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Melissa M In HomeHome In StudioStudio
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Instruments: Piano, Voice, Keyboard
Styles: Classical, Jazz, Pop, Rock, Folk, Country, R&b, Gospel, Musical Theater, Opera, Avant-Garde

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Melissa M In Home In Studio
Instruments: Piano, Voice, Keyboard
Styles: Classical, Jazz, Pop, Rock, Folk, Country, R&b, Gospel, Musical Theater, Opera, Avant-Garde

Where I Teach:
In Your Home My Studio Online
Ages Taught: 10-80
Levels Taught:

EMAIL US OR CALL 877-687-4524

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ABOUT
Degrees / Training / Special Info:

DMA, James Madison University, Performance, Pedagogy, & Literature MFA, University of California, Irvine, Vocal Performance Post Graduate Artist Diploma, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Vocal Performance BM, University of the Pacific, Vocal Performance

Awards:

2016 Top Poster Prize for paper entitled "Vibrato Rate in Female Opera Singers and Female Sertanejo Singers" 2016 2nd place Virginia NATS Fairfax, VA 2014 Winner Redlands Bowl Young Artist Winner Redlands, CA 2014 3rd Place NATS-LA Young Artist Auditions Los Angeles, CA

Overview:
I have been teaching voice and piano since 2010. I have performed in music festivals all over the world including The American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria, Accademia Europa dell’Opera in Lucca, Italy, Angel Vocal Art in Los Angeles, CA, Russian Opera Workshop in Philadelphia, PA, and Highlands Opera Studio in Haliburton, Ontario. I have also performed with companies including Opera San Jose, The Napa Valley Music Association, The San Francisco Youth Chamber Orchestra, Opera on the Spot, and The Solano Chamber Society. I earned my Doctorate of Musical Arts in Vocal Performance, Pedagogy, and Literature from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA with Kevin McMillan. During my time in Harrisonburg, I founded Harrisonburg Opera Theatre and was the church choir director at Sunnyside Retirement Community Meredith Chapel. I completed my Post-Graduate Artist Diploma in Voice at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of acclaimed opera singer, Deborah Voigt. While in San Francisco, I interned in the Education Department of San Francisco Opera and taught Kindergarten and First grade music with the San Francisco Conservatory in the Schools mentor-ship program. I also received a full scholarship to attend the Rubin Institute for Music Criticism. I earned my Masters of Fine Arts in Vocal Performance from the University of California, Irvine at the Claire Trevor School of the Arts where I sang the National Anthem for President Barack Obama at the school’s 50th Anniversary Celebration. At UC Irvine, I received critical acclaim for my portrayal of Euridice in Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice, and as the Soprano in Pergolesi's Stabat Mater.
EXPERIENCE
My studio stands out because I teach students of all ages. I have experience working with children as young as four years old. It is often difficult to find teachers who are willing to work with musicians at such a young age, so I make that a staple of my practice. I also stand out because I focus specifically pedagogy. Pedagogy is the studying of teaching, so for the last several years it has been my priority to learn all of the techniques in teaching and to apply those methods when working with my students. I work with people of all ages ranging from 4-100! Many of my students sing in bands or in karaoke and have never had a voice lesson before. My frequent students are guys who want to improve their vocal stamina while singing in a band, usually with guitar. I have also worked with singers preparing for a musical theatre role, auditions, and concerts. I love performing, myself, but I love seeing my students in action. I am so proud to hear the progress and work my students exhibit when we have a recital or when they win an award or competition.
METHODS USED
I specialize in the Alfred Series for piano and My First Piano Adventure for young students. This approach focuses on ear training and reading music. Custom exercises and choice of material is based on the student's level and field of study. Lessons are scheduled at the student's convenience as per availability. Frequency and length of lessons is based on the students needs. Young voice students are taught general concepts, music theory, and ear training. After the voice is more mature, advanced and serious vocal study can be pursued. My students receive a well-rounded training in the style of their choice: Classical, Popular, Musical Theatre, and Jazz. I emphasize solid technique, posture, breathing, and control, in addition to music fundamentals.
LESSON STYLE
WHAT TO EXPECT When meeting with a student for the first time we always discuss his or her needs or goals. After that, we get into the foundation of building technique, starting with posture. Next, the student is assigned breathing exercises to practice. These exercises are structured to energize the body and manage the breath. Every single student learns about appoggio. This is the term used for the process of suspending exhalation while keeping the torso in the position of inhalation by using the transverse abdominis and obliques. Students also learn that the action of the diaphragm is involuntary, therefore the exercises in which we engage are in place to have command over physical activity that we can control. A TYPICAL VOICE LESSON After posture and breathing are addressed the students begin to learn how to produce tone, which encompasses the vocal onset and the closure of the vocal folds. Students realize that proper breath management and producing tone go hand in hand. The ideal that the student and I work towards is a balance between superfluous air flow and and pressed pressure. This concept leads to a clean onset in which the edges of the vocal folds cleanly come together and stay closed during singing. Students also learn how to negotiate and coordinate the vocal registers. This means that every student who walks into my studio learns where and what the larynx is. It is my job to be a second set of ears to help the student optimize his or her tone quality by maximizing vocal resonance. This concept may be different across genres, however every student learns how to begin coordinating the vocal process. HOW I TEACH My aim as a teacher of voice is to be flexible and innovative, and provide students with a clear and honest assessment. I strive to explain to each singer exactly how to complete a task, whether maintaining the position of inhalation or correcting posture. In lessons, I refrain from being demonstrative so that the student can find his or her own unique sound without attempting to copy my sound. I use this method so that the student learns how to be her own teacher. This way, the student will be able to identify and correct her own vocal problems. When I am not present, the student will have confidence in her skills and can make educated corrections in practice, rehearsals, and in performances. TECHNIQUE Throughout the course of lessons, it is my job to identify the most effective resonating space for the student and give her the skills to maintain that space. It is through the combination of effective breath management using appoggio and flow-phonation that the student becomes most efficient. Finding the most efficient technique for the student involves discovering the proper laryngeal position for the student’s voice type and by practicing continuity through all of the registers. As all of the aspects of technique are being built in the studio, it is my job to ensure that I am building a musician. This means that I go over how the student needs to learn a piece and how to perform a piece. Often times with young students, they do not have the musical skills to teach themselves the pieces assigned. Sometimes the voice teacher’s job is to “plunk out the notes.” I highly encourage my students to take piano lessons and to use technology resources to aid them in building musicianship so they feel confident reading music. This process takes time, but it is the first step in building a competent performer. MY GOALS I always cater to the students tastes while still meeting requirements, if any. I believe that this fosters joy and excitement in music. My goal as a voice teacher not only involves building a good singer, but creating a performer. I make sure that I not only find performing opportunities for my students, but also I create them. Every semester I hold a studio recital for my students to perform their repertoire in front of an audience. In the Fall of 2015 I founded a local opera company in order to bring classical music to the community. My students made up the chorus of Handel’s Messiah that we performed that December. In addition, I have invited my students to participate in the church choir I direct every week. I believe that learning how to sing must take place in the studio, but the most important thing that I can do as a teacher is to make sure that the student knows how to transfer the skills learned in the classroom to real-world performing experiences. APPROACH I believe in a holistic approach to teaching, which involves connection to the text and acting. Though I cover many of these aspects in the studio, it is extremely beneficial for students to go outside of the studio and engage in physical courses such as yoga, Alexander technique, acting and dance. I personally engage in these activities to relate to my students and to be able to explain how we need to engage the body in singing. I also encourage my students to have coachings with other professionals to gain more insight into their repertoire. Not every student who comes to my studio wants to sing opera. Many students want to sing in choir, in church, or just for fun. Overall, I always come from a place of acceptance and non judgement. Every voice is unique and I strive to help my students not only reach their goals, but surpass them.
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3 REVIEWS
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Courtney

5

Melissa is an amazing person and a wonderful teacher. I felt comfortable with her within the first 2 minutes, and accomplished more in our first session than I had in years on my own. She is awesome and I recommend her wholeheartedly to anyone who values teaching ability equally with personality! I will be a student until I can't sing anymore.

Review posted on Sep 06, 2019

Roger

5

Love Dr. M! I've wanted to take voice lessons forever but I have been hesitant due to my lack of experience. Dr. M not only made me feel comfortable but also confident in the voice that I have. She's personal and warm but also very professional. She never gets frustrated with obstacles I face in my lessons; instead she helps ways to overcome them. I've never left a lesson feeling disappointed with my ability, something I experienced with other voice teachers. I feel confident in my voice and I owe that all to Melissa. For instance, during one lessons I was feeling a little off. Rather than getting frustrated she helped me focus on great ways to approach singing when not feeling your best. Dr. M rocks! If you are looking for a voice teacher new or experienced I would definitely recommend Dr. M. Top notch lessons and overall awesome woman!

Review posted on Sep 04, 2019

Scott

5

Melissa is an amazing person and a wonderful teacher. I felt comfortable with her within the first 2 minutes, and accomplished more in our first session than I had in years on my own. She is awesome and I recommend her wholeheartedly to anyone who values teaching ability equally with personality! I will be a student until I can't sing anymore.

Review posted on Dec 01, 2018
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