My teaching philosophy is rooted in a desire to help students channel their inner creativity and artistic passion through their voice. My first priority is to create an atmosphere in which students can explore, create, fail, and succeed without fear of judgment. From there, I give students the technique and musical guidance needed to achieve their artistic goals. I believe that music is a serious business that requires immense technique and rigorous dedication, but I believe great technique can be achieved through love and joy, and not just fear.
Prior to moving to Worcester in 2016, I performed and taught extensively in Philadelphia. I taught voice classes and private lessons at Temple Univ. from 2012-2016. I taught voice majors as well as non-music majors. I served as a teaching artist with Opera Philadelphia from 2014-2016. We focused on bringing opera to Philly public K-12 classrooms. I am currently working on my doctorate in Vocal Performance.
As the instructor for the series of “Voice Class for Non-Majors” at Temple University, I tailored my teaching for each student’s individual abilities and goals. Because the classes were open to undergraduate students across all majors, each class was a unique microcosm of the university. Students who had never taken a voice lesson or whose only singing experience was in the car were seated next to students who had years of training but had decided to take another career path. I designed the group exercises to take into account this discrepancy in skill. Furthermore, when designing these exercises, I accounted for the fact that certain students develop at different rates over the course of two semesters.
A large portion of class time was devoted to working with students individually in a “masterclass” type setting. Most students in the classes for non-music majors gravitated towards contemporary singing styles. Although we worked extensively on developing and improving the modern “belt” and “pop” sound, I grounded my approach to the modern aesthetic on fundamentally classical concepts. I encouraged the use of head and mixed voice along with the free flow of air and other factors such as diction to produce that modern sound in a healthier way.
Teaching the two-part series of “Voice Class for Music Majors” required a slightly different approach to classroom management and artistic expectations. Because this class was a requirement for music education and music therapy majors whose primary instrument was not voice, the course was designed with an emphasis on detailed pedagogical explanations. Along with the goal of becoming better singers, I gave students the fundamentals of classical vocal technique to help them become better choral directors, music educators, and music therapists. We also devoted several classes to the study of anatomy as it relates to singing and we explored vocal health. The fundamentals of proper English, Italian, French, and German diction, musicality, and stage presence were also covered in class.
Starting in the fall of 2012, I began teaching voice lessons to classical and musical theater voice majors at Temple University. I believe a good voice teacher recognizes the unique needs of each student and tailors exercises, repertoire, and teaching method to that student’s needs. Although the fundamentals of technique do not change, the method in which that technique is administered changes depending on the student. Each lesson was structured to provide ample time for working exercises, coaching repertoire, exploring various aspects of musicality such as expression and diction, and, when appropriate, discussing the realities of a career in the performing arts.
The Zion Men's Chorus is a group of core male singers from Korean United Church of Philadelphia. The 12-member chorus meets weekly to rehearse.
As an inaugural member of the teaching artist team for Opera Philadelphia, we developed curriculum suitable for Philadelphia public school K-12 classrooms and taught a variety of classroom lessons. The lessons ranged from producing and directing an opera scene with second graders to leading in-depth discussions of music and style with high school students. The need for flexibility and adaptability when entering a new classroom every day is a skill that I’ve learned to transfer into my teaching at the collegiate level.
My work with Opera Philadelphia culminated this past spring with the development and launch of a new program called Philly Teen Technical Theater Corps. This program is designed to teach urban high school students practical workplace readiness skills such as resume writing and interview skills, and to expose and inspire these students to a career in technical theater.
During my two years as a teaching artist, I had the privilege of working directly with nearly 3000 students throughout Philadelphia. Our key mandate was to bring the full richness of music to the poorest neighborhoods. Most of these students do not have a music program in their school, so to have the opportunity to share and create music with them was a tremendous blessing. However, to dismiss walking into a classroom full of young students every morning, some of whom not having had a real meal since school lunch the day before, as merely fun and easy would be a lie. In fact, it was incredibly hard work. However, hearing students walk to their next class singing a line from an opera we watched or addressing each other with phrases like “Ciao bella/o” instead of the phrases they might normally use was tremendously inspiring and encouraging.
Tune Up Philly, led by Director Paul Smith, is an afterschool ‘El Sistema’ type music program with a network of 5 schools and community centers. Having studied the clarinet throughout my youth and during my undergraduate years before finding my singing voice, I had the great pleasure of sharing my first-love with many eager students. Students ranged in age from 8-13.
Korean United Church is one of the oldest and largest Korean-American churches in the Philadelphia region. The choir that I served initially as tenor soloist/section leader and then as assistant conductor consists of around 55 members. The choir provides music for Sunday services year-round.
As a Resident Artist, I performed as Rodolfo (La Boheme) and as Giet Long (Slaying the Dragon) in the company's mainstage productions. I was also involved with outreach programs in schools. In an effort to bring opera to young adults, we began an outreach program called "Opera Afterhours." We took over a neighborhood bar for a few hours and provided entertainment while patrons imbibed.
An American labor union that represents 8,000 current and retired opera singers, ballet and other dancers, opera directors, backstage production personnel at opera and dance companies, and figure skaters.