My teaching method depends entirely on the person, their level of technical skill and needs. After completing my classical training I studied all kinds of techniques including EVTS and later UVS (Universal Voice System) which gave me all kinds of really useful insights concerning which muscles to use in order to avoid constriction of the voice (‘squeezing’) and which muscles to use (or avoid using!) in order to produce the particular sound you want (belting, classical, opera etc). As a result I have been able to create my own ‘fusion’ of classical and modern techniques.
SINGING LESSONS WITH A SPIRITUAL TOUCH
I now have more than 30 years of teaching and learning experiences under my belt which allows me to figure out exactly what works best for myself and others. What works for one person might not work for you and/or me and vice versa. The thing I actually see with students time and time again is the wish/need to make (renewed) contact with their inner selves through singing. Their inability to breathe properly is by and large the biggest obstacle to getting there. Nowadays many people simply don’t know how to breathe in a natural and relaxed fashion and the underlying cause is very often fear, the fear of connecting with (deeper) emotions. And yet that’s exactly what many people yearn for. For these people it's not enough to know how to sing a song technically (melody, rhythm, lyrics, singing loudly or softly etc.) or how to interpret a song according to the composer’s wishes or by copying someone else's interpretation… They want to find out for themselves what emotions they experience while singing a song. Pretend for a moment that you composed this song and the song is about you or about someone you know or about a situation you have encountered. How would you sing it then?
I can hear whether or not you’re truly ‘connected’. Many people enjoy being coached in this way because it allows them to reconnect with themselves. They often seem to have lost that ability to connect without realising it. I can help you with that.
For those who do not necessarily need to make a deeper connection with themselves but are primarily interested in learning how to sing properly I will concentrate on applying all the tools necessary to help them out including my own ‘tricks of the trade’ plus UVS. The Universal Voice System is a teaching system whereby you can learn to use specific muscles (and leave other muscles alone!) for the sound you want to achieve, for instance belting or classical singing, without damaging your voice. I can help you achieve that.
Vocal health is considered very important within UVS and it's certainly very important in my studio!
You can definitely come to me with very specific technical problems, such as hoarseness or downright pain during and after singing, or you run out of breath way too quickly, or you suddenly can't reach a certain note anymore. Thanks to everything I’ve learned and experienced over the years I will be more than able to help you out.
SINGING FOR FUN (‘BATHROOM SINGING’)
I’m more than happy to work with you if you just want to have a good time singing. I'm a good piano accompanist with a large song library so no problem there. I can give you the occasional bit of vocal advice but other than that just help you enjoy singing.
SPEECH TRAINING - ELOCUTION
About ten years ago I experienced some vocal problems. I solved those problems quite quickly with the help of an excellent speech therapist. In fact I learned so much from those sessions that I’ve since been helping people with (minor) speech impediments. Here too I first listen to the ‘voice’ behind the sound instead of working by the book straight away.
SOUNDS FOR WELL-BEING
Another 'therapeutic' technique I can make use of to help you reconnect is based on 30 years of doing Kriya-yoga which is a specific type of yoga where you learn to clean your chakra’s (or more simply put: points of energy) and to let go of obsolete emotions. As a result of this practice I’ve discovered over the years that I can help people deal with emotional problems through my using my own voice as a therapeutic tool. I use my voice as a kind of sounding board. Pitch, volume, quality of the sound arise spontaneously and the person to whom I ‘direct sound’ starts to relax. People may experience that the sound becomes focussed in a certain area of their body where some kind of tension is present and that as a result this area becomes more relaxed. Or people suddenly get more of an idea as to why that particular spot is ‘asking’ for attention. Finally I can help people to ‘direct sound’ with their own voice so that it becomes a kind of self help. I also use it sometimes when a person is so nervous that their voice becomes totally blocked. SOUNDS FOR WELL BEING helps them relax and be able to use their voice again.
I play piano and sight read well which is very handy when people suddenly present me with a new song as well as helping in the area of interpretation. It’s also not a problem for me to work with people who can’t read music and/or don’t have a piano at their disposal. I record the melody plus accompaniment and then I mail the mp3-file together with a pdf-file of the sheet music to the student , thus enabling him/her to get going with practicing without needing a piano or needing to read notes.
I have an extensive musical library at your disposal, ranging from classical music to pop songs. In addition I have a database of all my music so finding songs is a piece of cake. I can make video- and/or audio recordings of the lessons so students can work with these at home. I can also transpose music for you. If you want to sing a certain song but the original music is too high or too low for your voice, we first find your most comfortable vocal range (with the help of my digital piano) and then I can transpose the music up or down using special software.
Apart from being a classically trained singer I’ve always had a soft spot for popular music (musicals, pop songs, folksongs etc)
Over the years I’ve worked with a variety of people for a number of years with a repertoire of English, American, French, Italian, Neapolitan, Spanish and Brazilian folksongs, all of which I sang in the original language.
I have a good ear for languages, apart from my native Dutch I speak fluent English and French and my Italian and German are good. In other words, I can also help you with the correct pronunciation of foreign languages during the lessons.