Today I wanted to share my own personal journey with voice lessons on the blog. I hope you enjoy my story.
I was born in Durham, NC and my parents say I arrived in this world screaming and didn't stop for 3 months. I like to remind them that I was just warming up my vocal folds :)
My grandmother studied voice in college, so I can confidently say I inherited her good genes. She encouraged me to sing and I honestly can't remember a time when I wasn't singing. I sang in the children's choir at church, at school and did various music-related summer camps. I still remember my first solo in elementary school! It was "Angel" by Sarah McLachlin. Yep, that's a #throwback
From that point, I never stopped singing. I began voice lessons at 13, after my best friend started taking them. She is now a thriving music therapist and I am SO proud of her. Together, we attended competitions and sang duets at backyard parties, holiday parties, etc. I loved my first voice teacher and I am so thankful for the time she spent cultivating my young voice and leading me on the path to sustainable singing.
It wasn't until high school that I thought about singing as a career choice. I tore my ACL and meniscus playing soccer, so I had some down time to audition for the school musical. That year, we did My Fair Lady. I was thrilled to play Eliza Doolittle and had the time of my life! I began applying for college and knew that I wanted to declare a music major. I auditioned and was accepted to UNC Chapel Hill and spent 4 wonderful years there singing, acting and honing my craft. Next up was graduate school at NYU. It was there that I discovered my deep love for teaching, as well. I credit the fabulous music teachers I had growing up and in my college/graduate studies for giving me the tools I needed to succeed as both a performer and a teaching artist.
Upon graduation, I moved to Mercer County, NJ! Why am I here, you ask? It's exactly half way between NYC and Philadelphia. Those are both huge music cities with a lot going on! I'm so grateful to be in a place where I can access both major cities easily. Plus, I find that this area reminds me a bit of NC. There are so many cute towns next to large stretches of farmland. I didn't know that New Jersey could be so beautiful! It is a joy to be living here and the people that I've met while teaching voice have been some of the nicest I've ever met. That's saying a lot coming from a girl from the South!
Thank you for being a part of my continued voice lessons journey. Once a student, now a teacher! Just remember, you have to start somewhere. I would be honored to give you your start at Finely Tuned Voice Lessons.
See you soon!
After many students began asking me if they could sing songs from "The Greatest Showman" I finally decided to see what all the fuss was about. For those, like me, who didn't know: The Greatest Showman is a movie-musical that began running in theaters in 2017. The film stars many famous actors, such as Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron and Michelle Williams and loosely follows the life of P.T. Barnum, of the Barnum & Bailey Circus.
I really enjoyed the movie, and my students were so right...the music is incredible! The composer/lyricist team on this movie is Benj Pasek & Justin Paul. If you're a musical theater buff you might recognize their names from Dear Evan Hansen, Dogfight, Edges, or even City of Stars, from the film La La Land. What I like about the music is that it features a couple of pop-inspired songs, sung by underdog characters and they're so uplifting!
Don't believe me?
Keala Settle absolutely shines in this! This song won the 2018 Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song. Try not to smile and tap your feet as you listen to this: I dare you!
As many of you know, I have a wonderful singing job at Nassau Presbyterian Church. I am honored to sing as the soprano section leader and soloist for the choir. Yesterday was Easter, and in keeping with tradition, we sang the Hallelujah chorus from Handel's Messiah.
If you attended an Easter service yesterday, my guess is that the congregation also sang this piece! You may have noticed that everyone stood, as well. Here's why:
"George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) composed Messiah in twenty-four days for the Charitable Musical Society of Dublin. Messiah was not intended for church performance nor was it meant to be a typical theater diversion. *It was originally composed for a small choir of about 16 voices, 4 on each voice part.* Performances sometimes featured thousands of participants; amateur choral societies flourished in correlation with this tradition.
To the present day, orchestrated Messiah “sing-alongs” draw large crowds of non-professional singers, particularly in American and British communities. Do-It-Yourself Messiah performances have been a Christmas tradition in Chicago since 1976.
The iconic “Hallelujah” chorus does not celebrate the birth of Christ as so many believe, but instead occurs at the end of the second part, as a celebration of the Resurrection and ascension. This chorus has always been an audience favorite. It is still customary for audiences to stand during the “Hallelujah” chorus, a tradition that began before 1780 and is popularly attributed to King George II who reputedly stood during the chorus at an early London performance."
Here's me (red bonnet on the left) and a group of people participating in a pop-up chorus version of this piece last December. How fun!
Maria Palombo is a Voice Instructor and Singer living in Central NJ. She is the founder of Finely Tuned Voice Lessons, a private voice studio in Mercer County, NJ.