My name is Rachel and I am an experienced performer, musician, composer, songwriter and teacher. I welcome all levels of students interesting in singing all style of music to experience my very unique approach to vocal coaching that intertwines classical technique with a fun, modern day approach with physical movement & confidence building. I was born in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, where I began studying music at age 4. I achieved a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music with a vocal performance concentration and a Bachelor of Science degree in International Studies from Florida State University, and I have been living in Los Angeles for the past 6 years. I am currently enrolled in a Master of Music for Vocal Performance program at CSUN - California State University at Northridge. I have performed in a wide variety of settings from the classical stage, to musical theatre, to film soundtracks, to small underground venues around the world. For example, I graced the operatic stage in Puccini’s "Madame Butterfly" and Bizet’s "Carmen" with the Opera Company of North Carolina, with the Florida State Opera in Mozart’s "Die Zauberflöte" and Vacci’s "I Capuleti e i Montecchi," and with a Los Angeles based modern opera company. I performed in the 2011 LA Opera production of "Noye's Fludde" and the 2012 LA Opera production of "The Festival Play of Daniel." I am currently an LA Opera Community Educator as well. I opened the 2009 Downtown Los Angeles Fashion Week Runway show with an operatic performance on the runway. I received studio credit through Yoav Goren’s Immediate Music project called Globus which has tracks on Spider Man 3. I was the hired singer for the opening of the 2012 Event Solutions Spotlight Awards at Ceasar's Palace in Las Vegas, NV. Through the distinct use of my classically trained voice, the didgeridoo, harmonium, and piano, my unique style of experimental, post-millennial operatic jazz has mesmerized audiences from coast to coast. I am the owner of OperaTune Vocal Studios and I work in Admissions for The American Musical & Dramatic Academy with campuses located in Los Angeles and New York City. I was also the Director of the Los Angeles Women's Music Network for many years, and I am ready to expand my audience by sharing with YOU everything I know about performance, training the voice properly, and working in the music industry!
*** Lesson Details ***
Each voice is as unique as your thumbprint or your DNA. There is no voice that is exactly like another voice. Each voice lesson you will have, we will explore your unique voice and work to strengthen and refine your vocal performance through breath exercises, physical exercises like stretching, vocal affirmations, vocalization exercises, basic music theory study/exploration, and specific repertoire/song exploration. I use the piano and even other non-traditional instruments such as the harmonium (an instrument from India), the didgeridoo (an instrument from Australia), and singing bowls. I hope that each lessons the student leaves with a newly found confidence in their unique voice!
Just to give you an idea of a few general aspects of my teaching, your 1st voice lesson will consist of you showing me your voice and then we can proceed from there. How the lesson will proceed, depends on the unique individual, the unique voice, the unique goals of the individual, and the unique boundaries of the vocal situation. Normally, I would begin with warming up your body, because your body is your instrument … not just your vocal chords, but your entire body. Since your body is your instrument, let’s wake it up! We would begin with rolling the shoulders, shaking off tension in arms and legs, stretching the neck in specifically guided ways to loosen any tension. Students are encouraged to become very aware of the tension in their body. As we begin to relax any tension, we stand with closed eyes and with natural, relaxed breathing. You will be guided to acknowledge and listen to the calming sound of your natural breathing pattern and the rhythmic beat of your heart. Then, we move into a series of breathing exercises to activate the thoracic (throat & chest) and visceral (stomach) cavities. Depending on the individual tension and breathing, unique exercises and therapy may be used.
Then we would move into breath exercises, posing questions: What do you want to move through the energy of your breath? What areas in your life are stagnant? How powerful is your breath? Are you closing off in between or remaining open? Are you relaxed? Are you able to find a balance easily between inhale and exhale? Are you hesitating? Are you over packing your lungs? Are you supporting the breath? How are you supporting this breath?
The lesson would continue into specific vocalization exercises, specific to the student's unique voice, such as singing scales, triads, etc including positive affirmations within the vocal exercise, created to encourage & motivate the student. Then, as mentioned above, the lesson will proceed depending on the unique individual, the unique goals, and the unique voice.
Most lessons I teach tend to have a theme of working on confidence, vocal projection, breath support, finding tension, working on relieving tension, vocal range exploration and expansion, song deconstruction (which is really figuring out the emotion & story behind the song lyrics so the song can be performed adequately), audition preparation, and stage performance.
*** Studio Equipment ***
In my vocal studio you will find a piano, 88-weighted key Yamaha keyboard, and other non-traditional instruments such as harmonium (an instrument from India), the didgeridoo (an instrument from Australia), ocarinas, and singing bowls. I also have recording equipment, microphones and amps ... if needed. Students are encouraged to bring their own water vessel.
Above the piano is a mirror so I can see the student while I play the piano, and so that the student can see themselves. On the walls I have an array inspirational pictures and art work, along with my two college degrees framed (Bachelor of Arts in Music with a vocal performance concentration and a Bachelor of Science in International Studies dually concentrating in Modern Language and Political Science). My vocal studio is in my home which has a lovely floor to ceiling fireplace, high arched ceilings, and a few book cases filled with all sorts of vocal music and performance books. There is free parking right out front of the house and there are always spots. There is a waiting area on the patio outside and there are also couches & chairs in the studio where parents can observe, if they choose to.
*** Travel Equipment ***
I do have a traveling 88-weighted key Yamaha keyboard, a harmonium, sheet music, staff paper, music stands, microphones, and amps (if needed). I only expect the student to have their own water. If I travel to the student, I also ask that the student have an area with a mirror where we can have the lesson and they can see themselves in the mirror (full length is preferred).
*** Specialties ***
Singing and speaking voice, contemporary vocal performance to classical opera, vocal projection, audition preparation, vocal strengthening, vocal stamina, performance confidence, ear training, basic music theory, vocal range exploration and expansion