July 15, 2015
Opera Voice ·
The first time I had a lesson with Gregory, when I got in my car and drove home, I cried. Not because it was awful, but because I was so overjoyed that in that hour, I felt more connected to my voice than I ever had, and I had hope that with his help I could grow into singer that was trapped inside. Five years later, I have certainly found that to be the case. Gregory has this wonderful ability to identify what you're doing "wrong" with your voice, or what is causing discomfort, and then helps you free your voice in a way that is easy to understand, and FUN. When Gregory asks me to do something, the majority of the time his way of explaining it clicks immediately and voila! — there is my voice! When I first went to Gregory, my voice was tied up; I was strangling myself, and the different parts of my voice were not unified. I was absolutely terrified of singing "high." In my work with him, he's overhauled my voice and given me the tools to access my true voice. Pieces that I wouldn't have even attempted to sing, I was then able to explore, and now they flow easily and in many cases are spectacular and brilliant. It is also extremely important to note Gregory's approach to the psychological woes of singing. As someone who suffers some performance anxiety, panic attacks, and occasionally a lack of confidence in my abilities, Gregory has been a wonderful support. He is patient, kind, and he doesn't let me beat myself up. With that support I have been able to respect and care for myself more as a singer and a person. Do you want to blossom? Go with Gregory.
July 12, 2015
Classical Voice ·
I took voice lessons for years with Gregory, and he was fantastic on all fronts.
Thinking about objectives for why people take voice lessons, Gregory is very frank and helpful, asking the question "do you WANT to sing, or do you NEED to sing?" It's a really important question to ask, but many voice teachers don't bother to understand the student's motivations first.
I always quote from Gregory's essay about becoming an opera singer-- it's great life advice, and wise advice, even outside of opera.
Gregory is extremely professional in the studio. During the years I was studying with him, he never cancelled, nor was he ever late. He didn't gossip or complain, like some other voice teachers I've had. The time in the studio was all about my vocal development.
He is also a phenomenally talented singer, as evidenced by his illustrious career. He has a deep understanding of the demands of an active performing career, and helps prepare, both vocally and otherwise.
Gregory helped mightily with my technique. When I began lessons, I had pretty good sound and mechanism, but focus and control were uneven, and I didn't yet have a stage-reliable "G" as a baritone. Over the years, my focus, breath control, and agility became quite reliable.
I appreciate his vocal exercises; each one tends to isolate one aspect of vocal training, rather than vocal exercises that work on several elements at once.
He is also encyclopedic about vocal repertoire and specific singers; he is equally passionate about opera and musical theater. I studied almost exclusively classical pieces, but he did have me learn "If I Loved You" and "Hey There", which I work into my repertoire from time to time.
There's so much to say, but I'll wrap up by saying that Gregory is also extremely supportive and generous. There was a point during which I was having a really tough time with auditions, getting no positive feedback at all, even though I felt I was singing well. I decided to just stop auditioning, but he encouraged me to hang in there, and invited me to participate in the weekly audition-prep workshop that he co-organized. He did this for free, purely as a service to the local singing community, once a week. While I didn't participate as often as I should have, just after nearly giving up on getting gigs, I got my first call for a leading role, and since, I've been able to perform as often as my schedule allows.
I can't recommend Gregory highly enough. He has vocal talent, teaching talent, musical talent, empathy, generosity, and professionalism.