Julia Vaara

Julia V.

Portland, OR

About Julia V.

Background check: Last verified 12/10/2015
Julia passed a background check on 12/10/2015 that included the following:
  • National Criminal Record Check
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Julia teaches: Ages 10 and up
Teaching since: January 1987
Last sign in: Last week


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 also work 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, local music studios as well as maintaining my private teaching practice.

*** Lesson Details ***
I am persistent and positive! Having worked and performed 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. We will choose music that interests you and helps to build your voice moving from simple to more complex and challenging. 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 f/w keyboard with a visitor's parking lot w/ seating for parents. 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.

Photos and Videos


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

Master's of Music

Sep 1984 - Jun 1986
Opera Dept. of the Boston & New England Conservatories

Languages Spoken

French, German, Italian

Limited Proficiency


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 postpartum doula where I use singing to support new parents in enjoying their babies and children.
Current thru January 2017


Cook Scholarship for two years of graduate school

Aug 1988
Boston University
Write a Review

14 Reviews on Julia V.

Neely M. Oct 14, 2016
Singing · In home
Verified Student
Thanks for the great lessons for Neely!
Alexis B. Jul 23, 2015
Singing · In studio
Verified Student
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.
Ivanna P. Jul 9, 2015
Singing · In studio
Verified Student
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.
Chelsea H. Jun 9, 2015
Singing · In studio
Verified Student
Very knowledgable and very relatable. Super nice and fun. Extremely helpful and good listener. Focuses on everything you, specifically, need help with.
Thumb_67246_pi_Ian Vidovic
Ian V. Jun 8, 2015
Singing · In studio
Verified Student
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!
Janice Neer May 23, 2015
Broadway Singing · In studio
Verified Student
She's a lot of fun, I enjoyed the time I spent there. I can't wait until my next lesson.
Maleena (acct set up by Grandma Deb Nichols) N. Dec 15, 2014
Singing · In studio
Verified Student
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.
Maleena (acct set up by Grandma Deb Nichols) N. Oct 20, 2014
Singing · In studio
Verified Student
We have had 3 lessons and so far it has been really fun. Maleena is excited each time she comes to her lesson.
Thumb_43251_pi_Kaelyn Nia
Pani M. Jul 22, 2014
Singing · In studio
Verified Student
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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