Riva Capellari

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Located in Brookside in the heart of Kansas City

That First Voice Lesson

Ever wonder what happens in that “first voice lesson?”  What should you expect as you cross over the threshold into the studio and come face to face with the voice teacher for the first time?

I thoroughly enjoy that first meet and greet. No preconditioned ideas, just a new and fresh start. For me, that first lesson is about getting acquainted with not just the voice, but with the person.

During our initial conversation I observe posture, breathing and speech patterns.  I want to know how the student perceives their strengths and weaknesses. What constitutes their daily vocal use and how important is their voice in their life?  What are their musical interests and goals?  General and especially vocal health issues: allergies, illnesses, treatments, medications and any chronic  problems, are essential to developing a history for each student.  In addition, the level of the student’s musical knowledge and experience will determine how I proceed with the lesson. At first note, I listen for vocal function, health and quality, vocal effort, ability to match pitch consistently and any vocal problems. I watch for tension in the body and manner of breathing. As I listen and watch, I begin to devise a strategy for each student’s training program.

Not too scarey? If you have ever considered private vocal instruction, I hope this information gives you some ease of mind and encouragement!


Vocology: The Science and Practice of Voice Habilitation. Titze, I. & Abbott, K. Verdolini. The National Center for Voice and Speech.  2012.

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