Teacher Spotlight: Daria – Voice, Violin, and Piano Teacher in Frisco, TX

It is our pleasure to introduce Daria, our spectacular piano, voice, and violin teacher in Frisco, TX! Daria offers lessons online and in her Frisco studio.

Daria – Piano, Voice, and Violin

Educational Background
Daria holds both Bachelor of Music and Master of Music from The Manhattan School of Music, the world-renowned music conservatory. She has studied voice with Mignon Dunn and Maitl Peters and accompanying with Kenneth Merrill. She went on to study voice with Lorraine Ernst Sandra Darling and at John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University, received her Artist Diploma. Later on she studied voice with David Jones. Additional studies include Musical Theatre from New York University, German Lieder Program from University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, Dalcroze Teacher Training Program from the Dalcroze School at Lucy Moses School, Professional Artist Program from Songfest Festival, and Advanced Artist Opera Workshop Program from Daniel Ferro’s Vocal Program.

Daria's Studio
Daria’s Studio

Teaching Background
As a highly dedicated music teacher with more than 16 years of experience, Daria has taught classical voice, musical theatre, piano, beginner violin, and children/youth/adult choirs in a kindergarten, private schools with public schools’ setting, and a college.

Personality/Teaching Style
Daria is a cheerful and uplifting person who has a caring and a passionate heart. She believes in a flexible manner of instruction, responsive to the unique personality of each student.

Styles & Methods I can Teach
Dalcroze, Alfred, Bastien, Hanon, Suzuki, Concone, Marchesi, Alexander Technique, Stage Combat, Hymns, Classical, Musical Theatre, College/Grad school Audition Preparation, Competition Preparation

What others are saying about Daria:

Ms. Chung is extremely dedicated to the concept of education. She feels a strong sense of responsibility to the students in her classes and she takes their success very personally. She is also exceedingly patient with all students, encourages them and coaxes the very best effort from each and every one. And I think this is the reason that her students love her so much and made such a huge improvement on making their music in such a short period of time. Ms. Chung is clearly one of the best faculty I have worked with in the last 19 years.

Daria is an enthusiastic and dedicated teacher. She would lead the students patiently step by step to help them make the right sound needed for the piece. She is willing to repeat as many times as possible until the students finally understand the idea. I have seen many students be amazed at the sound they were able to produce after her coaching.

Daria is a very sincere and caring person. She is able to understand and relate to many different people with various environments which must be the reason she was able to successfully teach various students and work in different environments. Also, she has given many performances for charity for the people in need for help.

Special Skills
Daria has given numerous solo recitals throughout the United States of America, Europe and Korea including New York Debut Solo Recital at Weill Recital at Carnegie Hall as an award recipient. She has also appeared in various chamber ensembles as a soloist and operas as main soprano roles.
Daria was a winner of the Artists International Competition, National Society of Arts and Letters Competition and the NATS Artist Awards Competition.

If you choose to learn from Daria, 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 Daria. 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: Lauren – Piano and Voice Teacher in Dallas, TX

Educational Background:

Lauren is currently finishing her bachelor’s degree in music at Southern Methodist University where she is studying with Camille King. She has been a music student for most of her life starting at age 4. Lauren is part of the Meadows Opera Ensemble and has appeared in many productions including Alcina, Our Town, Cosi Fan Tutte, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and a touring production of Broadway Anthems for the SMU-in-Taos Cultural Institute. In addition to her classical voice training, Lauren is passionate about musical theater and currently studies with Natalie Weiss from New York City.

Teaching Background:

Lauren has shared her passion for teaching with others since she was 11. She has served in leadership positions with gymnastics teams, dance teams, and choral groups where she was tasked with mentoring and teaching less experienced participants. Lauren has also been fortunate to serve as a teaching assistant at a Montessori school where she worked with students in the classroom and music program. She has also been involved in the creative and choreography process teaching high school spirit squads and dance teams.

 Personality/Teaching Style:

Lauren has an upbeat, positive personality and loves to share that positivity with her students. She believes music lessons should be fun and foster a love and appreciation for music. She expects her students to practice regularly but is not harsh with students when this expectation isn’t met. Her number one goal is to make sure her students are enjoying every lesson and their own practice time.

What others are saying about Lauren:

Lauren is very specific with what she wants but generous and helpful with those students with whom she works. She can sing, dance and act and has great skills as well as love for helping others thrive. Lauren is always prompt, friendly, and prepared. She left her problems, if she had any, at the door. I loved working with her. She is a real professional.

Sara J. Romersberger
Associate Professor of Theatre
Southern Methodist University

Lauren is very disciplined.  Fine young musician.  Talented singer/dancer. I have enjoyed working with Lauren very much. 

Virginia Dupuy, Prof. of Voice.  SMU

Special Skills:

Lauren believes if a student can learn classical voice and piano technique, they can sing or play anything. With voice, Lauren emphasizes the importance of learning to sing in a very healthy, sustainable way. Her classical background also transfers over to musical theater and pop music. Furthermore, because she has a strong dance background, Lauren takes a very physical approach to music and stresses the importance of connecting with the body when singing and playing.

If you are looking for a piano or voice teacher in Dallas, TX, look no further! Contact us today to schedule a lesson with Lauren.

Teacher Spotlight: Felicity – Piano, Voice, and Violin Teacher in Irving, TX

We are so pleased to welcome Felicity to our team of fabulous teachers!

Educational Background:

Felicity is an English pianist and composer currently based in Texas. She started playing the piano at the age of four and also plays the violin, flute, and organ. She received much of her formative musical training at Mount Kelly, an independent day and boarding school in Tavistock, England. Additionally, she holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Composition from The Boston Conservatory and a Master of Education degree from Tennessee State University. Her Master of Education thesis, Ethnic Music in Nashville: A Choral Approach, won the university’s graduate oral presentation award at its Spring 2017 Research Forum For the Arts. She will be beginning the PhD program in Visual and Performing Arts at the University of Texas at Dallas in August 2020.

Teaching Background:

Felicity has been teaching piano for over ten years. Since moving to Texas in 2018 she has taught as a piano, voice, and composition teacher at two local music schools. Two of her students placed in the 2019 TMTA Student Affiliate Original Composition Contest. One student won the Large Ensemble category, and another was awarded third place in the Solo Grades 1-3 category.

Personality/Teaching Style:

For every hour of teaching Felicity will put in more than an hour of preparation work. She is super organized and dedicated to her students. She believes in being supportive and encouraging while pushing students to reach their full potential. In her view, it is important for students’ love of music to grow as their technique grows.

What others are saying about Felicity:

Felicity has been a teacher at my studio for over a year now. She has worked with students ranging in age from 5 years old to high school seniors, and she is a wonderful asset at our studio… Felicity is very organized, always on time and extremely professional. I feel she would be an asset at any teaching institute and highly recommend her.

Jennea, Southlake TX

“During the time that Felicity and I worked together, I found her to be proficient in her craft, dependable in attendance and preparation, flexible when faced with last-minute changes and adaptable when faced with logistical challenges…I highly recommend her for assignments as a teacher”

Charles, Director of Music Ministries at Rehoboth United Methodist Church in Gallatin, TN

Special Skills:

As well as being an experienced teacher, Felicity is a skilled piano accompanist, conductor, and composer. She works as Music Director at Bethany Lutheran Church in Dallas and accompanies choirs and soloists throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area. She would be more than willing to help students develop their accompanist, conducting, or composition and arranging skills.

If you are looking for a wonderful teacher in Irving Tx, look no further! Contact us today and ask about Felicity. You will NOT be disappointed! Felicity also teaches in Southlake, Dallas, and Lewisville.

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: 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!
 

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.

Welcome Raman, Starlight’s Newest Guitar, Bass, Drums and Voice Teacher!

RamanSachdev_LiveShot

We would like to introduce Raman, our newest music teacher in Tampa, FL. Raman teaches guitar, bass, drums and voice in Tampa. He received formal education in songwriting, music production, and music theory. He graduated with a B.A. from Loyola University Chicago, and an M.A. from The University of Chicago. He is currently working towards earning his PhD from the University of South Florida. Raman has taught in-home music lessons as well as private lessons from beginner to college level for a number of years.

While Raman focuses on teaching acoustic and electric guitar, he also has a passion for songwriting and recording/producing music.

Raman is punctual and professional, and has a real passion for teaching. We feel honored to have Raman on our team here at Starlight Music Lessons. So if you are looking for a great teacher in Tampa, FL for guitar lessons, bass lessons, drum lessons or voice lessons, contact Starlight Music Lessons today!

Elvis’ Legend lives on in … a 9 year old?

I’ve been an Elvis fan since I was young. Not the kind of fan who knows the dates of all of his albums and the year he sang to a hound dog on national TV (it was 1956, by the way), but the kind of fan who has a life-long love of Elvis music and can’t help but smile anytime I hear an Elvis song. It makes sense that I would like Elvis, having been raised by two baby boomers who grew up during the Elvis craze of the 50s and 60s. But I’m always a little surprised to hear when a young person can’t identify an Elvis song, much less tell me dates of his album releases and interesting facts about his life! Enter Lily.

One of my voice students has been a bit stressed out over the past year. We’ll call her Lily. She’s 9 years old and has a lot going on with musical theatre homework, piano lessons and voice lessons with me, choir and her gifted/talented afterschool program. She’s a busy girl! This past school year, her abundance of commitments and lack of free time caught up with her big time. I could tell the enjoyment of things were taking a back seat to simply getting through each day. Her normally bright and bubbly personality was transforming in front of my eyes into pure tiredness.

Lily and I talked about it at the start of the summer. In our conversation, I learned that with all of her other activities, she was having to do long-term projects. Then, in voice lessons, her long and complicated songs were taking us two months or more to really perfect. I also learned that 9-year-old Lily has a love for Elvis music, of all things!

So, together, we put together a fun plan for the summer. She brings her Elvis song book to lessons (yes, she already owned one!) and each week we work a new Elvis song, sung in Lily’s range, of course. We spend, at the most, two weeks on each song, then move on. Our goal is to perfect as much as possible within those two weeks.

So our fun summer project is giving Lily the shorter-term assignments she needs after being burned out on long-term school-year projects … not to mention putting a smile on each of our faces as she sings “Don’t Be Cruel!”

This slight change to our lesson structure has made a world of difference for her. I see Lily recharging and her bubbly, happy persona returning. Had Lily and I not talked about what I was noticing, it’s very possible that she would have stopped lessons and lost all the skill, time, effort and money that has been put into her lessons so far. But one slight tweak is all that was needed to help counteract her draining schedule and bring the spring back to Lily’s step!

Happy student, happy parents, happy teacher!  …. I think Elvis would be proud!

Written by:
Melodie Ellis
Director, Starlight Music Lessons
www.StarlightMusicLessons.com

Audition Preparation in 60 Minutes: Will It Be Sucessful?

Audition Preparation is a unique service Starlight Music Lessons offers. Many of our voice teachers have long performing resumes and lots of audition insights to share with their students. However, is it possible to “cram” for an audition? Is Audition Preparation going to help?

Most voice teachers have experienced this at least once in their teaching career: A person calls asking for last minute vocal singing lessons to help them prepare for an audition. They want to have two 30-minute lessons over the next two weeks to get them ready. The conversation usually goes something like this:

“When is the audition?” I ask.

“Two weeks,” says the caller.

I ask, “Have you ever taken private voice lessons or had any kind of vocal instruction?”

“No, I’ve never had lessons before. But I really want this part,” they say, inevitably referring to a lead role.

Since we teachers have a hard time disappointing someone, we usually respond with something like, “Well, lead roles usually go to those with a lot of vocal experience and skill. However, 60 minutes of preparation is better than no preparation. I’ll help you out as much as I can in those two 30-minute lessons, but you have to understand that the people you are up against have been training for years!”

The caller will usually say something like, “Oh, I understand. I just need an extra push in the right direction so I know what to expect at an audition.”

Having done several “audition cramming” sessions with my students over the years, 99% of the callers with similar stories as mentioned above do not get a callback or a part. The sad truth is, these “audition crammers” usually get discouraged and never try out for an audition again. Most of them do have good voices that could blow people away if only they were trained. Most of them are natural actors and could have a good shot at lead roles if only they trained.

I have to blame shows like American Idol, America’s Got Talent and the like for the attitude of these students. Where else do you get the impression that you can “make it” with little or no experience or training? Where else are we told that education doesn’t matter? Where else are we told that time and dedication isn’t a factor?

Well, maybe we all have these attitudes from time to time. I’ve met many recent grads who complain that they aren’t making $60K a year yet, having been in the work force “for an entire year?”

I’ve met parents of 8-year-olds who can’t seem to figure out why their child hasn’t progressed on the piano yet. After asking the parent if the child has practiced, the answer is always “no.” And, admitidly, I see the same attitude in myself often (“Why hasn’t anyone responded to my job ad for new teachers. It’s been online for a whole hour now!”).

When is audition prepration cramming successful? The answer lies in an example from one of my students. She is currently preparing for an audition with Casa Manana’s Sound of Music. It’s a pretty big audition, semi-professional performers and all! Two weeks ago this student’s mother contacted me to tell me about the audition and what was required. Since the family is going out of town, we only had two lessons left to prepare for this audition.

Audition Preparation Cramming at its finest!

So the student, her mother and I took a big breathe and went for it. This is to be her first big audition of this magnitude, so a positive experience (despite the casting outcome) is imperative! Well, this student and I were able to pull together a beautiful 16-bar passage of “Whistle Down the Wind” from the Andrew Lloyd Weber Musical of the same name. She’s ready to audition, complete with gestures, acting the song, solid vocals and a couple of extra audition secrets only my students are privy to.

How was this student able to cram her audition preparation and others aren’t? This student has been taking voice lessons for three years. So in essence, she has been preparing for this audition for three years. No amount of cramming can compare to what you learn in weekly voice lessons. It never will. While I’m sure that there will be some students there with more experience (4-5 years of voice lessons and maybe a musical or two under their belts), I am very confident that she has what it takes to make a good impression on the director, despite the casting decision.

While some preparation is far better than no preparation, audition cramming only works when the student has been preparing all along through regular, weekly instruction. There are so many people I’ve run across through the years who I wish would grasp this concept. “Even Mozart had to practice,” I tell them!

If you’ve been considering auditioning for a musical, play or show, don’t wait until you receive the audition notice from the director! I beg you! Good, Successful, Effective Audition preparation is a long process and should be started on as soon as the desire hits you. Not when its too late.

Break a Leg!