- Levels Taught:
- Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
For singers used to singing along with their favorite recordings, matching sounds coming from the piano can be quite a challenge. Luckily, we live in an age of smart phones and tablets. I say this because if you go to iTunes or the Google Play store and search “intonation,” there are many apps that will help you learn to sing in tune (on the correct pitch). I’m new to using these apps, but I plan to use these in lessons regularly. Aside from counting steady rhythms, the ability to sing in tune is one of the most important skills for any aspiring singer. And while I’m thinking about it, download a metronome too. (I’ll explain how to use this after you book a lesson..he he :)
Also, training singers can be difficult because they can't see their instrument, and often singers don’t practice because they can’t see their instrument (you know who you are…). For this reason, I prefer not to teach students younger than middle school age, but I do make exceptions, especially if the student has been singing in choirs or played a musical instrument for some time.
As for vocal technique, this involves correcting the student’s posture, releasing muscular tension in the upper body (chest, upper back, shoulders, neck, and everything above), deep breathing, and the list goes on. However, I can sum up vocal technique simply as bodily adjustments that release muscular tension surrounding the vocal cords. No matter the musical style, all singers must learn to close their vocal cords correctly and retrain certain muscles not to get involved.
Concerning repertoire, I don't use method books, but I insist that students learn one traditional classical song (like a simple musical theatre tune or an art song) along with any song they wish (if I deem it appropriate). Some singers might think this is unfair, but I find it necessary.
A lot of great pop songs are tailored to the individual gifts of specific pop stars and those songs can be very difficult. Also, you must never forget that great singers have worked for years to become great, and they did not start by singing showstopper songs. That being said, new students: please be patient. If you work hard and are patient, I can help you bring down the house.
- Teaches students:
- Ages 5+
- Teaching since:
- August 2010
As a more seasoned music teacher, I’m learning that it’s essential to tailor music lessons to each client’s (family’s) individual goals. And no matter what the family’s goals may be, life is too short for a music teacher to ever stress out a student or the parents. For this reason, I try my best to impart as many smiles and laughs as I can into every music lesson. Also, I have a mindset that music lessons can have high standards AND be fun, not have high standards OR be fun; however, I will always regularly communicate with parents and students to make sure that their high standards and mine are on the same page.
As for my training, I have two degrees in vocal performance from Georgia State University and am currently “continuing education” as a staff singer at the renowned Episcopal Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta. While at Georgia State, I had the good fortune to observe in action some of the most phenomenal musicians in Atlanta: Dwight Coleman, Dr. Peter Marshall, and Maestro Michael Palmer. Since that time, I’ve studied voice privately with bass Jason Hardy and soprano Sharon Stephenson, and I’ve fine-tuned, pun intended, both my vocal and pianistic musicianship by singing in choirs led by phenomenal directors like Dr. Eric Nelson, Walter Huff, and Dr. Dale Adelmann.
And not being a stranger to accomplishments in teaching (voice and piano), in 2013 I was recognized as a Top Teacher for student retention, communication with parents and staff, general positive feedback, and overall professionalism. In addition, both my voice and piano students regularly receive superior ratings at the local National Federation of Music Clubs festivals, pass ABRSM theory and piano exams, earn leading roles in school productions, and place in local talent shows.
P.S. For potential voice students, how many of you want to be a famous opera singer? My guess is, not many of you (to say the least :) However, what if I say, who would like to pretend they’re a famous bullfighter, a bird catcher (who likes to dress like a bird), an Ancient Egyptian, or a King or Queen while singing awesome music? Hopefully, more of you would try it. That’s why I love opera and classical singing. So I encourage you to watch, not just listen to, classical singing. You may be surprised at how cool it can be.
I'd prepare middle school and high school singers for upcoming choral concerts, musicals, and school wide talent shows.
Lessons usually consisted of vocal warm ups and preparing songs musically, vocally, and dramatically.
My son Burke has taken piano lessons from Stephen McCool for a few years and we think he is AWESOME! He shows a genuine interest in his students, stays serious about what he is teaching but also brings humor in to keep students from feeling stressed. It is clear that it brings him joy to share his love of music with his students. Mr. McCool is an excellent teacher and I would highly recommend him for students of any age.+ Read More
The first lesson was superb. Andrew really enjoyed his first piano class and really liked learning it from Mr. McCool. After class, Andrew was immediately motivated to do his practice. Mr. McCool is very encouraging, he makes the lesson easy going while making his student learned quickly (without pressure). We look forward to the next lessons with him. Leaving the students with their own desire to learn and to love music is indeed very important. He delivers that traits well.+ Read More
He works great with kids! Has the perfect balance and isn't strict. My daughter really enjoys her lessons.
I am totally new to singing and this was my very first class so I was quite apprehensive. Stephen however was able to create a safe environment and within minutes I felt that it was right, that taking singing classes was not a crazy idea.
I am very happy and I hope I will be able to take many more classes with Stephen.
Mr. McCool is an excellent teacher! He just naturally shares his love for music with his students and this is a beautiful thing to experience. He is always patient and encouraging during our son's piano lessons. He is firm and serious when necessary but always friendly and kind. His teaching style is absolutely perfect for our 12 year old son who is motivated so much more by encouragement than by criticism. Stephen has a gift with children...he shows a sincere interest in what's going on in our son's life (they always have a little chat before his lesson begins). We are fortunate to have have found a wonderful music mentor for our son. I would highly recommend Mr. Stephen McCool to anyone interested in voice and/or piano lessons.+ Read More
Mr. Stephen M. is the best vocal teacher I have ever had. Originally, he was a vocal teacher at my school Woodward Academy. When he told me he was leaving Woodward, I made arrangements to continue taking voice lessons with him, because of how talented he was. He can truly change voices. He will push any student to reach their full potential. Most vocal teachers only focus on the basics: pitch, rhythm, and diction, but he goes beyond that and focuses on the basics as well as more advanced concepts. He will teach you all about posture, tone, emotion, sound placement, vowels, mouth shaping, and the history of the music. Although I am leaving for college, I will truly miss taking lessons with Mr. Stephen M. and hope that my musical experience in college will be as good as the one he provided me with in high school. If you want to take your voice to the next level, Mr. Stephen M. is the only option!+ Read More
Steven teaches our two kids Piano. They have really improved and enjoy their lessons. My kids describe him as kind, understanding, and somebody who makes piano fun and a good teacher. I highly recommend him
Stephen is a great teacher. He knows how to keep you engaged and help you try many different techniques for your voice to help you find the qualities that you are looking for.
Mr. McCool is a great teacher! He spent a lot of time working on our prior workbook to understand what our boy learned in the past. He focused on Art's weakness to fix his problems and most importantly he changed Art's attitude from just doing piano homework to enjoying music. We appreciate Mr. McCool's hard work!
Stephen is an excellent teacher. His feedback is very accurate and his rapport with our kid is great. He also makes good recommendations for further growth. I would recommend him further.
My 8 yr. old is really enjoying his voice lessons with Stephan. We notice that Stephan is fun and outgoing during his lessons with Michael.......yet, at the same time he is very patient and kind. Michael enjoys doing his HW lessons and always looks forward to Stephan's visit!