Melissa McCann

Melissa M.

Brooklyn, NY
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Lesson Details

Piano

Levels Taught:
Beginner, Intermediate
I specialize in the Alfred Series for piano and My First Piano Adventure for young students. This approach focuses on ear training and reading music. Custom exercises and choice of material is based on the student's level and field of study. Lessons are scheduled at the student's convenience as per availability. Frequency and length of lessons is based on the students needs.
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Melissa teaches

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About

Melissa delivers an exceptional lesson experience and ranks in the top 15% of our teachers nationwide.
Teaches students:
Ages 5+

Teaching since:
August 2008

WHAT TO EXPECT
When meeting with a student for the first time we always discuss his or her needs or goals. After that, we get into the foundation of building technique, starting with posture. Next, the student is assigned breathing exercises to practice. These exercises are structured to energize the body and manage the breath. Every single student learns about appoggio. This is the term used for the process of suspending exhalation while keeping the torso in the position of inhalation by using the transverse abdominis and obliques. Students also learn that the action of the diaphragm is involuntary, therefore the exercises in which we engage are in place to have command over physical activity that we can control.



A TYPICAL VOICE LESSON
After posture and breathing are addressed the students begin to learn how to produce tone, which encompasses the vocal onset and the closure of the vocal folds. Students realize that proper breath management and producing tone go hand in hand. The ideal that the student and I work towards is a balance between superfluous air flow and and pressed pressure. This concept leads to a clean onset in which the edges of the vocal folds cleanly come together and stay closed during singing.


Students also learn how to negotiate and coordinate the vocal registers. This means that every student who walks into my studio learns where and what the larynx is. It is my job to be a second set of ears to help the student optimize his or her tone quality by maximizing vocal resonance. This concept may be different across genres, however every student learns how to begin coordinating the vocal process.



HOW I TEACH
My aim as a teacher of voice is to be flexible and innovative, and provide students with a clear and honest assessment. I strive to explain to each singer exactly how to complete a task, whether maintaining the position of inhalation or correcting posture. In lessons, I refrain from being demonstrative so that the student can find his or her own unique sound without attempting to copy my sound. I use this method so that the student learns how to be her own teacher. This way, the student will be able to identify and correct her own vocal problems. When I am not present, the student will have confidence in her skills and can make educated corrections in practice, rehearsals, and in performances.



TECHNIQUE
Throughout the course of lessons, it is my job to identify the most effective resonating space for the student and give her the skills to maintain that space. It is through the combination of effective breath management using appoggio and flow-phonation that the student becomes most efficient. Finding the most efficient technique for the student involves discovering the proper laryngeal position for the student’s voice type and by practicing continuity through all of the registers.

As all of the aspects of technique are being built in the studio, it is my job to ensure that I am building a musician. This means that I go over how the student needs to learn a piece and how to perform a piece. Often times with young students, they do not have the musical skills to teach themselves the pieces assigned. Sometimes the voice teacher’s job is to “plunk out the notes.” I highly encourage my students to take piano lessons and to use technology resources to aid them in building musicianship so they feel confident reading music. This process takes time, but it is the first step in building a competent performer.



MY GOALS
I always cater to the students tastes while still meeting requirements, if any. I believe that this fosters joy and excitement in music. My goal as a voice teacher not only involves building a good singer, but creating a performer. I make sure that I not only find performing opportunities for my students, but also I create them. Every semester I hold a studio recital for my students to perform their repertoire in front of an audience. In the Fall of 2015 I founded a local opera company in order to bring classical music to the community. My students made up the chorus of Handel’s Messiah that we performed that December. In addition, I have invited my students to participate in the church choir I direct every week. I believe that learning how to sing must take place in the studio, but the most important thing that I can do as a teacher is to make sure that the student knows how to transfer the skills learned in the classroom to real-world performing experiences.



APPROACH
I believe in a holistic approach to teaching, which involves connection to the text and acting. Though I cover many of these aspects in the studio, it is extremely beneficial for students to go outside of the studio and engage in physical courses such as yoga, Alexander technique, acting and dance. I personally engage in these activities to relate to my students and to be able to explain how we need to engage the body in singing. I also encourage my students to have coachings with other professionals to gain more insight into their repertoire.

Not every student who comes to my studio wants to sing opera. Many students want to sing in choir, in church, or just for fun. Overall, I always come from a place of acceptance and non judgement. Every voice is unique and I strive to help my students not only reach their goals, but surpass them.

ABOUT ME
I have been teaching voice and piano since 2010. Not only an avid teacher, I have performed in music festivals all over the world including The American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria, Accademia Europa dell’Opera in Lucca, Italy, Angel Vocal Art in Los Angeles, CA, Russian Opera Workshop in Philadelphia, PA, and Highlands Opera Studio in Haliburton, Ontario. I have also performed with companies including Opera San Jose, The Napa Valley Music Association, The San Francisco Youth Chamber Orchestra, Opera on the Spot, and The Solano Chamber Society.

I earned my Doctorate of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance, Pedagogy, and Literature from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA with Kevin McMillan. During my time in Harrisonburg, I founded Harrisonburg Opera Theatre and was the church choir director at Sunnyside Retirement Community Meredith Chapel.
I completed my Post-Graduate Artist Diploma in Voice at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of acclaimed opera singer, Deborah Voigt. While in San Francisco, I interned in the Education Department of San Francisco Opera and taught Kindergarten and First grade music with the San Francisco Conservatory in the Schools mentor-ship program. I also received a full scholarship to attend the Rubin Institute for Music Criticism.

I earned my Masters of Fine Arts in Vocal Performance from the University of California, Irvine at the Claire Trevor School of the Arts where she sang the National Anthem for President Barack Obama at the school’s 50th Anniversary Celebration. At UC Irvine, I received critical acclaim for my portrayal of Euridice in Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice, and as the Soprano in Pergolesi's Stabat Mater.

I specialize in the Alfred Series for piano and My First Piano Adventure for young students. This approach focuses on ear training and reading music. Custom exercises and choice of material is based on the student's level and field of study. Lessons are scheduled at the student's convenience as per availability. Frequency and length of lessons is based on the students needs.

Young voice students are taught general concepts, music theory, and ear training. After the voice is more mature, advanced and serious vocal study can be pursued. Melissa's students receive a well-rounded training in the style of their choice: Classical, Popular, Musical Theatre, and Jazz.

I emphasize solid technique, posture, breathing, and control, in addition to music fundamentals.

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Experience

Voice/Piano Instructor
Dec 2014 - Present
Melody Music Studios

Intern
Jan 2017 - Jun 2017
San Francisco Opera

Choir Director
Aug 2016 - Jun 2017
Sunnyside Retirement Community Meredith Chapel

Conservatory in the Schools Mentor
Aug 2016 - Jun 2017
San Francisco Conservatory of Music

Singer
Jul 2014 - Jul 2014
Russian Opera Workshop

Voice and Piano instructor
Nov 2012 - Jun 2014
California Music Studios

Private Voice and Piano Instructor, Group piano instructor, Choir Director
Feb 2013 - Jan 2014
Orange County School of Music

I taught beginning and elementary group piano classes, voice classes, choir, and private piano and voice lessons.

Zion Music Academy
Aug 2011 - May 2012
Private Voice instructor

Singer
Jun 2011 - Jul 2011
University of Miami Summer Music Festival

Singer
Jun 2010 - Jul 2010
Oberlin in Italy Summer Music Festival

Singer
Jun 2009 - Jul 2009
Academia di Lingua

Italian immersion program

Education

Doctorate of Musical Arts in Vocal Pedagogy, Performance, and Literature
Aug 2014 - May 2018
James Madison University
Post Graduate Artist Diploma
Aug 2016 - Jun 2017
San Francisco Conservatory of Music
Master of Fine Arts in Vocal Performance
Sep 2012 - Jun 2014
University of California, Irvine
Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance
Aug 2008 - May 2012
University of the Pacific

Languages

English
Fluent / Native Proficiency
French
Limited Proficiency
German
Limited Proficiency
Italian
Limited Proficiency
Russian
Limited Proficiency

Certifications

Doctorate of Musical Arts
Jul 2018
James Madison Univeristy

Vocal Performance, Pedagogy, and Literature

Piano Teachers Federation
Sep 2012
Piano Teachers Federation

Awards

Redlands Bowl Winner
Jul 2014
Redlands Bowl
NATS-LA Young Artsit
May 2014
National Association of Teachers of Singing
Honors Music Recital
May 2014
University of California, Irvine
Excellence in Performance
Aug 2008
University of the Pacific
Advocate of the Arts
Jun 2008
Fairfield, CA

Affiliations

Sigma Alpha Iota (ΣΑΙ)
Jan 2009

Sigma Alpha Iota is a professional International Music Fraternity for women. Formed to uphold the highest standards of music and to further the development of music in America and throughout the world, it continues to provide musical and educational resources to its members and the general public.Sigma Alpha Iota operates its own national philanthropy, Sigma Alpha Iota Philanthropies, Inc.

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Photos & Videos

Voice Lesson
Photo by Melissa M.

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La maja y el Ruisenor by Granados from Goyescas
University of California, Irvine

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Photo by Melissa M.

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Photo by Melissa M.

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Photo by Melissa M.

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Photo by Melissa M.
Photo by Melissa M.
Photo by Melissa M.
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15 Reviews

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Roger Nov 6, 2018
Classical Voice · In studio

Love Dr. M! I've wanted to take voice lessons forever but I have been hesitant due to my lack of experience. Dr. M not only made me feel comfortable but also confident in the voice that I have. She's personal and warm but also very professional. She never gets frustrated with obstacles I face in my lessons; instead she helps ways to overcome them.

I've never left a lesson feeling disappointed with my ability, something I experienced with other voice teachers. I feel confident in my voice and I owe that all to Melissa. For instance, during one lessons I was feeling a little off. Rather than getting frustrated she helped me focus on great ways to approach singing when not feeling your best. Dr. McCann rocks!

If you are looking for a voice teacher new or experienced I would definitely recommend Dr. McCann. Top notch lessons and overall awesome woman!

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Kassondra Nov 5, 2018
Classical Voice · Online

Dr. M. is a phenomenal teacher who does a great job customizing her lessons to the needs of the student. She has helped me make amazing progress with my voice, and just as importantly has helped me gain the confidence to be able to sign.

Her lessons are fun, effective, and very positive. All of which help the student learn more and get more out of the lesson. I highly recommend Dr. M. as a teacher to anyone (at any level) who is interested in becoming a better singer.

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Isabel Nov 5, 2018
Classical Voice · In studio

I recommend Melissa as a voice teacher! She has a very easy going personality and gets along great with my 11 year old daughter. She got to know my daughter personally, and chooses music to fit her personality. She is very easy to work with and extremely knowledgeable as a voice teacher. My daughter has definitely made progress over the last two years!

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Derek Nov 5, 2018
Classical Voice · In studio

Melissa is not only a gifted voice teacher, but an amazing singer herself. She is also very personable and reliable. I can always count on her to help me in a pinch, before an audition to help me with a particular song, or even help me pick out a song that is appropriate for the show for which I am auditioning. She has a large breadth of musical knowledge and experience, which makes me feel confident, and trust the notes she gives during the lesson.
Melissa's techniques with breathing and execution the best I have ever received, as a trained actor myself. Although she is extremely professional, Melissa also finds ways in making the lesson fun. I highly recommend her for both kids and adults and hope you get as much out of her classes as I have!

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Jonathan Oct 15, 2018
Classical Voice · In studio

Dr. M. sets high standards, but knows and is willing to work with you to obtain them. Also, she’s a lot of fun to learn under and is very knowledgeable about her craft.

Brian Oct 15, 2018
Singing · Online

Dr. M. is an amazing teacher. Worked with me to overcome my shyness. Professional, and patient. Will recommend to anyone who is seeking vocal lessons.

Catherine Oct 4, 2018
Classical Voice · In studio

I had an absolutely wonderful experience with Melissa. She is one of the most helpful and fun teachers out there! I was able to grow so much as a singer and there was a huge difference in how I came to her and how I am now. I am working on pieces that I loved but never thought I could sing. She is really good with technique and shaping you into a better singer though working on the foundations of what makes a good singer. She is very knowledgeable. Not only was every lesson a great time but I left with something gained! Lessons can be challenging sometimes but they were always fun and I always felt encouraged and supported to do better. Also, she is very flexible as I often had a busy and changing schedule and we were always able to figure something out!

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Sebastian Oct 3, 2018
Classical Voice · In studio

Dr. M. is not only an incredibly knowledgeable individual but is also an excellent educator. She knows how to approach problems from different angles to achieve the best results from her students. I work with her on a regular basis and can say that she always provides quality suggestions and tools to improve technique and interpretation. I highly recommend her for both piano and vocal training.

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Marijn Oct 3, 2018
Classical Voice · In studio

Melissa is amazing! She helped me grow so much; I had no idea I would be able to sing the way I am able today. Mel is a great motivator, and really knows how to help you get to where you want to be.

Ray Oct 2, 2018
Music Performance · In studio

I have been working with Dr. M. in private lessons--she is the real deal AND she knows how to teach. I've studied a lot of things with a lot of people and found that only a good musician who knows how to pass that knowledge on can effectively teach it. Dr. M. is that teacher!

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Ellie Sep 30, 2018
Classical Voice · In studio

Melissa helped me sort out my audition binder and replaced my songs with music that fit my voice better. She is very well-versed in technique and artistry and I’m looking forward to more lessons with her!

Miranda G. Jul 2, 2015
Singing · In home

Really helpful and nice!

Jennifer Jun 29, 2015
Music Performance · In studio

We just wanted to thank you so much for all your help over the last few months in preparing Sara for her recitals. Her talent show at school was last night and she did fabulously and projected for all to hear and she couldn’t have done it without your teaching!

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Nikki Jun 29, 2015
Vocal Training · In studio

Melissa was my first voice teacher, and I was so fortunate to have her. She was very patient with me because I was very shy and self conscious when it came to vocal lessons. She help me find my voice, and started crafting it using many different tools to help me understand the different elements that allows one to register sound. She is a joy to learn from, and I recommend any beginner to learn from her.

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Scott Elrod Jun 29, 2015
Singing · In studio

Melissa is an amazing person and a wonderful teacher. I felt comfortable with her within the first 2 minutes, and accomplished more in our first session than I had in years on my own. She is awesome and I recommend her wholeheartedly to anyone who values teaching ability equally with personality! I will be a student until I can't sing anymore.

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