My focus as a teacher is all about YOU. We will work on the music you want to learn, focus on the technique you need, and I will give you the tools to make sure you are able to improve every day in your own practice time.
I am a recent graduate of the University of South Florida, where I have completed both my Master's and Bachelor's Degrees in Vocal Performance. During my time as an undergraduate at USF, I also was a tutor for music theory and aural theory, working one-on-one with students to help them succeed in their courses. As a graduate student, I was the graduate assistant in music theory. I assisted all levels of undergraduate theory.
Through my studies at USF, I gained a wealth of knowledge and experience in classical music, vocal techniques and languages. I perform in many classical recitals and as a member of the USF Chamber Singers, the premier ensemble at the university, I performed many times with the Master Chorale of Tampa Bay and the Florida Orchestra at the Straz Center, Ruth Eckerd Hall and Mahaffey Theater. Even though most of my work was in the classical voice, my passion has always been theatrical singing, which is my best personal style. Last year, I performed as a background vocalist for Quentin Darrington, the star of "Ragtime" on Broadway. I also am a performer at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay.
I discovered my love for singing and performing at the age of three. As a solo vocal artist, I perform frequently in the Tampa Bay and Orlando areas, but I am most well-known for my rendition of the National Anthem for many sporting events and other ceremonies like Relay for Life Cancer Benefits, Pasco Education Foundation, Pasco County Sheriff's Office, Pasco Veterans of Foreign Wars and others. I have been recognized for my talent, as well, claiming top prize at the Stars of Tomorrow Competition at the Tampa Bay Convention Center, "Best Presentation" at the International Dance Challenge Competition at the Straz Center, and many more first- place wins at countless competitions, as well as many academic awards including excellence in music history, theory, and research.
*** Lesson Details ***
I prefer to teach younger students.
Your lessons will be tailored to fit your needs, goals, age, and style. In a lesson with me, whether it is voice (theatrical or operatic) or theory, the basic format is the same. If you are interested in voice lessons, the first half of the lesson would be all about technique, the tools you need to refine your voice. It doesn't matter if you are just starting out or very experienced, technique is very important to develop your talent! This is what gives you an advantage over a singer who has never taken a lesson. The second half of the voice lesson will be used to work on your repertoire, whether it is a piece of music you would like me to select for you, or something you bring in to work on. I can help you prepare for auditions, or just help perfect a piece you already know.
In a theory lesson, the general format is very similar. I would use the first half of the lesson for practice exercises, depending on the level of your knowledge or what you may be learning in class. The second half of the lesson can be used to work on any assignments you may have. If you aren't a student of theory outside of the lesson, obviously the entire lesson will be used to progressively teach you the basics of theory to the more advanced aspects.
I do not consider my self a strict teacher. I myself was a student of lessons for the past 6 years, and I believe in the more "university" approach. You must take ownership of what you're taught and apply it on your own everyday. Practicing and techniquing is not just for the time you spend with me each week! Consider your talent a plant that you must water everyday in order to grow.
However, if you are the type of student who needs and wants the "extra push," I can certainly do that for you!
*** Specialties ***
Through my work on my Master's Degree in Voice Performance, I have learned a great deal about proper vocal technique, with a focus on the classical voice, as well as methods on belting "healthy" during theatrical singing, which is my personal style. Vocal techniques include legato, appogio, and agility. Also have a great deal of experience in diction of Spanish, Italian, French, and German languages. I tutored and taught music theory at USF, as well, with a focus on the upper levels of theory.
· Singing · Good
Melissa is one of the best singing teachers we have had. Her knowledge surpasses anyone else and she has a very approachable personality making my daughter love her
· · Feedback
Melissa is an excellent instructor; personable, capable, informed, professional, and adaptable, it has been a pleasure learning from her. I look forward to our lessons with anticipation and have seen improvements after only the first month of lessons.