1. Am I or my student ready for voice lessons?
Yes! I work with students of all ages and experience levels. If you are just starting off, we will start with the basics - breath control, pitch identification, rhythm, reading music, and working through music that's at an appropriate level for your current skill level. As we advance, we will cover additional topics that will increase in difficulty and artistic demands. My goal is to set students up for the greatest success. To set yourself up for success, I encourage you or your student to set aside a specific place in your home to practice, listen to lesson recordings, and rehearse repertoire. This can be a small isolated space, preferably with a mirror, so you can observe yourself as you practice. A piano or keyboard is also a very helpful tool, although not necessary, as you begin your lessons.
2. I love to sing but struggle with stage fright. Can you help me with this?
Of course I can! Performance anxiety is our mind and body's natural response to situations that we intuitively understand to be dangerous. Singing and performing music requires a HUGE amount of vulnerability and I commend anyone with the passion and courage to stand up in front of peers and strangers and share their art. Dealing with performance anxiety is a matter of acknowledging the fears we perceive, confronting any internal negative voices, and redirecting our physical energy and harnessing it to work with us in performance.
3. I sing pop/rock/musical theater music? Do you teach that, too?
I teach all genres of music. While I am classically trained, the concepts that I teach can help you no matter what style of music you want to sing. My goal is to help you develop a healthy and natural vocal technique. We will work together to meet the performance and stylistic goals you wish to achieve.
4. Do I need to provide a collaborative pianist for our lessons?
I am able to play most high school level repertoire. If you are a moderate-to-advanced level vocalist, you may want to consider hiring a pianist to attend some or a portion of your lessons. I have recommendations of pianists who are available for lessons. If you would like to use audio tracks and back up tapes during our lessons, feel free to bring those as well. However, we may not always require accompaniment, as it is important that we take time to focus on technique and keen listening to your solo voice.
5. Shouldn't I or my student be singing with someone of the same voice type?
Not necessarily. Studying with someone of the same voice type often leads to mimicking their production technique, and if you are not ready to sound like your voice teacher, this can even cause damage to your healthy vocal production. My goal is to uncover your unique voice. I have the pedagogical skills to work with all voice types and help direct students to produce an authentic sound for their unique instrument.
6. I've had trouble learning to sing or play an instrument before. How will working with Cristina be any different?
Learning an instrument is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. I use a variety of teaching techniques designed to help meet you where you are. Music theory did not come easily to me. But, because I struggled with it, I have developed a better understanding of the many successful ways to undertake the complex subjects of reading music, learning to identify pitch, and studying rhythm. I work very hard to involve all the various learning styles. I continually develop new techniques to incorporate visual (spatial), aural (auditory), verbal (linguistic), physical (kinesthetic), logical (mathematical), social (interpersonal), and solitary (intrapersonal) learning styles. If we are struggling to understand a concept using one method, we will switch to another until we've found the best course of action for you.
7. How many lessons before I or my student is a mega-star?
Some students will naturally develop more quickly than others. This should not discourage you. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither were our brilliant pop singers or opera divas. If you consider that even professional athletes work with professional coaches throughout their professional careers, then surely this is true for singers and musicians as well. It is always important to have a coach making sure that you are developing on track and making healthy choices, whether your pursuit is vocational or avocational. Do not expect your young student to have mastered technique after one lesson or overcome stage fright in a week. They may (or may not) be ready for that choir solo or lead role in the school play. Especially if this is their first time taking voice lessons, I encourage you to give your student the space to develop at their own pace. Consistent practice with good singing technique are the best supports for your student's budding career.
8. Is Parking available at your studio? Does it cost money?
Street parking is available at no cost. Do not park in the designated residents parking lot or you may be towed.