Teacher Spotlight: Lenia – Flute, Voice, and Piano Teacher in Denton, TX

Lenia, a native from Havana, Cuba, has excelled throughout her musical career as much as a flutist in the classical genre as she has ventured into the jazz world. At the age of fifteen years old, she participated as a soloist with the symphony orchestra of the Conservatory Guillermo Tomas, Cuba in the second festival of symphony orchestras in Cuba. Her professional journey as a flutist started when she joined the jazz band of the famous cabaret “Tropicana” in Cuba, accompanying the show for 4 years while also serving as an alternate flutist in the National Band of Cuba. During this time, she made several international trips abroad as a jazz flute player and vocalist with different ensembles which allowed her to gain experience in performing a wide repertoire of traditional Cuban music, Latin jazz, and standard jazz. Ms. Bolano obtained her most recent contract as flutist and vocalist in 2010 in the United Arab Emirates for 2 years, after which she decided to move definitively to the United States to continue her studies in music.

In 2016 Lenia was one of the winners for the Austin Flute Society Masterclass Competition. In 2017, she was the principal flute of the Mississippi Intercollegiate Band (Honor Band event), and a guest artist at the Louisiana Flute Festival teaching a jazz class entitled “Thinking Outside the Box”. Also, the same year she was selected as an alternate for the NFA Jazz Flute Masterclass and one of the winners of the NFA Flute Choir Competition.

She was the principal flutist of the 41st Army Band in Mississippi when Lenia performed exclusively with the Jazz Combo of the unit which was given the highest possible certification by Army Music Officers. CW2 Casey Kirk, Chief of Command of the unit quoted “Due to her incredible musical ability, they were selected to perform at the 2018 Army Music Leaders Conference”. Lenia has also been awarded the coin of recognition of the Army Band Excellence of the Army National Guard.

Her interests in composition have led to two of her most recent works being premiered at the University of Southern Mississippi; “Nostalgia” for flute choir and “Trio for Two Friends”. Besides, “Trio for Two Friends” was accepted to be a performance by the Music by Women Festival which was performed in March 2018.

Lenia graduated from the Conservatory of Cuba “Guillermo Tomas” with honors.  In 2012, she was awarded a generous scholarship at the University of Southern Mississippi where she culminated with honors her bachelor studies in music performance with Dr. Mezzadri. At USM, she earned the opportunity to perform in masterclasses with flutists like Richard Sherman, Jim Walker, Raffaele Trevisani, and others. She is currently doing her master’s degree in Music Performance at the University of North Texas, and she remains as a teacher of flute, piano and voice lessons.

Here is what others are saying about Lenia:

I would characterize Lenia’s teaching style as passionate and energetic. She has a way of reaching all students despite what instrument they play. Lenia has a strong knowledge of the history of the music, styles, and techniques… Knowing these things are great when trying to explain music/rhythm to students, its origin, and ways to play it using a different style/technique.

Music Educator, 41st Army Band

I would recommend Lenia to anyone. She is a wonderful person. Lenia works very well with others and has a very agreeable and nice manner about her. Lenia is an amazing musician – really not any weak points. Any student would be greatly enhanced by her teaching. She is very good about being places on time and an effective communicator with all. She has a willing attitude to do any task that is asked of her.

Commander of the 41st Army Band

Beginning in 2007 Lenia has gained extensive teaching experience, working with students of all ages on the flute, piano, as well as vocal. If you have the privelege of working with Lenia, you will not regret your choice!

Contact Starlight Music Lessons to schedule your trial lesson with Lenia!

Teacher Spotlight: Ashley – Piano and Voice Teacher in Denton, TX

Ashley is a native of Houston, Texas. In 2019, she received her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from McNeese State University. In 2012 she attended the University of Houston where she sang in multiple productions at the Moores School of Music. Credits include The Magic Flute,The Italian Straw Hat and Moscow, Cheryomushki. In 2012 she premiered the Houston Grand Opera song cycle, Pieces of 9/11 by Jake Heggie.

While attending the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, Ashley participated in productions such as Simply Grimm at Lone Star Lyric Music Festival and Sondheim’s  A Little Night Music as Mrs. Nordstrom. In 2012 she was the first place winner of the On Your Way- Classical Voice Competition. Ashley was also a part of the prestigious Houston Grand Opera High School Voice Studio in 2012. She made her musical debut as Kate in Legally Blonde with Fort Bend Theatre. Ashley then went on to take on the role of Irene in Footloose, Hattie in Kiss Me Kate, Waitress in Rock of Ages and Johanna in Sweeney Todd.

In 2019, Ashley competed in the National Association of Teachers of Singing- Southern Region in 2019 where she won first place. Ashley is a recipient of the Juliet Hardtner Endowed Music Scholarship. She has also been featured as a soloist for Mozart’s Coronation Mass, Handel’s Messiah, and Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass.

In addition to her extensive performance experience, Ashley has taught privately for over two years. In 2017 she took on the position as the primary voice instructor at Southwest Louisiana Music Studios. She loves teaching children of all ages and levels as well as adults, and her teaching style can be best described as loving and caring. Ashley’s success as an educator is largely due to her ability to communicate well with her students.

What others are saying about Ashley:

Ashley has many strengths. She is a very talented singer and performer. She is also very personable and has a wonderful, upbeat personality and approach. Her perseverance as a student and young professional has always been very impressive to me as well.

– Music Director of Westminster United Methodist Church, Houston, Tx

Ashley is very outgoing and personable. She relates very well to students of different age groups/levels.

– Lake Charles, LA

Ashley is currently pursuing her Master of Music in Voice Performance at the University of North Texas. She hopes to continue to inspire young musicians as much as they inspire her. 

If you would like to have a trial lesson with Ashley, enroll in Starlight Music Lessons today!

Teacher Spotlight: Trevor – Guitar, Violin, and Voice Teacher in McKinney, TX

Trevor has been engaged in music from a very early age, when he was first enrolled in beginner’s piano lessons at age six. While this training gave him some preliminary skills in reading music and playing very basic scales and children’s pieces, his true, feverous passion for music wasn’t fully ignited until he started taking guitar lessons at around age eight. What swiftly followed was a strong love for most sub-genres of alternative rock that endures to this day, and inspired him even while he was still in elementary to begin to attempt to write his own songs for guitar and vocals.

Between the sixth grade and his senior year in high school, Trevor was further instructed in guitar by Warren McDonald, a widely acclaimed private teacher in Allen, TX who is a graduate of the University of North Texas’ highly renowned, competitive, and skilled College of Music.

Simultaneously, also starting during his time in the sixth grade, Trevor joined the Faubion Middle School orchestra in McKinney, TX, and began private lessons as a violist. These lessons continued with various different instructors all throughout the remainder of middle school, his time as a member of the McKinney High School orchestra, and his time in the Southwestern University String and Wind Ensemble in Georgetown, TX, where he served as the first chair violist during his Junior and Senior years. At the same time, during these final two years of college, Trevor also started viola training with local Austin Symphony Orchestra violist Blake Turner.

In addition to all of this guitar and viola education, Trevor, initially seeking to simply improve his ability to sing rock music, took formal solo vocal lessons between his Sophomore and Senior years of high school with fellow McKinney resident, Luann Ewbank, a regular private teacher for many local choir students. Not only did all of this instruction greatly improve his singing skills and unlock his full tenor range potential (gotta be able to howl for those rock songs!), but Luann also trained Trevor in opera arias. Both of these newly gained skills later allowed Trevor to perform in his university’s highly praised acapella group “Sailors and Sirens” for about a year. 

Trevor is a friendly and easy-going instructor. He desires to foster not only a strong teacher/student relationship, but a friendship that will allow the student to feel comfortable enough to be honest about where they’re currently at with their skills, how much they practiced and how the practice went, ask questions, articulate their ideas, play their best when asked, etc. Having been a music student in some form or another for around fifteen years, Trevor understands frustrating practice can be and wants to balance making sure that the student is genuinely enjoying the lessons and their instrument while also still improving their skills.

Trevor is available to train students in practically any form of pop/rock or folk on guitar, viola/violin and vocals and can teach more classical styles and techniques on viola/violin and vocals.

Trevor attained his Bachelor’s of Music in Music Theory/Composition from Southwestern University, where he spent several years taking courses in music theory, solfege/ear training, music literature, orchestration, music technology, conducting, etc., and studied composition for around two and a half years with Dr. Jason Hoogerhyde and Dr. Michael Mikulka for just over four months. Trevor is a passionate singer/songwriter/composer and is highly qualified to also teach songwriting/music composition to any interested students.

Teacher Spotlight: Regina – Piano and Voice Teacher in Dallas, TX

It is our pleasure to introduce Regina, our spectacular piano and voice teacher in Dallas, TX!
Regina, Piano and Voice Teacher in Dallas, TX
Educational/Performance Background: Regina holds a Masters of Music in Vocal Performance from Southern Methodist University, where she studied with Dale Dietert. Regina completed her undergraduate degree in Music Education from the University of Texas at San Antonio where she studied with soprano, Linda Poetschke. She started her musical journey at a young age, singing in the Children’s Chorus of San Antonio for 12 years. Regina has twice been a semi-finalist in the Texoma NATS competition and won first place in her division at the South Texas NATS competition. Regina has sung concerts with the Texas Baroque Ensemble around the state of Texas including Handel’s Messiah and Monteverdi’s Vespers. Regina was the 2017 recipient of the Roy and Sue Johnson Opera Theatre Award. In the summer of 2017, Regina traveled to Taos, New Mexico to perform the role of Susanna in the opera The Singing Violin for the Cultural Institute at SMU-in-Taos and most recently to South Africa to perform the opera Wading Home, a work she premiered in 2016.
Teaching Background:   Regina is very passionate about working with students of all ages. Regina’s teaching career began working with choirs and small ensembles, preparing them for contest and concert including internships with local choruses. During her student teaching, she discovered a love for working with students one on one and began tutoring students in music theory/sight-reading as well as preparing them for local and state competitions. Regina has taught private voice and piano lessons since 2014. Still fueled by a passion for working with groups and ensembles, Regina has taught musical theatre and piano group classes and camps as well as directed children’s musicals. In addition to musical theatre, Regina has also taught general music in private and charter schools.
Personality/Teaching Style:   Regina has a very bubbly and outgoing personality. Her students can oftentimes be found laughing in their lessons because she loves to make things fun and enjoyable. Throughout her training, Regina had many difficulties to overcome in her vocal technique. Her experiences have given her a unique perspective that has strengthen her ear to various vocal faults and in turn makes it possible for her to tailor lessons to individual students and truly improve each student’s unique voice.
Special Skills:   Although Regina is classically trained, she is able to teach various genres including opera, pop, jazz, and gospel. Regina has worked with ages 3-35 and prides herself in being adaptable. Regina will do anything in her power to help her students and if she doesn’t know an answer she will take every step to figure it out. Regina sees herself as a lifelong learner and believes she learns just as much from her students and they do from her. Regina currently maintains her personal musical expression by singing as a cantor at a catholic parish and in local cover bands.

What others are saying about Regina:

Regina utilizes healthy vocal technique, and she incorporates both her performance and education background to create a great teaching experience. – Dallas, TX
Regina is extremely professional, she is engaging and precise, and she has a great personality. – Dallas, TX

If you choose to invite Regina into your home for piano or voice lessons, you will not be disappointed! If you are ready to enroll, click here to fill out our quick enrollment form.
Click here if you have questions and would like to talk to us about scheduling a trial lesson with Regina. If you live in another city in DFW or would like to inquire about our other teachers, let us know! We will do everything we can to match you with your ideal teacher!

Teacher Spotlight: Leeann – Voice, Guitar, and Piano Teacher in Denton

We’re thrilled to introduce Leeann, our voice, guitar, and piano teacher in Denton, TX!

Educational Background :

Leeann has been singing since she was able to talk. She was in choir at various ages with her school and church growing up. Leeann continued her love of music with private lessons in voice, piano, and guitar.  While developing her skills, Leeann performed anywhere she was able, including local coffee shops and worship services.

In 2016, Leeann chose to further her education in music at Texas Woman’s University, where she is currently studying music therapy.

Teaching Background :

Leeann has had the opportunity to teach English classes to children, ages ranging from four to eighteen years old, across the world. She is excited to begin teaching voice, piano, and guitar to students in Texas.

Personality and Teaching Style :

Leeann is eager to share her passion for music with students. It is her goal to inspire her students by showing them that the more they learn and dig into music, the more beautiful and amazing music will be to them. Leeann does not have a one-size-fits-all approach to teaching. She sees each of her students as an individual, and her teaching style varies based on the student and what goals and desires they have for their lessons. She wants each one of her students to see progression, but feels it is important to have fun in the process. Leeann loves getting to know her students and finding out what exactly they are passionate about and how that can connect with music.

Special Skills:

Leeann has copious experience with performance and song writing. She loves helping her students discover how to incorporate their own uniqueness and creativity into what they are singing or playing, and she is passionate about teaching kids how to broaden and challenge their mind by creating and writing music.

If you are looking for voice, guitar, or piano lessons in Denton, look no further! Fill out our enrollment form and request Leeann!

Teacher Spotlight: Theodor – Voice / Singing Teacher in Flower Mound

It is our honor to introduce to you our newest member of the Starlight Music Lessons team. Theodor is now teaching singing lessons in Flower Mound.

Flower Mound voice teacherTheodor hails from AnnArbor, where he studied voice at the University of Michigan with Carlos Chausson, Eva Likova and Lorna Haywood, there he presented concerts with conductors like Gari Bertini, Gustav Meier, Donald Bryant, Carl St. Clair, and Robert Shaw. He gave concerts with the Detroit Symphony, Contemporary Directions Ensemble, Michigan Symphony Orchestra, Grand Rapids Symphony, and Grand Rapids Arte Nova Ensemble.

His concert activities brought him to New York and Philadelphia. Under the tutelage of Martin Katz he prepared a series of Liederabende -some of which were broadcast live on radio- in which he sang the Lied-Cycles of Schubert, Die Winterreise and Die Schöne Müllerin, as well as works from Britten, Ravel, and Wolf. This led to a European concert tour in Warsaw, Prague, Budapest, Krakow and Vienna, and throughout Germany accompanied by pianists Jakov Kreizberg , Werner Seitzer and Bernhardt Renzikovski.

Theodor made his opera debut at the University of Michigan as Nick Shadow (The Rakes Progress) under the direction of Robert Altman the conductor was Gustav Meier here he also sang Marcello (La Boheme), Conte Almaviva, (Le Nozze di Figaro), Gianni Schicchi and Ottone (L’incoronazione di Poppea).

He earned his Diploma from the University of Michigan and moved to New York, where he continued his musical studies in New York at the Juilliard School with Ellen Faull, Alberta Masiello, Licia Albanese, Renato Cappecchi, Alfredo Kraus, Sherrill Milnes and Luciano Pavarotti. Before finishing his studies he sang under conductors, Anton Coppola, Raymond Leppard, Edo De Waart, Klauspeter Seibel, Eve Queller, and Mitchell Krieger, roles such as, Sid (Albert Herring) and with Reneè Fleming as Manager (Casey at the Bat) in Lincoln Center. With pianist Haesook Rhee he presented in Lincoln Center a program of Brahms and Schubert Lieder and in Alice Tulley Hall, with pianist Karen Becker he sang works of Charles Ives.

Teaching Experience:

Throughout his student years Rulfs was professionally engaged as a soloist/section leader and singing coach for choirs in churches in Detroit and New York City. He gave his first formal lessons at The Rockland Community Music School (now the, The Rockland Conservatory of Music) in New York. Here he encountered students of all ages among them; child  stars from Broadway and aspiring prodigies from the Juilliard pre-college division.

In 1988 the Zurich opera enFor the next twenty-four years Rulfs was a featured soloist on leading opera and concert stages in Europe. He also maintained private studios in Aachen, Hildesheim, Heidelberg and Frankfurt, His students earned International prizes, engaged at professional theaters and gained entry to major conservatories and universities in Europe and the United States.

Most recently Theodore Rulfs served as guest lecturer at the German College of Barcelona where he taught German Song Repertoire and was director of Mozart’s opera, THE MAGIC FLUTE. Theodore teaches the old Italian method which was basis of his teachers success. He believes; the secrets of Belcanto (beautiful singing) are the same for any style of music. In four years he performed over twenty operas in Spain’s leading Opera the Gran Teatro del Liceu whilst appearing regularly at St Georges Anglican Church and teaching at the El Musical Conservatory.

Because his students typically make large strides in vocal quality (power and range) in the first weeks, Rulfs warns that the true path requires great discipline and time.  With great power comes great responsibility.. It is not enough to be the loudest onstage or to sing the highest note. The true artist constantly strives the find the deepest truest interpretation of a given piece of music . Or, as the great theater pedagog Constantin Stanislavski said,  “Love the art in yourself and not yourself in the art.”

If you are looking for voice lessons in Flower Mound, look no further! We also offer piano lessons, guitar lessons, and more all throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. Contact us today to get started with private lessons in the comfort of your own home!

Vocal Singing Lessons – Private Voice Lessons in Your Home

“If I love to sing and can carry a tune, what’s the point of private voice lessons?”

In this post we will address the purpose and need for vocal singing lessons.

I am sure you are well aware of the many opportunities to sing for a crowd. For voiceadults, these opportunities might include karaoke night, community theatre and community events, church choirs and praise teams, etc. Children can sing in choirs, school musicals, private arts schools, and participate in a variety of music camps. With the abundant opportunities to practice singing (not to mention fun shower acoustics), what’s the point of taking vocal singing lessons?

The ability to carry a tune is one many adults and children possess. For this reason, one may feel that vocal singing lessons are superfluous. But vocal singing lessons most certainly are not superfluous. Let’s discuss what is involved in vocal singing lessons besides simply learning some notes and song lyrics.

We all know that our vocal chords are important to communication, but that’s not all! The human vocal chords are an instrument! This instrument can be used in so many ways: talking, yelling, laughing, coughing, sneezing, whispering, and singing. But of course you know that. However, what many people do not know or even think about is that, like any other instrument, our vocal chords need to be properly used and cared for.

One thing a good vocal coach will teach is the anatomy of the human voice. This may sound boring, but don’t be fooled! This is some really interesting stuff! And understanding the anatomy of the human voice is essential in order to control the sound that is made with the voice.

A good voice teacher will also focus on breathing. Do you ever wonder if you or your child is breathing properly when singing?… “We all know how to breath, don’t we? What could a vocal coach possible teach me about breathing?” Many voice students are surprised to learn that they are breathing in such a way that can actually be working against them while they strive to be a good singer. When a person is asked to take a deep breath, it usually results in a noisy intake of air, while the shoulders rise and the upper chest expands. This type of breathing actually limits the amount of air that can be used to project a musical phrase. Vocal coaches offer many exercises for the beginning voice student in order to develop a strong ability to breath and control one’s breath before a single note is even sung.

Other elements to a good voice lesson include learning to keep the correct posture conducive to singing well: relaxed, but erect. Pronunciation is also an important skill often overlooked by the untrained singer. The voice teacher will also work with his/her student on good pitch – something incredibly important to a singer. It is not uncommon for a singer to think he has good pitch simply because he can’t hear otherwise. His voice teacher will help the student develop good pitch.

The real fun comes when these building blocks of vocal technique (breath, posture, diction, and pitch) are used together to make music! At this point the teacher will work with the student on tone. Music tells a story, and the most enjoyment comes to the singer as well as the audience when the singer is able to tell the story of the music and back it up with good vocal technique.

Vocal training is not only reserved for beginner musicians. Even professional singers continue to receive vocal coaching. And if the community theatre holds auditions or a child desires to become involved in the school musical, vocal singing lessons can make the difference between a good audition and a spectacular performance.

Starlight Music Lessons offers vocal singing lessons in DFW. We would love to help you realize your singing potential! Click here to enroll in vocal singing lessons in your home.