment *** Full piano, music stand, private room, seating for parents.
*** Travel Equipment *** Music stand and sheet music. A keyboard if you are without a piano.
*** Specialties *** I have experience in performing and teaching musical theater, early music, opera, Mediterranean folk music, diction, music theory, and Shakespearean acting technique. I am currently a member of the Boston Schola Cantorum, and Voice of the Turtle, which has over 12 professional studio recordings.
Xu Z. September 19, 2012 Verified Student
Encouraging and Patient!
Ian is the most encouraging teacher I've hardly met. He is always ready to point out the improvements and in a sincere way. Even though I tend to repeat the mistake, he takes it as a natural learning process and gives time for myself to overcome it.
Besides, it usually takes me more effort to understand the terms/background of the pieces we work on since English is not my native language but Ian is able to translate into something I could understand.
All levels taught. Acting lessons focus on Diction, Projection, Inflection and flow of speech. McClosky Technique utilized in Speech.
BIOGRAPHY AND GENERAL OVERVIEW
With a nationally known reputation as a Pop Music Producer, Voice and Piano Teacher, Voice Therapist and Vocal Rehabilitation Specialist and Woodwind expert with over 30 years of Teaching Experience, Jimi Z. will connect with you or your child's needs at their very first lesson. Jimi Z. teaches Singing, Pop Piano, Saxophone, Clarinet and Songwriting being qualified in all of those instruments and subjects.
A CUSTOMIZED PERSONAL APPROACH THAT IS NOT "ONE SIZE FITS ALL"
Whether you or your child is taking lessons for fun or perhaps a possible music caree
r, Jimi Z. has what it takes to give his students the optimum plan and environment to work with each student's schedule. His experience has allowed to him to guide his students locally and nationally.
CAREER PATH DEVELOPMENT AND GETTING SCHOLARSHIP MONEY AND GRANTS
Jimi has prepared and developed his students for college preparation and has not only helped them get into the colleges of their choice, but has helped them to get substantial scholarships. In this day and age of high tuition, this is a tremendous help for parents financing their children through college as well as outlining a wonderful life that will allow the student to not have the pressure of paying loans off after they complete college. Jimi has also developed and prepared his students for major auditions in Boston, New York and Los Angeles including some students who placed high in American Idol as high as Top 24 Nationally and "The Voice" on NBC TV.
FOR THE SINGING STUDENT
Jimi will create a customized plan for you or for your child that is reasonable and fun on any of the instruments and subjects listed above. With a fun voice and music studio that includes a professional PA System, each student will have a fun experience singing and playing with the songs they love to sing and play using microphones and singing and playing over song tracks that enable them to work on their feel, pitch and groove. Younger students have enjoyed this experience as it gives a Karaoke and jamming kind of setting that allows each student to sing or play with the original recording and then sing or play it by themselves allowing them to build their confidence using a microphone and professional sound equipment. Jimi's elaborate music library of over 80,000 songs is also available to each student as well. Because of his medical training as a licensed and certified voice therapist, each student can be assured of learning to sing correctly and technically by using proven voice techniques that will enable each singing student to sing with power and expanded range without the danger of hurting or damaging their voice.
FOR THE SAXOPHONE AND CLARINET STUDENT
For the Saxophone and Clarinet student, Jimi uses 21st Century method books as well as the traditional methods he's used to get his students jamming and playing. A lot of time is spent in early lessons on teaching the student the correct way to blow the instrument to get a great sound. Typically, students will want to practice more when they sound great and a lot of time is spent on making a great sound to build their confidence and motivation.
FOR THE POP/ROCK PIANO STUDENT
Pop and Rock Piano Students will enjoy a modern approach to Piano that is not the typical Classical Approach that some children are disagreeable to. Jimi gets his Piano students to play modern pop and rock songs and students will learn how to jam and approach the piano with modern pop music instead of the old school classical approaches.
FOR THE SONG WRITING STUDENT AND SINGER/SONGWRITER CAREER PATH
Songwriting is approached with song analysis first and then song form models are then looked at in the Old Style from the early 20th Century to the New Style forms used today. Then meticulous time is spent on Melody writing, Chord Writing, Basic Harmony and Lyrics. Jimi uses an approach to songwriting that is unique in its methodology by having the student believe that it is a LOT easier than you think it is. This confidence building methodology will have students writing songs in rapid time.
BASIC PIANO/KEYBOARD FOR SINGERS AND SONGWRITERS
For those students who wish to use the Piano as learning tool to help their singing and pitch, as an option you can take Basic Piano with Jimi after your voice development has progressed. The Piano is an awesome tool for singers and learning to play simple vocal exercises, notes and chords on the Piano will truly enhance your singing experience. Songwriters who do not play a chordal instrument like Guitar and Piano will enjoy this because they need to be able to play chords to become the complete songwriter that can not only write melodies and lyrics, but chords as well.
AN OUTSTANDING REPUTATION TEACHING STUDENTS OF ALL AGES
Currently, Jimi leads a professional Original Country Music group that has released a full CD and plays around the New England area. Jimi teaches at three prestigious private schools and music schools in Boston teaching students between Age 6 and 18 at those schools. Jimi is also Lead Voice Faculty and runs the Voice Program at one of those schools. Jimi's versatility and background has allowed him to keep on top of the music scene providing him with an incredibly large wealth of music knowledge that dates back to the Jazz/Swing era all the way up to the pop music of today. Jimi Z. was born in New York City and grew up in Lynbrook, NY only 20 Miles from the Music and Arts Mecca of the world in New York City. He attended the Manhattan School of Music Preparatory Division in New York City from age 14 to 17. He attended Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1978-1979 and then transferred to New England Conservatory of Music and received his Bachelor of Music in Contemporary Improvisational Studies as a double major in Voice and Saxophone Studies from New England Conservatory of Music.
LICENSED VOICE THERAPIST AND VOCAL REHABILITATION SPECIALIST/VOCAL PHILOSOPHIES
Jimi is a Licensed Voice Therapist and has an incredible working knowledge of the Voice Anatomy and Physiology of the Voice. He has the ability to teach Speech, Acting and Singing. He also is networked well with some of the top Ear, Nose and Throat Doctors, Ornolaryngologists, and Speech Pathologists and works in tandem with them on Voice Rehabilitation cases. He is also aligned with top Ear Nose and Throat Hospitals including the Massachusetts, Eye and Ear Infirmary and St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Boston. While the average student will not need these services from a voice therapy perspective, Jimi teaches a preventative singing technique that allows his singing students to learn to sing with power without pressing, pushing or belting on the voice so that his students will never hurt their voice or lose their voice. Jimi is Certified to teach the McClosky Voice Technique and uses other techniques including Alexander and Bel Canto in addition to his own philosophies.
A DEDICATED PHILOSOPHY THAT STRESSES WORK AND FUN
Jimi has dedicated himself to teaching music to young talent for over 30 years professionally. He has taught and performed all over the world in major music groups as a player and a band leader. Because of his many years of teaching children and adults of all ages, Jimi has an uncanny ability to focus on each student's needs. Whether the student is a child that wants to take lessons for fun and recreation or whether the student is considering music as possible career or part time career,
SETTING REALISTIC GOALS
Jimi focuses on getting to understand each student's needs so that he and the student can agree on a realistic lesson plan with realistic goals. He focuses on asking each student exactly what they want to do in their first lesson and then sets up a realistic practice schedule with each student so that they can meet the goals they agree on. For the "doing it for fun" younger student, Jimi uses a philosophy that motivates the student to practice by using a work/fun balance that stresses working towards public performance when possible.
GET READY TO JAMN
One thing that Jimi thrives on as a teacher is to get each student to jam with the music. Whether it means that they sing or play along with the original version using CDs or with an IPOD or having his students play by ear, the student can sing and play using Karaoke or original recorded Versions in his studio, Jimi stresses the need to jam to give the feeling of performing to students as soon as possible. Without question, jamming, singing and playing with the song is the ultimate training for a musician.
MICROPHONES, TECHNOLOGIES AND GADGETS
One other important thing involved in Jimi's lessons is to get the student comfortable and effective with using a microphone for his singing students. Jimi has a complete professional PA system in his Metro Boston Studio to allow the student to work on microphone technique and monitoring techniques as well. Whether you or your child wants a casual "for fun" philosophy or you or your child are career minded about music, Jimi will find a fun philosophy for each student that is not necessarily a "one size fits all" approach. The cool resources and gadgets in Jimi's Music Studio include a state of the art PA System complete with Pro Equipment that will simulate Stage Performance for students. It allows the students at any level to sing with Produced Tracks or Basic Karaoke with Microphones as well as Pro Settings. The studio will give students the ability to perform in a private setting so that they can develop the skills to perform in public. Microphone and Monitoring Techniques are also worked on and Jimi also uses all of the Vocal Technology Products he endorses to make the student's voices even better with these awesome enhancements. The philosophy is to learn to sing without all of these enhancement products first and then put the student's voice over the top with them later. Jimi wants to get the students ready as fast as possible technically and then bring songs into the mix quickly as well.
PERSONAL STYLE DEVELOPMENT
While the student works on their songs, Jimi focuses on what kind of songs the student does exceptionally well and then builds on those strengths while working on the student's own unique personal style. If the Voice/Singing student is looking to be a Singer/Songwriter, Jimi also teaches Songwriting and Personal Style Development to enable each student to develop their own unique style through Artist Development practices that his company works on. Whether you're a Solo Artist or you're part of a band or group, Jimi will help you find your own personal style so that you are unique and not a copy of another artist .
While Jimi has no children of his own, his "kids" are his music students and he takes a lot of pride in watching them grow as musicians as well as in life.
NETWORKING AND KNOWING PEOPLE IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY AND JIMI'S PRODUCTION COMPANY
Jimi plays a wide variety of instruments and is a Songwriter, Record Producer, Studio Musician, Promoter and Talent Scout. His talent development company has existed since 1991 and has produced many shows in the New England area since then. In 2002, the company expanded and started to help musicians to expand their music careers and in 2009 Jimi's dream of having a recording studio was then realized. It enabled his voice students and talent clients to fully expand their careers by not only coaching with Jimi, but being produced and recorded in his company's studio. Jimi has produced demos and full CDs for his students and Talent Clients and has helped them to get their music careers going.
TEEN DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM AND MORE ON GETTING SCHOLARSHIPS AND GRANTS
Jimi is also responsible for preparing Teens for Colleges and University Programs that know they want to pursue music as a career. Jimi has not only been successful in getting his teen students into the college or university of their choice, but has also put his students in a position to get them substantial grants and full college and university scholarships. Jimi has also created a successful TEEN DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM (T.D.P.) for young teens who know that they want a music career.
The T.D.P. is designed so that if a young adult works with Jimi for numerous years that they can pick a career path suitable for them. The T.D.P. can have a student with any one of three career paths 1) College/University Path where a large repertoire and portfolio is created for presentation to Colleges and Universities to not only allow a student to get into the Higher Education Institution of their choice, but to get them the scholarships and grants that they deserve so that they and their parents are not shelling out as much as $300,000 for those costs. The Higher Education Plan is built on a the development of an impressive portfolio of hundreds of songs, Demo CD, Demo DVD, Original Songs and the building of a Performance Resume in the student's teen years.
This Portfolio is then presented to Higher Education Institutions to allow a realistic chance of getting into the college of their choice and getting substantial scholarship and grant money. The success of the T.D.P. is amazing as many of Jimi's students have been accepted into colleges and universities and received scholarships. 2) The second T.D.P. is for those students and parents who simply want to learn what they need to move their music careers by doing complete development with Jimi directly. While Jimi is a graduate of New England Conservatory of Music and stresses a college education, sometimes it isn't possible or sometimes career minded musicians simply want a teacher to guide them in their career path without going to college or a university. Some musicians who have a higher caliber of talent will take this path knowing that they or their parents might want to pay for the financing of a recording a professional CD with a modest budget compared to the potential $300,000 budget Higher Education Institutions charge.
If your child is considering a music career, whatever career path he or she decides, Jimi is more than qualified to help plan that path. Some of Jimi's students entering the T.D.P. Program have had Portfolios of over 500 songs in different genres of music, have impressive resumes, go out on acting auditions, have formed their own groups or developed themselves as solo artists and have also studied song writing with Jimi to realize their own dream of writing their own songs as well as recording them in his studio. The T.D.P is not for the casual student taking lessons for fun, but it is there if the student needs it. The resources that Jimi has to help his students and the network of musicians and music business people he knows is an incredible asset. 3) The Third Career Path of Jimi's T.D.P. is for the student to pursue both Career Paths 1 and 2). This can be accomplished by the talented and elite students that study with Jimi
ADULT CAREER MARKETING AND SOCIAL MEDIA
Jimi can help you with the marketing part of your career. The resources of his company allow his talent clients to develop websites, Press Kits, Electronic Press Kits, Produce Demos, CDs as well as develop a live show if your act is a solo artist or group. The phenomenon of Social Media which has blown up the past 18 months is staggering and music artists need to use that technology in promoting their careers. Studying with Jimi opens the door to all of the marketing things that his company does to promote his artists. There is nothing more gratifying to Jimi than seeing his students succeed. With the ever changing aspects of the business side of the music business, Jimi and his company have their hands on pulse of the future as well as the changes that happen daily.
Whatever walk of life you or your child come from, Jimi Z. will help you to become the singer and performer you want to be. Jimi can help you find your voice, make you sound and play great on your instrument or teach you musicianship skills that are essential to a successful music career. Or if you're taking lessons for fun, Jimi will teach you to love playing and have a fun and pleasurable experience.
Jimi takes pride in being a great and experienced teacher of over 30 years, but he is still an active performer and principal songwriter. Nothing makes Jimi happier than a student who grows as a musician in his studio that loves to play music and have fun.
*** Lesson Details *** TYPICAL LESSON PLAN FOR THE SINGING STUDENT:
THERE IS A SHORTER LEARNING CURVE FOR SINGERS (MONTHS NOT YEARS!!!)
One important thing to consider about taking Singing Lessons or Voice Lessons is that The Learning Curve is much quicker for both Adults and Children compared to the Learning Curve of other instruments like Guitar, Piano or Drums. There are certain aspects of learning to sing that make the learning curve happen within months and not years. This makes singing so much easier for everyone to learn in a timely manner. This can help with younger students who might be less patient and might have lower attention spans.
SINGERS ARE GUARANTEED TO EXPAND THEIR RANGE WITHOUT BELTING AND HURTING THEIR VOICE
Depending on whether the student is doing lessons for fun or for a possible career, Jimi Z.'s teaching philosophy stresses good vocal technique that allows the student to develop maximum vocal range to hit higher notes that they never could hit by relaxing the muscles in and around the larynx.
Students will learn good posture and breathing and learn how to execute singing by doing warm-up/workouts that strengthen the correct muscles in the larynx and the abdominal muscles. The philosophy of execution on these exercises will seamlessly transcend into doing the same execution in songs.
Students will receive a Warm-up/Workout CD to practice to which is easy to follow. Songs will be introduced as soon as possible. Tone will improve as muscles strengthen. Students will later work on Microphone Technique, using Vocal Technologies,effects and really cool gadgets that are available in Jimi's studio via his product endorsements, Monitoring and the development of the student's own personal style are worked on by Pro Students.
Later in the curriculum, students can look forward to not only enjoying the benefits of range expansion and good tone because of the relaxed vocal technique, but then they'll be able to explore further range expansion through Passsagio Bridging to the Mix Voice and Falsetto register combined with microphone technique. Students will have the opportunity to use Karaoke CDs as well as a device which removes vocals off of conventional Music CDs so that they can sing in a Pro setting that is live and true.
Overall the methods Jimi Z. uses are The McClosky Technique (Jimi is Certified), Bel Canto Technique, The Alexander Technique for alignment and body mapping and The Jimi Z. Pop Vocal Approach to singing. Jimi Z. takes his approach with each student individually.
TYPICAL LESSON PLAN FOR THE POP PIANO STUDENT
Pop Piano Students can look forward to an unconventional approach not used by many classical piano teachers. This is a welcome idea that most younger students welcome with open arms because you don't need to play classical music or be trained classically to effectively play Pop or Rock as many people will misunderstand as being the norm. Pop/Rock Piano Students can look forward to learning basic fingerings to formulate melody on both hands. All students will learn major scales and then learn to finger 3 note chords on both hands. It is then that the students start to jam to recorded CDs and keep up with the recorded version by playing simple chords and simple melodies. Later on in the development, if the student wants to take things to a higher level, improvisational studies can be introduced that are more difficult. A lot of time is spent learning things by ear and a lot of jamming is encouraged with simple songs first evolving into more challenging songs later on.
(FOR TYPICAL LESSON PLANS ON SAXOPHONE/CLARINET AND SONGWRITING PLEASE REFER TO THE ABOUT SECTION BELOW)
*** Studio Equipment *** COOL AMENITIES AND CONVENIENCES TO JIMI'S STUDENTS
Private entrance to the studio with a fantastic sitting and waiting area for parents with WiFi and DirectTV!
ACCESSIBLE BY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION AND FREE AND EASY PARKING AVAILABLE
Studio is also very convenient and accessible to all MBTA Lines and there is also Free Parking Year Round in a very safe neighborhood.
PIANO, TECHNOLOGIES AND GADGETS
Studio has an electric piano/keyboard, full PA system, microphones and state of the art Vocal Technologies and cool gadgets professional singers use. Karaoke and Production Tracks can also be used and one of Jimi's really cool gadgets removes vocals off regular CDs if students can't find a Karaoke Version of song they're performing. This allows every student to sing with cool equipment in the best setting possible. Students may also play their songs through their IPODS and our WiFi capability allows us to download songs from YouTube as well as give us the lightning fast ability to download songs and Karaoke from the MP3 download service.
MUSIC LIBRARY OF OVER 80,000 SONGS
Jimi Z's complete Music Library which is updated monthly with 80 new songs per month has over 80,000 songs spanning from 1930's/1940's Swing/Big Band era through all decades into our current decade. Jimi's 30 Years of being a teacher since 1981 allows him to know a lot of songs from all eras. Jimi can accompany his student's lessons as well and help you with correct song choices from the enormous library of music available.
Studio Equipment includes a Full 16 Channel PA System with JBL Speakers, TC Helicon Voice Monitors, TC Helicon Voice Live, TC Helicon Voice Pedals, JBL Wedge Monitors, VAM Acoustic Monitors, MP3 Recorder, Cassette Recorder, 2 PC Computers and a Professional American DJ System.
VOCAL THERAPY PRACTICE IS AVAILABLE WHEN NEEDED FOR CLIENTS WITH VOICE DISORDERS OR VOCAL ISSUES
Jimi's Voice Therapy Practice allows recommendations for Vocal Health Products such as Vaporizers and other products to keep your voice healthy. Our direct affiliation with major Ear, Nose and Throat Hospitals and their associated physicians can make your vocal health experience not only better for your voice in general, but we have direct access to reputable Ear, Nose and Throat Specialists that we work with in tandem that are experts in every medical voice disorder if you have any complications with your voice or your larynx overall.
*** Specialties *** McClosky Voice Technique, Alexander Voice Technique, Bel Canto Voice Technique, Jimi Z. Modern Voice Method. Being a voice-over actor and previous Broadway actor, I also use a lot of drama in performance styles.
Veena S. November 17, 2014
In studio Verified Student
Not only is Jimi a gifted musician, but he is a passionate teacher. It is evident how much he enjoys teaching through his exuberance and encouragement. We feel very fortunate to have found him. Our daughter is making huge strides in learning the saxophone, thanks to his positive reinforcement and love of the instrument.
Jonathan C. September 14, 2012
Singing Verified Student
A great experience with a skilled instructor
Above all else, Jimi knows what he's doing. His advice is exactly what I needed to improve me use of my voice. His knowledge of the human voice and various instructional methods is both broad and deep, and he draws on it effectively to give effective personalized advice.
Jimi is an endless wellspring of information and advice, and sometimes I want to do more singing and less listening. But when I do get to sing, I always find that the listening has paid off -- I'm improving fast, and it's because of his good teaching.
SarahD3 July 12, 2011
I think that you are doing a terrific job with Ben. He reports that he is learning a lot and he really loves the lessons.
Mary-Alexandra is available for acting lessons. If you are looking for acting for singers or foundations of acting you have come to the right place. We will look at a variety of acting styles and utilize these in preparation of monologues. I don't offer group lessons at the moment so the concentration will be one on one.
I've been studying voice since I was about 14 years. I grew up doing Musical Theatre, Jazz, Choir-both church and school. I started to fall in love with opera when I was about 16 years and have not looked back. I grew up in the mid-west in the grand land of Fargo, North Dakota and then started my education in Voice Performance and Theatre in Minnesota. I received my masters degree in voice performance and a post masters degree in Opera Studies from The New England Conservatory of Music. During my time in school I have had the chance to perform both in the United States and throughout Europe i
n many different performance settings including choral, recitals, and operas. I have also been teaching a wide age range of students through out my masters and post masters degree. I have a long resume of performance experiences that I believe will be beneficial to my students. I have a love of both performing and teaching and am still actively on stage and auditioning.
*** Lesson Details *** The key component to music of any kind is to have fun. If you are not having fun then it is not worth doing. The only way to run is to crawl, walk and then run so remember that with hard work and practice you will get where you need to go. I like to start my students off figuring out where they are in their musical studies and proficiency. For some students it is about having fun and for others its about getting ready for an audition or competition but in both situations we will focus on the major components of healthy singing which include:
Posture Breath Control And relaxed vocal production
We will always start the lesson out focusing on any questions you might have from your weeks practice time. If you might be confused on something that we did the week before- I think it is important to tape your lessons with some type of recording device but if that is too expensive I will write everything down for you. We then work on some of the old vocal warm ups/ vocalizes. These are not just about warming up but also working on technique at the same time. If there is a difficult part in your music I will try to find an exercise that will make it easier to do that section of music. And then we will spend some time on different music.
I have a large variety of curriculum ranging from art song books, to aria and Broadway books. If I don't have something in my library I will try to find it so don't feel hesitate to ask if there is something that you might like to learn.
*** Studio Equipment *** Home Studio with Keyboard, there is room for parents to sit if they would like to listen to their children's lesson.
*** Specialties *** I'm classical trained soprano with a background in Opera, Art Song, Oratorio, Musical Theatre and Jazz. I am open to teaching many different genres of music but have all my students learn the foundations which include some classical music. I will also do some basic theory or music knowledge depending the skill level of the student.
Nicole W. August 16, 2012
Singing Verified Student
What a wonderful teacher!
Mary always made me feel comfortable singing. Since I was a beginner, she gave me a lot of exercises to do outside our lessons to continue to strengthen my voice. In the few lessons we had, she gave me a lot to think about and I definitely learned a lot. I'm already a lot more confident with my voice and, using what she taught me, I know my voice will keep growing!
Looking to nail that next audition? Hoping to deepen your relationship with text? Do you get nervous when asked to speak in public? In private acting/storytelling lessons, we'll discuss tools and strategies to overcome onstage jitters, analyze and interpret text, connect with the body, and release blocks and tensions in order to let any story tell itself through you.
Hello! My name is Phil B., I'm a working theater artist, musician, composer, and educator based in Somerville, MA. I've taught performing arts to students ages 2-75 for the last six years with organizations like the American Repertory Theatre, Citi Performing Arts Center, 826 Boston, Boston University, Puppet Showplace Theatre, and Cambridge Public Schools.
My private lessons are completely flexible and designed to meet the needs and goals of each individual student wherever they are in their own unique creative journey.
GUITAR: Are you looking to finally play that dusty guitar that's b
een sitting in the corner forever? Has your child been begging you for lessons? Maybe you played a long time ago and want to tune up your skills, or be able to play music at your school or place of worship, or you're a singer who's looking to accompany yourself when playing gigs. I've taught students of all ages the basics of guitar from posture to theory, reading, chords, strumming, picking, and relaxation techniques to make this instrument feel like an extension of your own body.
VOICE/SINGING: Everyone is born with their own unique voice which, over the course of a lifetime, acquires its own unique habits, tensions, fears, limitations, and strengths. I firmly believe that anyone can sing once they understand the basics of vocal mechanics: need, thought, breath, and sound. Together, we'll work to release old habits and tensions, strengthen the vocal muscles and reconnect with the true voice deep inside you.
SONGWRITING: Is there a tune you can't get out of your head? Maybe that perfect rhyme seems just out of reach, or the next chord sounds all wrong? I've written countless songs for children, crafted original English lyrics and translations for foreign artists, and composed music for poetry and prose. My feedback system will help you communicate your thoughts and emotions clearly through words and music while fostering your own unique style, sound, and personal aesthetic.
ACTING/STORYTELLING: Looking to nail that next audition? Hoping to deepen your relationship with text? Do you get nervous when asked to speak in public? In private acting/storytelling lessons, we'll discuss tools and strategies to overcome onstage jitters, analyze and interpret text, connect with the body, and release blocks and tensions in order to let any story tell itself through you.
I am able to travel to anyone within walking distance of an MBTA station/stop or host students at my home studio between Porter and Union Squares in Somerville.
My goal as a teacher is to help each student recognize and actualize their own latent ability, passion, point-of-view, and spirit through performance. Every artistic venture is a new journey, and I'm eager to walk a part of it alongside you.
*** Studio Equipment *** Open space, speakers, music stand, acoustic instruments preferred.
*** Travel Equipment *** Guitar, Music Stand, Music Literature
*** Specialties *** Singer/Songwriter Style, Folk Singing, Musical Theatre Singing, Folk Guitar, Fingerpicking, Storytelling, Children's Music, Youth Music Education, Puppetry, Playwriting, Dramaturgy
Judy Y. May 20, 2015
In home Verified Student
Phil is the best!!! He is humorous and knows how to adapt method based on my situation. He also has a piano now :))))
Marie D. January 7, 2014
One of my sons has been taking guitar classes and singing classes from Mr. Phil for the last two years and both of my sons have taken his theater class. Mr. Phil is an excellent teacher, great with kids, lots of fun and a great musician. We have been very happy with his teaching.
Liz V. December 10, 2013
Phil is an awesome guitar teacher. He is very knowledgeable and uses my musical interests and reasons for learning (the guitar) to aid in teaching. He is able to adapt and meet me at my level yet pushes me to excel and reach my potential. I am always excited for every lesson!
Acting primarily taught through songs. Some through scripts.
Bryan graduated magna cum laude from the University of California, Irvine with his Masters in Fine Arts, vocal performance in 2013. In 2010 he received his Bachelors in Music from East Carolina University in vocal performance. He received vocal instruction from Dr. Darryl Taylor, Dr. Louise Toppin, and John Kramar. His piano instructors were Dr. Keiko Sekino and Rebecca Miller. He has performed in over thirteen fully-staged operatic productions and five fully-staged musical theater productions. Bryan will start work in the Fall on his Doctorate of Musical Arts in vocal performance at Bosto
Bryan has traveled extensively during his career throughout the U.S. as well as England, Austria, Italy, Turkey, Canada, and the Czech Republic. He has a firm knowledge of German, Italian, and French vocal repertory, diction, and languages while specializing in English diction for the non-native speaker and/or singer.
For the past three years Bryan has held his own music studio in Orange County, CA. While there he taught over thirty students (Ages 5-45+) voice and piano privately. Additionally he taught as a TA for UC Irvine int he subjects of Music Theory, Voice Performance, and an introductory music course for non-majors.
Ted S. April 14, 2015
In studio Verified Student
Bryan has been great to work with. He has a lot of patience, which is important for someone like me who has a very limited musical background. He is clearly well educated in singing and is able to impart his knowledge to his students. I believe that anyone who takes lessons with him has the potential to greatly improve.
cathy L. November 23, 2014 Verified Student
Bryan's concentration & stick-to-it-iveness is amazingly good!
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Check out some of these recent reviews.
Review by Amy
"Great, patient teacher for a new actor! My son really enjoyed the lessons and felt he learned a great deal! Plan to continue with more!"
Philadelphia, PA teacher:
Review by mohammed
"I have had an amazing experience with David. He has taken the time to truly get to know me and has set up our sessions based on what my goals are. He took
his time to really understand what I needed to take my skills to a higher level. I feel that I was able to open up to him with total confidence and trust. I feel that he takes his time to really understand his students and mold his sessions to the needs of his students. I honestly feel that I have found a mentor who I will be reaching out to for all my needs."
Atlanta, GA teacher:
Review by Marlies
"Builds my 6-year-old's confidence and celebrates her imagination
On a whim, I signed my daughter up for private acting lessons with Elise. I had and stil
l have no intention of turning my child into an actor--no performance goals at all. I just wanted to give Sophie an outlet to express her imaginative self and to show her that creativity and storytelling bring life-long joy.
Elise is as pleasant as her picture. She has a natural warmth and 'speaks kid.' She is highly receptive to ideas and we are able to reinforce what Sophie is learning in school, like identifying the beginning, middle, and end of stories.
I highly recommend Elise for anyone who wants to give their child a unique, confidence-building experience."
New York, NY teacher:
Review by ellia
"Breakthrough-making creative experience
I took a physical storytelling workshop with Monica in a small group setting (6 students) and didn't know what to
expect. I'm an experienced performer, but not an actor, and had no theater training background. The class blew my mind -- the exercises Monica led us through dissolved my defenses and self-consciousness, and made me think about my body as an instrument of expression in a way I never had before. She created a safe space for us all to be vulnerable, take risks, and tell the truth, and I felt I could really trust her as a teacher and guide. I feel like I made some real discoveries and connections in her workshop that continue to reverberate in my approach to communicating and being present in a performance setting."
New York, NY teacher:
Review by Nick
"Stephanie is a gifted teacher. I learned a lot about my craft from her. You'd be hard pressed to find a teacher as patient and gifted as her. Not to ment
ion the great price!"
New York, NY teacher:
Review by ilyse
"Amelia is brilliant, caring, and the real deal. I've never known anyone as adept at the classics, and in understanding how to make texts come alive."
Washington, DC teacher:
Review by Isaac
"Amelia Nickels is and forever will be one of the best acting coaches I've ever had the pleasure of studying under. I've come across many of coaches who ty
pically only push their favorite style or method of acting and that be it and if it doesn't agree with you the result will always be tragic. Ms. Nickels worked with me hand in hand to push out some of my best and most emotional pieces ever. Her years of experience have taught her all the tricks of the trade to push you and the product; whether it be introducing a silent character into your monologue to get a more physical and visceral reaction out of you or having you run continuously back and forth in a room to help control your breathing and pace, she has it all. She cares about her craft and more so she cares about her students who just may get so lucky as to call her friend. Not to mention I once auditioned for an NBC casting representative, John Ort (yeah that guy), who saw Amelia Nickels' name on my resume and had the most glowing things to say about her. I'm not saying her connections will land you on John Ort's Modern Family (which I hear he won awards for that casting) but what I am saying is that even after half a decade from training with her her tutelage still carries with me on every script I memorize, commercial copy I tackle, or sides I inflect (I'm not sure that's a word). She's the Vince Lombardi of acting coaches, the Julia Childs of teaching techniques, she's the single best acting decision I've ever made."
Washington, DC teacher:
Review by Candace
"I'm a singer and was looking to expand my professional acting career. Summer was a great instructor! I learned so much in my classes with him. He taught m
e about performing on stage and exercises and business tips to help me be a successful actor while off stage. We found new monologues, plays, and strengthened my old material. Thanks Summer!!"
Tallahassee, FL teacher:
Review by Marc
"I have been fortunate to work with Melanie on several theatre projects over many years, and have been always found her to be a complete professional in al
l aspects. As a student of hers I am impressed by the enthusiasm and energy she brings to class. She is always prepared and it is clear she had done her own homework before showing up. She is charming, encouraging and supportive with students, and strives to make learning fun and thoughtful. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience and shares it in a way that excites and motivates her students. She's a terrific teacher."
Los Angeles, CA teacher:
And they're not alone! Our teachers have taught
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Recent Acting Articles from the Blog
Whether you're just starting out or a seasoned pro,
check out the Acting articles on our blog.
Vying for your dream role on stage or on screen? Any audition can be scary, but especially so if it calls for reading a script without ever seeing it before. Here are some helpful audition tips from Huntington Beach, CA teacher Natalie E. to help you prepare with confidence...
Preparing for a cold reading audition can seem like a daunting task. How can I make strong choices if I'm still on book? How can I truly capture the life of the character if Im only reading a couple of …
How to Prepare for a Cold Reading Audition in 4 Easy Steps
Vying for your dream role on stage or on screen? Any audition can be scary, but especially so if it calls for reading a script without ever seeing it before. Here are some helpful audition tips from Huntington Beach, CA teacher Natalie E. to help you prepare with confidence...
Preparing for a cold reading audition can seem like a daunting task. How can I make strong choices if I'm still on book? How can I truly capture the life of the character if Im only reading a couple of
Acting Tips: Change Your Perspective on Auditions
If you're heading to an audition, should you care about getting the part? In the video below, Marietta acting teacher Erin B. shares some acting tips and why it might actually be better not to worry so much about the outcome of your next audition:
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Acting for Kids: How to Find Chicago Theater Opportunities & Auditions
Does your kid have what it takes to storm the Windy City? If you live in Chicago, you'll find inspiration abounds as theater and the performing arts are such a big part of the culture. This means that your child has lots of opportunities to become a star within the Chicago theater scene!
Know the Big Opportunities
There are a number of production agencies in Chicago, including Alphabet Soup Productions. These performances are not exclusively cast with children, but they do audition for child
Super Cute Kids Re-Enact 2014 Oscar Nominated Films So You Don't Have To
Wow, the Oscars are coming up fast! The 2014 Academy Awards will air this Sunday, March 2. If you haven't had time to catch all of this year's big pictures (or just haven't made your own viral re-enactments yet), let these amazing kids take care of business for you.
My personal fave is the mini-Joaquin Phoenix in Her. Shout out to mom.me and Cinefix for this cool collaboration!
All you movie buffs out there can learn more about the grown-up actors nominated this year, follow our blog
3 Drama Games for Learning Method Acting
Method acting requires you to fully embrace your transformation into your character. To create an authentic experience for your audience, you need to lose the speech inflections, facial expressions, and physical mannerisms that wouldn't make sense. For example, when an actor plays a depressed man, his cynical speech won't be convincing if he delivers it with perfect, confident posture.
When Hollywood stars stay in character between takes, or improv comedians wear disguises to interact with un
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