My Teachers: Credit, where credit is due.
(1/17/2018) I am the product of my teachers. My musical training began at the piano. At age 6, I began my studies with Martha Montané in Elizabeth, New Jersey, where I grew up. She was a fiery, red-headed Cuban with high standards. She laid a firm foundation for me and each year, I participated in the National Student Auditions held by the National Guild of Piano Teachers. I studied with her for six years, until my parents decided to relocate to Sarasota. Mrs. Montané referred me to Warrene Johnson, also a Guild member.
Every ounce of kindness and patience that I pour into my voice and piano students, I learned from Mrs. Johnson. She was a kind, genteel Southern woman who was always dressed impeccably. She radiated love. I studied with her another 6 years and worked with her through my college auditions. With her stellar instruction and my hard work combined, I was accepted at Florida State University and Stetson University as a music major.
I attended Stetson University to study with Dr. Michael Rickman. Dr. Rickman is an outstanding musician with an international career as both a solo and collaborative pianist. He was an exacting professor who taught me how to shape a phrase, solidify my technique and grow as an artist, while inspiring me towards literature I dreamed to play. It was during this time at Stetson that I first began to teach. I was hired by the Community School of Music at Stetson and taught many children. In my Senior year, I also taught at the Chisolm Center, for the Community School's outreach program in DeLand.
It wasn't until I had graduated and had my first K-8 teaching job at a private school in Bradenton, Florida, that my attention turned towards singing. I had dabbled in lessons before, but it wasn't until I was already working that I began to take it more seriously. And that was when I met Dr. Brenda Smith. She helped me build a foundation for my voice and helped me realize that I could, indeed, become a classical singer, if that is what I wanted. So with her steady encouragement, I followed my heart and did just that.
At the School of Music at the University of South Florida, I studied with Dr. Kay Lowe who introduced me to a vast array of art song literature and instilled a deep love of the French mélodie, especially those of Francis Poulenc. I also studied with Suzanne Hatcher, who made me realize exercise after exercise, what it felt like in my body to support my voice...and also helped me realize that I could sing high notes. Really high ones, in fact! I graduated with my Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance in 2006. In 2007, I was hired as voice faculty at the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota. After completing graduate school, I have continued to study with some of the best voice teachers in the country. For four years until her passing, I studied with world renowned voice scholar and author, Shirlee Emmons in New York. And even now, I love to go check in with my teacher, Rosa Vento in New York. I love to learn and continually refine my craft.
One of the joys in my life is watching people grow musically. I provide a quiet, safe environment, in which students can comfortably learn at their own pace. Voice students develop their singing skills through an emphasis of good musicianship, healthy singing techniques, breath management and performance coaching. Students studying classical literature receive Italian, French, German, Spanish and English diction coaching. With my piano students, I also emphasize healthy technique, development of good musicianship and artistry at the keyboard.
In a market full of voice and piano teachers, why choose me? I have 20 years of private teaching experience, a Master's and Bachelor's degree and a resumé full of performance experience at both the piano and as a singer-actor. I have a positive, bright disposition that makes studying with me fun. If you or your child are invested in learning, but would enjoy smiling and having fun while developing a new skill, I'm your teacher. I am invested in each students' success at learning to sing or play the piano. As your teacher, you can count on high quality instruction along with enthusiastic encouragement.