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Opera Fellowship / AJ Fletcher Opera Institute / 2017-2019
Graduate Assitantship / Maryland Opera Studio / 2015-2017
Ethyl Butler Centennial Merit Scholarship / UNCG / 2011-2015
2nd Place / Heafner Williams Vocal Competition / 2019
My name is James and I am an operatic tenor and voice teacher based in Northern Virginia. I most recently graduated from the AJ Fletcher Opera Institute at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, and hold a Master's degree in Opera Performance from the Maryland Opera Studio at the University of Maryland and a Bachlor's degree in Voice Performance from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. My professional performance experiences have taken me up and down the East Coast, all the way from Greenville, South Carolina to Lebanon, New Hampshire.
In addition to over a decade of performing experience, I have acquired eight years of fully funded training from three of the leading programs in the country in opera, vocal pedagogy, lyric diction (Italian, French, German and English), stage craft, acting methods, mime, mask, body awareness, and movement. This experience has equipped me with a breadth of tools and teaching methods that allow me to work successfully with any student, regardless of their experience level or learning style. I have taught voice lessons for four years, both through the University of Maryland as part of our vocal pedagogy course, and in the DC Metropolitan area privately.
The goal of good vocal technique is to provide the singer with the tools to express themselves artistically with complete freedom. This freedom of vocal expression is built upon a few basic principles: an efficient breathing process, proper posture, coordinated bodily support, efficient phonation, and an open or relaxed throat. There are countless physical and psychological barriers that singers encounter which interrupt these qualities, and it is the responsibility of the voice teacher to identify those obstacles and provide the student with affirmative solutions to overcoming them.
Each student has individual strengths, weaknesses, physical and emotional needs and goals for their singing, and it is my responsibility as a teacher to meet students where they are. By facilitating a safe and low-pressure learning environment during a lesson, the student is free to explore their own abilities, experiment through trial and error, and fully flourish on their singing journey. I believe good technique is best discovered through the diligent study of scales and vocalises, which are then incorporated into whatever repertoire they are interested in working on.
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