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BM, University of Houston, Vocal Performance
My name is Jarrell. I am a recent graduate of the University of Houston with a Bachelors of Music in Vocal Performance. I have had opportunities to perform recitals, operas and solo performances. I have performed in multiple places across the United States. I have studied music for 12 years, performed in 12 operas, premiered a main role in an opera world premier, given 2 solo recitals, and performed at choral conferences. I have also stage managed and been a part of deck crews for shows. I have worked with over 800 children in personal growth development and care taking and have recently began instructing students in voice lessons in the last year of my studies. I teach vocal technique, interpretation, aural skills, sight-reading and performance practice in opera, musical theatre, art song and pop genres. I love inspiring music appreciation as well as building skills, vocal technique and passion within my students.
I have been instructing students in voice for a year now. I have worked with kids as young as 6 years old to high school level. I encourage consistent and regular practice, but also breaks and time to ask questions if one is stuck and not sure what to do. I mainly use classical style techniques and songs to build strong vocal instruments, but I also reference and use genres that individual students prefer to sing to keep their interest and build their love for singing. I strongly believe referencing pop and youth culture can help build techniques that are clear and understandable to my students. In my experience, but is no surprise, I've seen that children learn in different ways. Flexibility within ones teaching style is necessary to help develop the young singer. I encourage creativity, understanding and fun. Music and singing is a creative outlet and should be fun, and if the student is having fun and understanding what is happening, then their passion for it will grow.
My methods are specific for age and advancement. For younger and/or beginner level students I work mostly on ear training. This includes the ability to match pitch, sing a scale in different keys, sing different intervals in different keys, sight-read and rhythm. When I give a student a song, I specify a song for their level and sometimes I have them pick a song they want to do for fun. With these songs we work on acting, interpretation, confidence and ease of singing.
For my students who are more advanced and who's voices have begun to change, I work on technique and ease of vocal production. Singing should be easy and effortless, but it takes a lot of training and reflection to do it. I focus on classical vocal technique. I apply the same method of picking a song (something in Italian) and having the student pick a song. I, however, focus mostly on technique and allow the student to do the necessary song preparations outside of the lesson (unless they are needing help). This gives them the ability to build their own characters and interpretations. This also pushes them to use the skills that they have and make them stronger. When I see the student next we build on their ideas and/or brainstorm, and we focus on vocal technique and performing.
I want my students to succeed, so when I begin teaching a student, I pay attention to their personalities and observe methods that do and do not work for them.
I ask a lot of questions and encourage them to ask questions and give feedback, and I try to make the environment comfortable so they feel comfortable doing so. I teach based on understanding. If one does not understand then they can't move forward, so I make sure my students aren't confused. I always give positive feedback on any execution before talking about things we can improve on. I do this to let them know that they are doing well, but we can always strive to get better. I always ask "how does that feel" and "do you understand"? I do this because singing should never hurt. If it hurts then its wrong and we need to correct it. I ask the second question, again, to make sure there are no communication barriers and to make sure I am explaining things in a way that they understand. I encourage progress, not the speed of which progress occurs.
I set realistic goals and tasks that help focus on other aspects of performing so the student is not focused on their own voice and singing all the time. The very first thing I always do before each lesson is I ask "What do you want to work on today"? This can mean vocal technique, acting choices, interpretation or a particular passage within a song. This helps me tailor the lesson and teaching to the wants and needs of the student, allowing them to control the direction they want to take in their lessons.
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