Voice Lessons & Audition Coaching with Laura Shepherd
Laura Shepherd is a sought-after voice teacher in west Seattle serving students 9-years of age and up. She is a current member of the Seattle Symphony Chorale and a former singer with Blues Street Jazz. You may have seen her as a performer, teacher or director with Studio East, Seattle’s Training Center for the Performing Arts. With a double degree from Oberlin College, an MA from New York University, and membership in the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), Laura is superbly equipped to help you find the power of joy in your voice!
For more of Laura’s Bio, click here.
WHY TAKE VOICE LESSONS?
Singing is one of the most personal, most vulnerable forms of human expression. We each have a unique voice, and sharing it with other people through song can be the most precious gift we can give. I love to sing, and I love helping others find their voice and learn how to sing.
I encourage singers who are serious about performing to take regular voice lessons in order to learn a solid foundation of healthy technique, as well as work on appropriately challenging repertoire. Those who love to sing and want to sing better by improving their intonation, tone quality, stamina, or any other qualities are also encouraged to take private vocal lessons. Singers of all ages are welcome to take voice lessons, providing they have the ability to focus on their posture, breathing and sound for the duration of the lesson, follow instructions, and practice outside of lessons. Undeveloped voices will build healthy habits and learn musicianship and repertoire until the voice can be “trained” as it matures. In my experience, students under age nine are not mature enough for the work I pursue in lessons.
As so much performing involves first auditioning for roles, I am happy to work with students on audition preparation for musical theater productions. Bring your pieces or I’ll help you choose some, and we’ll put the technique and performance layers together into a polished package of introduction, monologue and song. As stated above, I encourage all serious performers to take regular lessons, not just audition coaching.
WHAT IS A TYPICAL LESSON LIKE?
We will begin with 10-15 minutes of vocal exercises to warm up and train the voice. Specific exercises will focus on the vocal challenges and goals we are addressing. We may come back to more vocalizing as we encounter challenging sections of your repertoire. I will try to give you at least 3-4 pieces at a time so you do not get bored with the material. We will usually work on 2 pieces at each lesson, more or less depending on the work we need to do on each piece. I don’t accompany well, so I use recorded accompaniments. We may work on a song anywhere from 2 weeks to 10 weeks, and may bring it back again months later. The style of music is up to you, so bring in your music or I’ll help you choose some!
Singing technique is only one piece of the puzzle – performing a song takes investment in telling the story, not just executing the notes and rhythms correctly. I love helping students add that next layer of intention and emotion to bring out the artistry of singing and make it a performance.
Some basic musicianship skills (note reading, terminology, music theory, basic piano skills, ear training, etc.) will be included in our time together. If you want to study any of these areas in more depth, we can designate a larger portion of our lesson to those pursuits. I recommend that all singers learn at least basic piano.
PRACTICES & POLICIES
I teach students age 9 and older. Younger singers can join a choir and take piano lessons to build musicianship skills while the body and brain are still developing the skills necessary for private lessons with me.
Tuition is $60 for a 45-minute lesson and $70 for a 60-minute lesson. Tuition is discounted for students committing to the full school year. Lessons are best scheduled at least twice per month, ideally weekly. Summer lessons may be more sporadic, as summer schedules generally are. Most of my upper elementary and middle school students are successful with 45-minute lessons, while my high school and adult students take 60-minute lessons.
Singers are athletes, and in order to fully exercise our singing muscles, daily practice is ideal! Since we are not living in an ideal world, I recommend scheduling 30 minute practice sessions at least 3 times per week. Doing your warm-up track daily is encouraged. You will also need 45-60 non-singing minutes in the day or two immediately following your lesson to listen to your recording and jot down notes for yourself on what we worked on and what homework you have.
If you don’t practice we will basically repeat the same lesson from week to week, which is frustrating for both of us. Sing, sing, sing!
Prospective students (and/or parents) will receive detailed studio policies via email upon inquiry.
My schedule for 2019-2020 is full, but I would be happy to add you to my waiting list. I can also refer you to other excellent teachers. Email me if you are interested!
Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Fridays: Bellevue, 1/2 mile west of Lake Hills Library *(exact address to be given to students)
Saturdays: Kirkland, Rockory Music School, 11833 124th Ave NE
laurashepherd (at) gmail (dot com)