"If You Can Talk, You Can Sing!"
Donna Rose Stewart
Soprano & Voice Builder/Teacher
My approach to teaching voice is natural and holistic. I teach technique in a balanced way that naturally strengthens and develops the singing apparatus, while reducing interference. The student is encouraged to sing from sensation, while building a solid, natural, and scientific basis from which to express him/her self. Lessons are tailored for the individual student and his/her specific needs, with the direction and pace of the lessons set by the student's abilities, desire, motivation and learning level. In teaching voice, I help to uncover, strengthen and develop each student's own unique voice and style, which is an unfolding, evolving process; and which often involves the student learning to love and trust his/her own voice and self.
Can I learn to sing if I can't carry a tune or if I'm tone deaf?
Anyone can learn to sing, if they can speak (and hear). Also needed is desire, commitment and persistence. I have taught many students to become singers that were considered by the world as tone deaf. It does take time and a lot of work, but you can definitely learn to sing and learn to sing well. Hence, my motto: "If you can talk, you can sing."
I want to sound like (insert your favorite singer). Can you teach me to sound like him/her?
I work with each student to find and develop his/her own unique voice. There is no better voice for you than your own. Everything that you are, all your thoughts, feelings and experiences, the physical makeup of your bones and body, your diet, if you get enough rest, etc. all go into making up what your voice sounds like. No one else has your unique makeup and to try to sound like someone else can be detrimental to your voice and to who you are. You may imitate a person's style or their way of phrasing, but never try to imitate their voice. As Ralph Waldo Emerson put it, "Insist on yourself, never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life's cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another, you have only an extemporaneous half possession. . . . Do that which is assigned to you, and you cannot hope too much or dare too much."
Do you teach private lessons or classes? How often and how long are they?
I teach private lessons, as each person has their own unique habits, patterns and needs to address and deal with. Students come once per week, unless they want to progress more quickly and can come more often. The typical lesson is for 45 minutes. (See Studio Policies.)
What ages and vocal levels do you teach?
I have taught students ranging from age 6 to age 70. However, I don't, typically, take students under 15 years old, unless they are exceptional in some way. Students range from starting out "tone deaf" to professional singers and every type in between. (See question: "What are some of the reasons people study with you?")
What do we do in the lessons?
Each lesson is tailored to the individual student and his/her needs, etc. It is different from student to student; but, generally, in each lesson, we will do vocal building exercises, addressing any technical problems or difficulties that you have. We will discuss practical matters for the application of what you are studying, and we will work on any songs that you are learning or repertoire that you are having problems with.
What style(s) of singing do you teach?
I don't teach style, per se. I teach voice: the technical, scientific, natural, spiritual, artistic expression; building, strengthening, balancing, and coordinating muscles and/or sets of muscles. I work to help you build and develop your voice (your whole body and being is your instrument), while at the same time learning to stay out of your own way. Singing is a natural process, and I help you develop the foundation and technique that will enable you to sing any style you choose.
What are some of the reasons people study with you?
People come to voice lessons for all types of reasons. Some come because they have always wanted to sing and are finally giving it a try. Some come because they want to have a singing career. Some because they already have a singing career, but need a better technique in order to keep singing. Some to get ready for competition. Some come for the therapy of singing. Some come to build their self-confidence and to feel better about themselves. Some because it's fun, and some because they feel better when they leave each lesson than before they came. Others come because they simply want to improve their singing voice, and some come to improve their speaking voice. Some students come because they have damaged their voices through vocal abuse and need help to repair the damage. They may come for one reason or a mix of many. But, for whatever the reason, it is my privilege and joy to help and to serve the purpose.
Tell me about yourself.
My name is Donna Rose Stewart and am known as each variation of the name: Donna Rose Stewart, Donna Rose, and Donna Stewart. I began singing publicly when I was 6 years old, performing solo (soprano) and in choirs and choruses for 25 years. I have a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from Meredith College in Raleigh, N.C. and have been teaching voice since 7 May 1990. (See How dansing Voice Studio Began.)
Along with my vocal performance experience, I have worked many types of jobs and had many varied life experiences, which have all gone into the makeup and wisdom of my teaching method. As I believe there are many paths to the same destination, so it is with my teaching. It is my heart's desire to exemplify the principles of dansing(tm): to freely sing from and with all my being - body, heart, mind and soul - and to help others do the same.