Thomas Garrison

Thomas G.

Kansas City, MO

Lesson Details

Opera Voice

Levels Taught:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
I am a Roster Artist at Lyric Opera of Kansas City with 92 productions to my credit. I have also sung with New Haven Opera. I am currently singing La Bohème for the sixth time and awaiting contracts for the 2014-2015 season.
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Thomas teaches



Thomas passed a background check that includes a SSN verification, national criminal record check, and sex offender registry search. Learn More
Thomas delivers an exceptional lesson experience and ranks in the top 15% of our teachers nationwide.
Teaches students:
Ages 16+ and special needs

Teaching since:
July 1975

Thomas began playing the piano when he was three, had a private teacher at age seven, and studied in high school at Jordan College of Music, Butler University. When he began his music studies at Ball State University, he learned that he could also sing! He earned his Master’s degree at University of Bridgeport, and returned to Ball State for a Doctor of Arts in Voice. His postgraduate education continued winning a fellowship at Aspen Music Festival (Fiora Contino, Margaret Hillis and Charlene Archibeque), Clare College Cambridge (where his teachers included John Rutter, Sir David Willcocks and Stephen Cleobury), The Britten-Pears School (Hugues Cuenod) and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities to Mozart’s Worlds in Vienna.

Thomas shared that studying at Clare College Cambridge, deciding to remain in London, and teaching at the Hall Mead School gave him an opportunity to broaden his horizons. He developed a close relationship with British composer Dal Strutt, who composed several pieces for his voice and sang premieres of Strutt’s work at the Greenwich Festival, the British Music Information Center, All Saints Society, Essex, and other venues around London. The guitarist Martin Vishnick invited him to sing songs by the Renaissance English composers John Dowland and Thomas Campion on his recitals. Thomas performed as soloist with the Capella Singers, Ramsey Singers, and the Pink Singers, as their soloist in West Berlin for Hans Eisler’s “Die Mutter.”

Thomas sang the first performances of John Rutter’s “Shadows” for voice and guitar, with guitarist Ramona Hartmetz in Kansas City as well as Rutter’s “Mass for the Children” with the Philharmonia of Kansas City. He served as baritone soloist for Grace and Holy Trinity Cathedral, KC, and on tour in Salzburg, Paris, Florence, Westminster Abbey and the cathedrals of Christchurch, St. Mary’s, Southwell, Ely, St. Patrick’s, St. Davids, Birmingham, Wells, Bristol, Worcester, Exeter and Norwich.

After singing opera throughout his college years, his first ‘professional’ opera was “Die Fledermaus” at New Haven Opera. Lyric Opera Kansas City hired Thomas in 1981 for the chorus of “Fidelio” and the rest is history! One hundred plus shows, and counting!

*** Lesson Details ***
I am a laid back teacher with a great sense of humor. You will also learn a lot of music theory and music history from me! My lessons begin with some training in reading music (Music Theory) and I suggest that you purchase Alfred's Music Theory Volume One or Two depending on your level of understanding.

After refreshing your music reading and rhythm skills, we will listen to you sing and begin to vocalize. I will develop exercises just for you, to help you develop your voice, making it stronger and more flexible.

When you have warmed up your voice with vocal exercises, we will work together on the music you wish to learn. It could be a song, an aria, a Broadway or Opera aria, or a religious piece.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Large 30 foot living room with two pianos, music stands, keyboard, couches, seating area.
Mac computer, multiple cameras and great sound system.

*** Specialties ***
Classical Bel Canto (beautiful voice) style, operatic singing, Broadway style, Art Songs (Lieder in French, German and Italian.)

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Roster Artist
Feb 1982 - Present
Lyric Opera of Kansas City

I have sung in the chorus and compramario roles for Lyric Opera of Kansas City for 33 years. I will sing in the Lyric's production of CARMEN in April and May 2016, my 93rd opera!

Science Fair Judge
Apr 2017 - Apr 2017
Science City Union Station

I was invited to judge science fair projects in the Behavioral
Sciences category. It was so much fun I plan to do it again next year!


Doctor of Arts
Aug 1975 - Present
Ball State University
Certificate in Theatre and Culture of the 20th Century
Jun 1987 - Aug 1987
University of London


Professional Proficiency
Professional Proficiency


British Theatre and Culture of the Twentieth Century
Jul 1988
University of London

Fellowship study in British Theatre and Culture (art, literature, drama). Summer study 1988.


Mozarts Worlds
Jun 2006
National Endowment for the Humanities


American Guild of Musical Artists
Mar 1982

An American labor union that represents 8,000 current and retired opera singers, ballet and other dancers, opera directors, backstage production personnel at opera and dance companies, and figure skaters.

National Association for Music Education
Aug 1971

Founded in 1907, NAfME is among the world’s largest arts education organizations. NAfME advocates at the local, state, and national levels; provides resources for teachers, parents, and administrators; hosts professional development events; and offers a variety of opportunities for students and teachers.

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Photos & Videos

Can you spot me conducting as the camera pans around the chapter house of Wells Cathedral, UK?
Photo by Thomas G.

Atlantis Cruise, with my husband, Dr. Larry Garrison Sullivan, Dean of the School of Science and Health at Avila University, Kansas City.

Bass Section Leader, Grace and Holy Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Kansas City

Photo by Thomas G.

Photo by Thomas G.

Photo by Thomas G.

Photo by Thomas G.

Poulenc Soiree, Grace and Holy 
Trinity Cathedral, Kansas City


8 Reviews

Write a Review
Jo Ann Sep 20, 2017
Singing · In home

He may be good if you want to sing opera. I just didn't connect with him and his 'Style' of teaching. I was looking for more current music and that was where a very large disconnect was.

Jocelyn B. Apr 5, 2017
Singing · In home

Right off the bat I could tell that my daughter will flourish with Dr. G. He is very encouraging while simultaneously effective at improving a weak nuance of her current skill set without making it feel like a negative critique. She is very excited to see what he can help her accomplish.

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Meta Evans Jul 21, 2015
Singing · In studio

Awesome teacher! The good Dr. knows his stuff and has the credentials to prove it. If you want to improve your voice give him a try. You won't be disappointed.

John D. May 3, 2013
Singing ·

Beyond Compare

I never thought anyone and I mean anyone could get me past the fear of singing. I have over three decades of acting, including a prestigous acting school, but never developed confidence in singing. Thomas taught me. He helped me develop my new voice. Wow! Thank you sir!

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Julianna D. Feb 11, 2013
Opera Voice ·

Tom is a most excellent vocal instructor

Tom is a wonderful teacher. He is always cheerful and encouraging and positive. He searches for the best selections to match my voice. He helps me work toward the best I can be and doesn't let me "settle" for anything less. Best of all, he is so fun to be with.

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Rickie J. Feb 8, 2013
Piano ·

Piano Lessons

I started taking piano lessons from Dr Garrison in August 0f 2012. He has taught me about music notes and all their meanings. I started as a beginner with no musical knowledge or background. I am 56 and with Dr Garrison teaching method, knowledge and education he's given me the understanding I need to continue to learn from his instructions. Any questionsed that I have he has an answer for and each problem I have he solves each and everytime. I started my first lesson with an old keyboard I brought at a yard sale, but never used it. Since I have been under the instructions of Dr Garrison I have brought a Baldwin piano without any hesitation. I truly know with his teaching method/instructions that I will continue to learn something new at each lesson.

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ToniW Jun 7, 2012

Vocal Feedback

I've been with Dr. Thomas G. for about three weeks now, and I am excited to be his student. He is a wonderful person, very friendly and approachable. He is highly knowledgeable about music and the technical development of the voice. Dr. Thomas presents a very unique approach while coaching students who aspire to sing and develop their talent in music.

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MichaelZ Jan 3, 2012

Fine Teacher

Tom is a very helpful, knowledgeable and encouraging instructor. I highly recommend him to others.

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