Julia Vaara

Julia V.

Portland, OR
100% Satisfaction Guarantee

100% Satisfaction Guarantee

Try the first lesson and if you’re not satisfied we'll refund any unused lessons.

Lesson Details


Levels Taught:
Beginner, Intermediate

I teach using a combination of your books and Hal Leonard method books depending on your level. I specialize in playing ergonomically and musically so that you can enjoy making music!

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Julia teaches



Julia passed a background check that includes a SSN verification, national criminal record check, and sex offender registry search. Learn More
Julia delivers an exceptional lesson experience and ranks in the top 15% of our teachers nationwide.
Teaches students:
Ages 9+

Teaching since:
January 1987

I have a Master’s in Opera Performance from the Boston and New England Conservatories as well as graduating 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 it is in a rock band, choir or as a soloist. Together we find the joy of singing while building a solid technique.

I have worked with small children as a Musikgarten teacher and have toured artist residency programs which introduce children to music and theater in schools.   I was adjunct faculty at the College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University and local music studios 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 ***
Condo w/ open area with piano. Visitor's parking lot w/ seating in studio for parents to listen. Parents with younger siblings can use play areas outside.
Basic library of vocal music, 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.

*** Travel Equipment ***
I provide a basic library of vocal music at my home studio and will bring targeted books with me. Students should print out their favorite popular songs from such services as Music Notes website.
I expect my students to 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.

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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


French, German, Italian
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

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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


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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Photos & Videos

Photo by Julia V.

Photo by Julia V.

Photo by Julia V.

Entrance from street heading East.

Teaching studio

Parent seating in studio
+ 2 more

35 Reviews

Write a Review
Catherine Sep 9, 2019
Singing · In 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!

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Nathaniel H. Jun 22, 2019
Singing · Online

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

Eliza K. May 9, 2019
Singing · Online

I really appreicate Julia's flexible schedule!

Kady C. Feb 11, 2019
Singing · Online

Danielle A. Jan 25, 2019
Opera Voice · Online

Amazing instructor. Kind and professional!

Diana V. Nov 28, 2018
Piano · In studio

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

Izzy A. Sep 30, 2018
Singing · In 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.

Shijie R. Sep 10, 2018
Opera Voice · Online

Shelby Sep 5, 2018
Piano · Online

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

Alexandria G. Aug 16, 2018
Piano · In studio

Awesome teacher

Al Jul 23, 2018
Piano · In studio

She's an awesome teacher.

Elizabeth L. Jun 15, 2018
Singing · In 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.

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Kady C. May 31, 2018
Singing · Online

Reilly C. May 4, 2018
Singing · In 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!

Helen B. Feb 22, 2018
Piano · In home

Helen just loved you, looking forward to next visit.

Jim S. Feb 5, 2018
Broadway Singing · Online

Great lesson. Thanks Julia.

Jim S. Feb 2, 2018
Broadway Singing · Online

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

Brandt Jan 24, 2018
Broadway Singing · In studio

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

Fabiola Nov 9, 2017
Opera Voice · In 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!

Stephanie Jun 20, 2017
Opera Voice · In 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.

Anne Marie Jan 3, 2017
Speaking Voice · In studio

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

Neely M. Oct 14, 2016
Singing · In home

Thanks for the great lessons for Neely!

Alexis B. Jul 23, 2015
Singing · In 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.

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Ivanna P. Jul 9, 2015
Singing · In studio

Very professional, knowledgeable. Great teacher.

Neil Jun 30, 2015
Singing · In 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.

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Chelsea H. Jun 9, 2015
Singing · In studio

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

Ian V. Jun 8, 2015
Singing · In 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!

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Janice Neer May 23, 2015
Broadway Singing · In studio

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

(Grandma) Deb for maleena N. Dec 15, 2014
Singing · In 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.

(Grandma) Deb for maleena N. Oct 20, 2014
Singing · In studio

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

Pani M. Jul 22, 2014
Singing · In 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.

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Eldon H. Mar 6, 2014

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.

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Derek N. Mar 4, 2014
Singing ·

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.

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marsha S. Dec 13, 2013
Singing ·

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

Kim T. May 3, 2013
Singing ·

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!

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