Hints for Building and Strengthening your Voice Studio

Weekly Teaching Tip – March 11, 2013

Another teacher shared with me several years ago that one of the “secrets” of keeping his studio busy is that he helps his students find work. That was some of the best business advice I have ever received and I’ve been following it ever since. Through the years, that idea has expanded to simply helping my students get what they want by being able to provide them with information that helps them get started. My studio is in Denver, Colorado, USA, which is a city of approximately 3 million people. There are a lot of opportunities here — these are some of the resources we’ve developed. (“We” consists of me and my studio manager and an occasional intern.)

I do a lot of college audition coaching for high school students who want to major in musical theatre or acting. Four years ago, we began building a list of colleges, universities, and conservatories that have musical theatre and acting programs, plus specific information about those programs. The list has grown to over 450 schools and is now part of a book that is nearly ready for publication. It was a huge effort and it’s a fabulous resource for high school students.

I’m currently working on a list of band venues and open mics in the city. It includes contact information and a description of each venue.

I keep track of the audition dates and requirements for all the talent shows: The Voice; AI; America’s Got Talent, etc.

For choral singers, there are several good community choirs in Denver and we have information on their musical styles, rehearsal commitment, audition requirements, and audition dates.

For community and regional theatre auditions, there is a terrific local theatre guild that lists auditions and performance schedules for all member theaters. I’m a member of the guild, so I get automatic email updates which means that I don’t have to spend time searching!

Two years ago, I was introduced to the Barbershop community and have since developed a very good relationship with a huge chorus that has its home in Denver. Many of the chorus members who study with me also perform in quartets. I recently realized that several people have asked me if I could recommend singers to cover specific voice parts. So, I started yet another list!

I teach worship leaders from several large churches and ask them to let me know when they are looking for singers for their worship teams.

We know which ENT’s specialize in voice users, which physical therapists are good for the kind of repetitive motion injuries that affect instrumentalists, and which speech pathologists are great with singers. We have searched for the best teachers and coaches to supplement what I do: piano teachers, guitar teachers, recording studios, acting coaches, head shot photographers. I don’t tend to work with many younger children — I’m searching the city for teachers who love working with the under-13 group and whose pedagogy is sound.

When a student moves to another city, I always offer to help them find a voice teacher in their new location. Students will often be happy to continue to work with me via Skype, but some singers just need to be in the same room with their teacher. It’s such good networking to be able to connect students with a new teacher.

This has all been a lot of work and sounds a bit daunting, but keep in mind that it has been accomplished over several years.

I hope this is all helpful. If you have other ideas, please post them on the IVTOM Facebook page or send them to me and I’ll publish them in a future teaching tip.

My email is mak@maryannkehler.com. Have a great week!

Related Articles