Lesson Details



Karen passed a background check that includes a SSN verification, national criminal record check, and sex offender registry search. Learn More
Karen delivers an exceptional lesson experience and ranks in the top 15% of our teachers nationwide.
Teaches students:
Ages 8+ and special needs

Teaching since:

Have you ever been frustrated by your voice? Do you cringe when you hear your voice--like when you hear a recording of yourself?

​That used to be me years ago. Now, I'm an experienced professional jazz vocalist, actor and voice expert!

My passion for singing, and struggle with my own voice, have led me to over a dozen voice instructors--including Roberta Davis (Berklee School of Music) and Dr. Oren Brown (Juilliard), researching various methods--including Seth Riggs' Speech Level Singing and Dr. Morton Cooper's ("The Voice Doctor") and voiceover training with Don Cosgrove (The Talent Center), various holistic health workers, and 21 years of voice coaching.

Because of all this research and experience, I have been recognized as a voice expert by eHow, EzineArticles, VocalDisorders (formerly VoiceMatters), TRCB, TheModernVocalistWorld, StarTribune, and Asian American Press. Additionally, I am an international member of the Voice and Speech Trainers Association.

I love to share what I've learned, and have inspired over 500 students to improve their voices! I have helped absolute beginners to untrained pro singers, speakers and actors, from students age 8 to 80 since 1997. I started singing professionally in 1993, and have explored all kinds of voice solutions since 1989.

Born in Seoul, Korea, I grew up with my hard-working immigrant family (Mom was a registered nurse and Dad was an acupuncturist) in California, Texas, and Minnesota. I then got my Jazz Studies degree in Vocal Performance at Cornell College in Iowa, and also lived in Nashville, Tennessee. I now enjoy living back in Seoul, South Korea, and I've been fortunate to travel and perform in the US, South Korea, Europe, Southeast Asia, Central America, and Brazil.

An award-winning artist, over the years, I have been fortunate to be a member of Fresh Jazz, Global Jazz, Karen's Quartet, Robert Robinson's Minneapolis Community College Gospel Choir, Morris Wilson Band, Pacha Mamas, Via Brasil, Bomba, Jazz Transit, Eddie Piccard Trio, and have sung as a solo vocalist since 1993. My singing has been featured on National Public Radio, documentary film, TV, radio, cable, and on all kinds of stages. I have 2 recordings - Karen and Global Jazz Live! and Karen and Fresh Jazz - and also have recordings with a number of other artists, groups and compilations. In 2010, I received a NashvilleMuse songwriting award and a Musicares/Grammy Foundation grant, as well as a 2007 Minnesota State Arts Board grant for an original musical.

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Freelance Holistic Voice Coach
Oct 1997 - Present
Holistic Voice Coach

I have over 20 years of experience teaching one-on-one voice lessons in-person and online, and have also taught live group classes and group teleclasses by phone. Locations have included festivals, churches, theaters, rehearsal studios and my own home in MN, TN, AR and South Korea. In April, 2018, I will do 2 Google Hangout online videochat group workshops for the Tennessee Association of Professional Interpreters and Translators ~ "How to Prevent Losing Your Voice" and "News Anchor English"!

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Head Voice Coach
Oct 2001 - Oct 2006
West Bank School of Music

Taught one-on-one voice lessons and group classes for all ages and all styles of music. Group classes included If You Can Speak, You Can Sing, Vocal Jazz and Empower Your Voice for Women. In addition to being Head Voice Instructor, I also, served as Board Member, Board Chair, then 2 years as the Executive Director of the legendary community music school in Minneapolis, MN.

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Roster Teaching Actor
Sep 2000 - Jun 2003
Steppingstone Theater

Taught improv, dramatics and create-a-play workshops to elementary-aged kids for the Girl Scouts and for Adventure Bay day camps, as well as public elementary school afterschool programs.

Voice Instructor and Choir Director
Aug 2002 - Feb 2003
East Metro Music Academy

Taught one-on-one voice lessons to kids and adults. Also, was the choir director for a children's choir.


BSS Jazz Studies - Vocal Performance
Sep 1989 - May 1993
Cornell College


Limited Proficiency
Professional Proficiency


Teaching English for Students of Other Languages (TESOL).
Jan 2012

100-hour TESOL Certification


Sep 2010
MusiCares/Grammy Foundation
Songwriting Award
Feb 2010
Feb 2007
Minnesota State Arts Board


Voice and Speech Trainers Association
Sep 2009

VASTA is an international organization whose mission is to advance the art, research, and visibility of the voice and speech profession. Goals: SERVE the needs of voice and speech specialists, teachers, and students in training and in practice. ADVOCATE for those who work and study in the field. PROMOTE the vital role of voice and speech specialists for all professional voice users. BROADEN public understanding of the nature and importance of voice and speech use and training. CREATE opportunities for ongoing education, and the exchange of knowledge and information among professionals in the field. CULTIVATE diversity within our membership, and encourage a liveliness of thought and opinion. UPHOLD and advance excellence in voice and speech.

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Photos & Videos

eHow.com voice expert video - How to Project Your Voice by Karen Lyu
yoo and karen duo at Mple Lounge

eHow.com voice expert video - How to Learn to Sing Better
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7 Reviews

Write a Review
Davo Mar 30, 2018
Singing · Online

Within a few months, Karen has helped me become a much better singer than I ever thought I could be. She always seems to have a technique or exercise at hand to help me where I need it. Her instruction has also been very useful to improve and protect my speaking voice, given that I speak for a living. It has been worth every penny.

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Rebecca Mar 22, 2018
Singing · In studio

Karen is a great voice coach! She gives constructive and positive feedback in a caring and understanding way. Take lessons from Karen and you will improve your skills!

Matthew Mar 22, 2018
Vocal Training · In studio

Did a great job teaching me exercises and lessons in health as well as life.

Victor Mar 20, 2018
Vocal Training · In studio

I was living in Seoul last year and had my lessons with Karen for about a month. It was fulfilling and I've definitely leant a lot. Thank you for your time!

Phil Mar 19, 2018
Vocal Training · In home

Karen was my 8 year old daughter's voice coach in Seoul.
Karen is a lovely, bubbly person and she helped my daughter, not only with her singing ,but also with her confidence at what was a scary time having just moved from Thailand.
I would highly recommend Karen.

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Bruce Mar 14, 2018
Vocal Training · Online

Karen Lyu is an amazing voice instructor. She is brilliant at explaining the mechanics of singing in terms that the average person can understand. Karen is patient, knowledgeable and encouraging. I enjoyed my time working with her and look forward to my next lesson!

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SendInMaureen Mar 14, 2018
Singing · In studio

My best friend in high school always told me I couldn't sing. And I believed her. Then I met Karen. She encouraged me and In just a few lessons I was comfortable enough to sing in front of people. I'm still singing!!!

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