My name is very unusual, so some students have difficulty pronouncing it. You pronounce the "y" as in "sky" and the "the" as in "breathe". My name has only one syllable. Don't worry if you're still having trouble with it--I'll help you out at our first lesson.
I grew up in southeast Michigan and have been in love with music for as long as I can remember. I started violin lessons when I was three years old and at five I became the youngest student ever accepted into the studio of James Waring, now-retired violinist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Under Mr. Waring, I developed a solid virtuoso technique and worked on chamber music as well as solo and concerto repertoire for the violin. While I was an undergraduate student at Westminster Choir College, I continued my violin study with Dr. Mia Wu.
After six years of violin study, I added piano lessons. I studied with Catherine Rollin, an internationally-known teacher and composer. Ms. Rollin's practical approach to technique and musicianship has been extremely influential in my own teaching, and I use her exercises and compositions with my students. I studied a wide range of repertoire with Ms. Rollin but my very favorite pieces were those by Bach, Chopin, and Debussy.
I sang in choirs throughout my childhood and began taking voice lessons in high school. I eventually decided to study voice performance at Westminster Choir College, where I completed my Bachelor of Music degree in 2004 and my Master of Music degree in vocal pedagogy and performance in 2008. While a student at Westminster, I performed the soprano roles of Ifigenia in Handel's Oreste, Amy in Mark Adamo's Little Women, and Janthe in Heinrich Marschner's Der Vampyr. I have coached with Daniel Beckwith, J. J. Penna, and Dalton Baldwin, and was privileged to sing in the Westminster Choir and the Westminster Symphonic Choir under Dr. Joseph Flummerfelt. With the Westminster Choir, I recorded the album Heaven to Earth and performed in Lakmé and I Capuleti e i Montecchi at the Spoleto Festival U.S.A. in Charleston, South Carolina. I also performed Handel's Messiah with Sir Neville Marriner and Nicholas McGegan, Mahler's Symphony No. 3 with Sir Michael Tilson Thomas and Lorin Maazel, Berlioz's Requiem with Charles Dutoit, and Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with Lorin Maazel.
I have taught in the Princeton area since 2008, maintaining a studio of about twenty-five voice, piano, and violin students. In addition, I sing as cantor and soprano section leader at Queenship of Mary Catholic Church. I live with my husband, Jerome, in Plainsboro and I love to knit, crochet, and sew when I'm not teaching or performing.
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Violin students MUST bring their own instruments to the first lesson. Piano students must have their own pianos when lessons begin. I strongly recommend an acoustic piano even for beginning students, but a full-size (88 keys) touch-sensitive electronic keyboard is also acceptable. Voice students are encouraged to practice with a piano or electronic keyboard but may use an online keyboard to check pitches if they do not own a piano. TakeLessons can put you in contact with me if you have questions about purchasing or renting instruments.
My goal in teaching is to foster a love of music and a passion for the arts. I focus on developing my students as musicians in general and on a relaxed technique that will allow for the best possible artistic expression.
I have found that my students who practice regularly find their lessons rewarding and enjoyable and tend to make significant progress. That said, not every student decides to take lessons because he or she wants to become a professional musician.
Violin and piano students should practice every day. Voice students should practice six days a week, taking one day to rest their voices both from solo practice and choirs or any other activities that involve significant vocal use.
I encourage parents of younger children to attend lessons and help their children practice. It doesn't matter if you aren't a musician yourself. Just encouraging your child to focus and to remember what he or she worked on at the last lesson will help enormously.
Practice time will vary depending on the student. All students should begin their practice with some stretching to loosen up their muscles, followed by the scales and exercises we worked on during their lessons. Students should try to practice fifteen minutes to one hour each day, depending on age. This time may be broken into two or three shorter sessions depending on the student's stamina. If you have just begun taking lessons, an uninterrupted hour of practice may be quite exhausting. You can still practice for an hour each day, but you may prefer to divide your time into three twenty-minute segments. Voice students especially are encouraged to divide their practice into shorter sessions, even if they have been singing for several years. The more you practice, the faster you will progress, and the sooner you will be able to begin working on more challenging and interesting music.
Even if you already know how to read music, we will probably spend some time talking about music theory. Beginning students especially will have a theory and/or notespeller book with assignments each week. If there is something in your theory assignment that you do not understand, you may skip that part and ask me about it at your next lesson. If you finish your assignment quickly, I encourage you to work ahead. Again, the more theory you learn, the easier it will be to learn new music, and the sooner you will be able to work on more advanced music.
Some students choose to take a break from their lessons during the summer months or the holiday season. While it is good to take a day off once in a while and I encourage students to take a week off after a big recital, you will lose a lot of ground if you spend two or three months without any practicing or lessons. If you are really interested in making a lot of progress during a vacation from school, I am happy to work with you twice a week so you can improve even more quickly. I had two violin lessons a week for a summer when I was younger and two voice lessons a week for a few months during college, and it made a huge difference. Please note that I cannot hold your spot in my schedule if you miss more than two lessons in a row.
I teach my students about the anatomy of breathing and tone production, focusing on breath energy and a released sound. I use fixed-Do solfege to teach note-reading and develop the ear. I am careful to assign repertoire that is at my students' level, challenging them musically but not going beyond what is appropriate for their vocal development. This avoids tension and injury and inspires confidence as students study music that they are able to sing well.
I teach classical/opera and Broadway singing styles. I do not teach pop singing. I accept voice students ages fourteen and older. I encourage younger students interested in voice lessons to consider joining a choir and/or taking lessons on another instrument instead. In my professional opinion, the voice is not sufficiently developed before age fourteen and there is a greater risk of injury in private voice lessons. In a choir, children are directed to sing in a healthy way for their age and learn valuable musicianship and aural skills.
I do not accept male voice students. I do not feel that my understanding of the male voice is adequate to provide the level of instruction that I expect from myself. There are many female voice teachers who are comfortable teaching male students, and vice versa. TakeLessons can help you find the teacher who is perfect for you!
Beginning students work from the Alfred Premier Piano Course, later transitioning to the Pathways to Artistry series by my former teacher, Catherine Rollin. We work on developing a curved hand position with relaxed wrists and strong finger joints. I use technical exercises to teach artistic expression rather than teaching these two elements separately. Beginning students count and sing note names out loud to integrate theory and note-reading with their playing. I accept piano students ages five and older. I do not accept piano students younger than five because their hands are often too small to play comfortably.
My beginning students use the Suzuki Violin Method books and later transition to a series of etude books and repertoire selected depending on the student's level. I teach beginning students a modified version of the Suzuki method but incorporate note-reading and theory skills from the very beginning. I focus on a relaxed and natural hold of the violin and bow to avoid tension and technical problems that can lead to injury. Students who learn to hold their instruments correctly progress more quickly and are better able to express themselves artistically. I work with my students on development of their aural skills, concentrating on pitch accuracy and a sensitive ear. I accept violin students ages three and older pending an evaluation by myself and the student's parent of the student's maturity.
I am the principal cantor, soprano soloist, psalmist, and leader of song. I also assist in rehearsals for the Children's and Adult Choirs and help with liturgical planning.
Teach private voice, piano, and violin lessons to students ages 3 to adult.
I helped lead the soprano section and sang solos occasionally with this group, which performs four times per year in the Princeton area.