Julia Vaara
Portland, OR
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Julia Vaara

Julia V.

Portland, OR
Profile-background-check Background Check
This teacher successfully passed a thorough criminal background check with SterlingBackcheck. This badge verifies trusted teacher status.
Profile-student-favorite Student Favorite
This teacher is rated in the top 15% of teachers in the specialty subject. This badge demonstrates subject mastery on a nationwide scale.
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Levels taught:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Opera is an amazing art form; the human voice can be so focused that it can carry over an entire orchestra with no amplification. Whether you aspire to this art form or just want to strengthen your sound, it is great to learn how to support and project your voice and to keep it healthy for a lifetime of singing enjoyment.
I recommend adults take from 45 minutes to 1 hour lessons weekly for skill building.

About Julia V.

I have a Master’s in Opera Performance from the Boston and New England Conservatories and graduated from Vocal Performance programs at Boston University and Western Washington University. I have sung professionally with Boston Lyric Opera, Children’s Theater Companies, churches and synagogue and have toured on the east coast as well as Athens, Greece. Premiering new music is a specialty. I can help you prepare your pieces for auditions.  My students have successful auditions for college opera and music theater programs, and as choir soloists.

Students gain a larger vocal range and an easy, natural way of singing whether in a band, choir or as a soloist. Together we find the joy of singing while building a solid technique.

I have toured with artist in schools programs introducing children to classical music and theater.   I was adjunct faculty at the College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University. I teach at local music schools as well as maintaining my private teaching practice.

*** Lesson Details ***
I am persistent and positive! Working and performing with singers and master teachers has helped me to be a resourceful teacher who understands the process of becoming a singer. I believe that a sense of fun and play helps you to accomplish your goals quickly.  For beginners you will learn how the voice works and how to care for and develop your instrument, I recommend adults take 45" - 1 hour lessons weekly for skill building. We will choose music that interests you and helps to build your voice starting with basics before moving to more complex and challenging music. Understanding music theory and sight-reading will help you get the most out of your singing. After 3 - 6 months you should have a good command of breathing and an understanding of how to sing with an expressive tone. For the advanced student, I can help you work on trouble spots and give you tools to help with the changes that voices naturally go through.  I look forward to giving you my full focus and celebrating your growth and accomplishments!

*** Studio Equipment ***

Library of vocal, early piano music and music theory, giving the student a way to sample different kinds of songs before purchasing books or downloading songs on their own. Music stand, iPhone plug-in/Amp for accompaniments and examples you want me to hear.

*** On-Line Lessons ***
Fast internet connection. Free App for rockoutloud.live platform
I provide a basic library of vocal music at my home studio and pull targeted books for each student. Students may join Newszik and MuseScore to share scores on iPad and/or should plan to print out their current songs in order to mark their scores.
Please provide a keyboard, music stand and notebook as well as a low distraction environment.

*** Specialties ***
As an opera and musical theater, Oratorio and church singer, I help singers of all levels improve within their genre from popular music to opera. A good singing technique will help performers in any style stay healthy and enjoy an expressive singing instrument.


Write a Review
40 Reviews
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Julia is a superb, sensitive coach, who knows how to help her students connect with their audiences through body language, voice tone, and word selection and emphasis. She gives one the confidence to be at his or her best when in front of the audience. She has helped me with every critically important speech I have delivered during the last 5 years. I look forward to working with Julia again on my next audience-facing event.

Posted Sep 7, 2021
Profile-location-online Online

Julia is a great voice teacher. She goes beyond exercises and posture and talks about presentation, mood, musicianship, connecting with an audience. One of her expressions is "Reach for the joy!" I am an old guy and have been playing various instruments forever but never studied voice. Her lessons are always inspiring and have given me not just technique, but truly a new outlook on life.

Posted Sep 1, 2021
Profile-location-online Online

I began taking lessons with Julia back in March 2020 and I am still continuing lessons with her. I am training in classical/opera and musical theater performance. I have been singing since a very young age and no teacher has taught me what Julia has taught me. She has pointed out in detail how I am singing and where to properly sing using different vocal techniques. Julia will break down step by step, body posture, breathing, and vocal placement when developing and learning vocal skills and techniques. Techniques that I was never properly taught or aware of. With her incredible ear, instructions and teaching, I have felt such a large improvement in my singing capability in a course of year and as helped me achieve my goals and build confidence whenever I have the opportunity to perform. Julia is absolutely talented and I am so grateful she is my teacher. I highly recommend for any aspiring classical, musical or opera singer to take lessons with her.

Posted Aug 31, 2021
Profile-location-online Online

Julia had wonderful ideas to further my 4-yr-old’s love of singing. She is wonderful with young children, and fun to learn from. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience to draw upon, and a beautiful voice.

Posted Apr 24, 2020
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

My daughter has learned so much with Julia in the past few weeks. It's been a true pleasure to witness the progress. They have worked on sight reading, tone, physical posture, and many other aspects of singing and sound production. Julia is a very caring and supportive instructor. She is full of enthusiasm and humor, and this shows in her choice of singing materials. We look forward to having more lessons with her!

Posted Sep 9, 2019
Nathaniel H.
Profile-location-online Online

Online one lesson in so far, but Julia seems to be a very talented and patient instructor for children.

Posted Jun 22, 2019
Eliza K.
Profile-location-online Online

I really appreicate Julia's flexible schedule!

Posted May 9, 2019
Danielle A.
Profile-location-online Online

Amazing instructor. Kind and professional!

Posted Jan 25, 2019
Diana V.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Great experience. Julia very nice professional and patient. I love her teaching style.

Posted Nov 28, 2018
Izzy A.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

This teacher is amazing and very kind. I had only two lessons with her and I feel amazing already I will see when how I am when I finish the package that I picked finishes.

Posted Sep 30, 2018
Profile-location-online Online

She not only teaches you how to play piano, but also how to be a better musician in general. I

Posted Sep 5, 2018
Alexandria G.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Awesome teacher

Posted Aug 16, 2018
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

She's an awesome teacher.

Posted Jul 23, 2018
Elizabeth L.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Julia is simply amazing. She is the kindest person and her love of music and caring of others resonates through her teaching method. I was a turtle in my shell who lost her voice. Julia found my voice and helped me out of my shell. She is incredibly accomodating, patient, wonderful with any age student, and any level of experience.

Posted Jun 15, 2018
Reilly C.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

She is absolutely wonderful! Julia is a fantastic teacher and just a phenomenal person to sing with! She really takes the edge off for new students and new singers which helped out a lot!

Posted May 4, 2018
Helen B.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Helen just loved you, looking forward to next visit.

Posted Feb 22, 2018
Jim S.
Profile-location-online Online

Great lesson. Thanks Julia.

Posted Feb 5, 2018
Jim S.
Profile-location-online Online

Great first lesson. Really enjoyed Julia's style. Will be very helpful for me.

Posted Feb 2, 2018
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Fun and easy to learn from. I’m excited to do my homework and for the next lesson

Posted Jan 24, 2018
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

I Loved learning from Julia and hope to make my way to Portland again in the Future. She was kind, understanding and taught me so much more about my vocal possibilities. Thank You!

Posted Nov 9, 2017
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Julia is a joy and wonder to work with. She teaches with phenomenal skill and great heart, which makes each lesson easy, productive and fun while really working hard. I look forward to every session and to seeing her as well.

Posted Jun 20, 2017
Anne Marie
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Warm welcome led into warm lesson. Already have 3 key things to work on!

Posted Jan 3, 2017
Neely M.
Profile-location-home Student's Home

Thanks for the great lessons for Neely!

Posted Oct 14, 2016
Alexis B.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Julia is an excellent vocal coach ! She's helped me come out of my shell and discover my vocal talents. Every lesson with her has been meaningful and inspirational. At first I was very shy and hesitant about pursuing lessons, but I'm glad I did ! I look forward to everything else she has to teach me.

Posted Jul 23, 2015
Ivanna P.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Very professional, knowledgeable. Great teacher.

Posted Jul 9, 2015
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

I am 60 years old, have some musical background, have never, ever sung, and have wanted to rectify that for several years. For me, Julia is perfect, and if I say that I am finding my lessons life-changing, it is not an exaggeration. Julia is experienced, skilled, warm, attentive, and observant. I look forward very much to my next lesson.

Posted Jun 30, 2015
Chelsea H.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Very knowledgable and very relatable. Super nice and fun. Extremely helpful and good listener. Focuses on everything you, specifically, need help with.

Posted Jun 9, 2015
Ian V.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Julia is an incredible vocal teacher! I did extensive research on local vocal coaches and she is by far the most experienced. I have had major improvements since my first lesson with her. She is an amazing singer and knows everything about vocal technique. She teaches every style and can help you whether you are a beginner or master singer. I highly recommend anyone who wants to strengthen their voice to meet with her! Thanks Julia for being such a great teacher!

Posted Jun 8, 2015
Janice Neer
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

She's a lot of fun, I enjoyed the time I spent there. I can't wait until my next lesson.

Posted May 23, 2015
(Grandma) Deb for maleena N.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Julia is very animated and knows how to keep Maleena engaged and excited to come each week. This is a great experience for my granddaughter.

Posted Dec 15, 2014
(Grandma) Deb for maleena N.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

We have had 3 lessons and so far it has been really fun. Maleena is excited each time she comes to her lesson.

Posted Oct 20, 2014
Pani M.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

She is awesome. She has a different way of teaching vocal. She makes singing fun and easy. She has a way to interest people in vocal. I wanted to be a pop singer and I still do I never listened to Broadway music much but she gave me a list of songs from Broadway and I loved it! It's just so different and fun working with her.

Posted Jul 22, 2014
Eldon H.

Helped me build my voice

Julia V. taught me that we all really can sing, we’ve just filled our heads with mistakes we were taught as children and a sense of embarrassment about singing. She has released me from those old thought habits and helped me regain good posture (“sternum up and proud”), open up my lungs, build a solid foundation for air flow, take the tension off my vocal cords, and tell stories in song. Like the way we naturally talk.

Posted Mar 6, 2014
Derek N.

I've found the right person to build my career

I already had a new music career underway with two releases on the international marketplace, but I knew in order to compete against the masses and gain the attention of more fans, I needed to step things up a notch and push myself far beyond my safety zone. When I spoke with the folks at TakeLessons.com, they told me about Julia, about her credentials, and felt she would be the best fit for me. Julie has been nothing but a blessing! Not only does she have advanced education in music, but she also has the experience to get me where I need to be. Weekly, she has worked with me not only on voice theory and techniques, but I was able to bring my own vocal pieces that we've been working on for my album, and my singing has never been so good! If you're serious and are looking to really change your life with music, this is the person you want and need. I have no desire to go anywhere else.

Posted Mar 4, 2014
marsha S.

wonderful singing teacher

I was a hopeless, awkward beginner. within a few lessons, I was able to enjoy singing, and lost my self-consciousness.

I would recommend Julia to anyone

Posted Dec 13, 2013
Kim T.

Julia is an AWESOME voice coach!

My daughter has a pretty good voice, but Julia is taking her to a whole new level. Julia is kind and sweet on top of being a great teacher. My daughter used to not want to go to voice lessons, but now she can't wait. It is true...the teacher makes the difference! We are very happy with Julia and the results my daughter is getting in voice improvement and breathing techniques. My daughter loves Broadway, but now after working with Julia she is determined to develop an Opera voice!

Posted May 3, 2013
Kady C.
Profile-location-online Online

Posted Oct 7, 2019
Kady C.
Profile-location-online Online

Posted Feb 11, 2019
Shijie R.
Profile-location-online Online

Posted Sep 10, 2018
Kady C.
Profile-location-online Online

Posted May 31, 2018

Photos & Videos

5 Photos & Videos


Private Studio
Jan 2010 - Present

Vaara Music

Voice teacher including singing lessons and public speaking coaching as well as practical music theory, sight reading and piano. With one to one private lessons, all students receive a personal practice plan that works with their goals.

Voice Teacher
Jan 1996 - Jan 2004

Schmitt Music, Roseville, Minnesota

Teach a variety of music students of all ages singing and prepare quarterly recitals for parents and supporters.

Adjunct Voice Faculty
Aug 2000 - Jan 2002

College of St. Benedict/St. John's University

Teach individual lessons to college students, preparing them for voice juries and auditions. Teach and facilitate a performing masterclass weekly.


Artist's Certificate
Sep 1988 - Jun 1990

Boston University, School of Fine Arts, Opera Institute

Voice Performance
Jul 1988 - Aug 1989

Tanglewood Phyllis Curtin Seminar for Singers

Master's of Music
Sep 1984 - Jun 1986

Opera Dept. of the Boston & New England Conservatories

Bachelor of Arts, Vocal Performance
Sep 1980 - Jun 1984

Western Washington University



Limited Proficiency


Limited Proficiency


Limited Proficiency


Apr 2019

Oregon Music Teachers Association

Graded levels and continuing education.
Adult and Child CPR Certified
Dec 2012

American Red Cross

Always good to know that your singing teacher is prepared, just in case. I keep my CPR certification current because I work with new families in my role as a lactation consultant and postpartum doula where singing helps to calm and support new parents and their babies. Current thru January 2017


Grant for performance of the mono-drama Miss Havisham's Wedding Night
Jan 1990

First Night, Boston

Cook Scholarship for two years of graduate school
Aug 1988

Boston University


Suzuki Association of the Americas
Jan 2020
The Suzuki Association of the Americas (SAA) is a coalition of teachers, parents, educators, and others who are interested in making music education available to all children. The SAA provides programs and services to members throughout North and South America.
National Association of Teachers of Singing
Jan 2020
Founded in 1944, National Association of Teachers of Singing, Inc. (NATS) is the largest professional association of teachers of singing in the world with more than 7,000 members worldwide.
American Guild of Musical Artists
Jan 1997
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.
Opera America
Jan 1991
OPERA America draws on resources and expertise from within and beyond the opera field to advance a mutually beneficial agenda that serves and strengthens the field through programs in the following categories: Creation: Artistic services that help artists and companies increase the creativity and excellence of opera productions, especially North American works; Presentation: Opera company services that address the specific needs of staff, trustees and volunteers; Enjoyment: Education, audience development and community services that increase all forms of opera appreciation.

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