VOICE LESSONS AT OCTOPUS
Voice lessons at Octopus Music School are taught using our proprietary OPUS curriculum (Octopus Poly-Instrumental Units of Study). OPUS consists of ten grade levels, each with a requisite assessment and certification. Our curriculum approaches the voice by viewing the entire human body as an instrument; emphasis is placed on conditioning muscle groups, vowel-shaping, understanding from where breath must come to produce the most sustained power and tone, and observing proper posture. Students studying at Octopus will develop a keen ability to match pitch through sight-singing and note-reading exercises. By focusing on technique and reading skills early on, many of the common roadblocks that students experience as they advance simply disappear and steady progress may be made much more quickly.
With consistent practice at recommended intervals, our carefully designed curriculum prepares students to quickly advance from day one by equipping them with the necessary tools and scaffolding to build a comprehensive understanding of the voice. In addition to learning note-reading, rhythm interpretation, and proper technique, students are exposed to theory, aural training, music appreciation, and collaborative courses with peers to help cultivate an immersive environment in which to thrive.
Lessons are still tailored to individuals' unique learning needs, and repertoire remains flexible so that students are able to learn music which interests them, however the core content and benchmarks have been standardized to ensure fast and steady progress for students of all ages and skill levels.
Margaret is a passionate and patient teacher with years of experience providing a wide range of students vocal and piano instruction. Starting at a young age in Rutgers and Westminster children's choirs, she has experienced first hand the value of learning music early in life. Margaret is a graduate of Monmouth University with a degree in Vocal Performance with a concentration in classical music. Her extensive performance experience began as a child with the Westminster Choir with which she performed at the White House and various private choral events. As a seasoned musician, she’s enjoyed roles in operas such as Carmen and Amahl and the Night Visitors.
Dannielle is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, where she received her Bachelor’s of Music in Vocal Performance. Recent perfomrance credits include La Contessa in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro. She has been a featured soloist with the Eastman Chorale, Eastman Repertory Singers, and the Eastman School Symphony Orchestra. Dannielle has worked with internationally renowned coaches and composers and has received local and regional awards, most recently as a finalist in the NATS Eastern Region Conference. Her studies have taken her abroad, most recently performing in numerous concert halls in Italy at Si Parla, Si Canta. Dannielle works to ensure that every student creates their unique musical fingerprint while maintaining a comfortable environment for students to experiment and grow.
Lindsay is a graduate student at Rutgers University pursuing her M.M. in opera performance and has a B.M. from Ithaca College in vocal performance. She has performed in Cendrillon (Ithaca College); Die Fledermaus (Martina Arroyo Foundation) and has performed roles such as Micaëla (Carmen); Antonia (Belisario); and Third Lady/ Pamina (The Magic Flute). She was a finalist in the National Hal Leonard competition; third place Rising Stars Classical Voice Competition; and winner of the SMC Young Artists Scholarship. Lindsay is enthusiastic and passionate about teaching musicians how to develop their abilities and unique musical identities. She has also taught in a variety of musical styles as she believes in the expression of all genres of music. Her teaching style provides students with a supportive and enriching learning experience.
Stella has been a highly motivated and energetic voice teacher and music educator for 20+ years of experience in music lessons and performances. She graduated summa cum laude in Music Performance at Kyunghee University in Seoul, Korea and received her master's degree at Mannes School of Music in New York City and Montclair University in New Jersey. She has been teaching music at St. Thomas the Apostle School since 2016 and has been singing on major stages in the metro area such as Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and Madison Square Garden. Stella also has been part of the prestigious group, New York Choral Society since 2003. She recently completed the Dalcroz Eurythmics for Children Comprehensive Training Program at Lucy Moses School in Kaufman Music Center in New York City. Stella continues to train, coach, and mentor singers of all ages and levels. Her students have been part of numerous auditions and have performed on main stages such as Lincoln Center and a Carnegie Hall. To this day, Stella is a committed and dedicated music educator for those with a serious passion for music.
South Korean Mezzo-Soprano Haejung studied at The Korean National University of Art (BM), Eastman School of Music (MM), Mannes School of Music (Professional Studies Diploma) and she pursued her Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA) studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, completing all required coursework for the program. Although she did not ultimately finish the program, her studies provided her with a strong foundation in voice and piano. Her career also encompasses teaching students. She has taught voice and piano lessons to a diverse ability range of students, with her specialty lying in working with children. At present, she is a music director of Kids Choir at Praise Presbyterian Church. Haejung has experience using the Faber series, Music Tree Method, and ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of music) exam. By blending her performance and teaching experiences, she brings a sense of positivity and enthusiasm to inspire a love for music.
Lizzie has been training in voice since she was six years old, beginning in opera and eventually finding her home in musical theatre. She graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from Muhlenberg College in 2023. While at school, Lizzie placed first in the Lehigh Valley Chapter of NATS student auditions. She has trained at the Paper Mill Playhouse in their Summer Musical Theatre Conservatory and Show Choir, and the Axelrod Academy for Performing Arts. Lizzie’s passion is working with young students on their confidence while taking an energetic approach to finding their love of music.
Mark is a New Jersey born and raised guitarist, bassist, keyboardist, and vocalist. He graduated from Monmouth University with a BA in Music with a concentration in Music Industry and a minor in Media Production. He taught himself guitar and keyboards at age 12, which inspired him to begin formal piano training in the eighth grade. In college, he trained one on one with private vocal and bass guitar instructors and participated in vocal and instrumental ensembles, gracing various stages with his talents. Beyond his formal education, Mark is a prolific composer/songwriter and an active member of local bands. His teaching repertoire is as diverse as his musical palette, encompassing a wide spectrum of playing and vocal styles, including rock, pop, jazz, hip hop, country, and classical. He is uniquely equipped to nurture and guide aspiring musicians, drawing from his eclectic and ongoing musical journey.
Hyun is a voice and piano teacher with over 20 years of teaching experience. She has a Masters degree in Vocal Performance from New York City University. In addition to her formal education, she has studied with renowned vocal coaches and pianists in NYC and Seoul and performed in opera companies, concerts, and recitals. Her main roles include Susanna, “Le nozze di Figaro” and Zerlina, “Don Giovanni”.
Her additional performance credits include but are not limited to the Aspen Music Festival, White Mountain Summer Concert, Mozart Academy masterclass, and Cynthia Hoffman masterclass. Hyun is actively involved in community service as well and directs CD recordings of children’s musicals, ‘Oh! Jonah”, and Christmas musical Jubilees. She works at local community churches in New Jersey as an accompanist and soloist.
Teaching students of all ages and skill levels, she has helped them achieve their musical goals by tailoring her approach to each individual student’s needs and focusing on developing strong technique and musicianship skills while also encouraging creativity and self-expression. Many of her students not only perform in high level choirs such as regional and all state, but also place and often win in renowned vocal and piano music competitions.
Jessica graduated from Westminster Choir College with a Bachelors of Music in Voice Performance with a minor in Piano and has performed at such world class venues as Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall with the New York Philharmonic and with other renowned orchestras as a member of the Westminster Symphonic Choir. She has worked as a soloist at Liberty Corner Presbyterian and at Holy Nativity Episcopal in Rockledge Pennsylvania. Jessica is devoted to Art Song, particularly to the works by Franz Schubert, and recently gave a community recital where she both sang and accompanied herself on the piano performing Art Song by Schubert and others. After obtaining her music degree from Westminster, Ms. Shawaluk obtained her Juris Doctor from Temple Law School, and was admitted to the bar in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. She has worked in private practice as an attorney for over a decade, but has recently felt called to pass on her great love of music to students, and is delighted to be passing on this love to the next generation of musicians at Octopus Music School.
Sophia is a singer/songwriter from Red Bank, NJ. She has been writing, producing and performing in the NJ area since she was 15 years old. She attended the University of New Haven and received a degree in music and sound recording in Spring of 2022. While at school she was able to spend a semester in Nashville, the songwriting capital of the world, and got hands-on experience working in a recording studio called Sound Stage Studios. She has performed in many bands over the years and is very passionate about performing and songwriting.
An active performer, Lina is a frequent participant in recitals, chamber groups, choirs, and operas including Don Giovanni and Elixir. During her studies at the Valle University where she received a Bachelors of The Arts in Music Education, she performed with the Univalle opera which toured Colombia and Ecuador. Her work as a voice conductor at Cooperative University of Colombia and Unison Center for the performing arts in Jackson Heights, New York has given her a unique opportunity to see the world of performance from the other side of the podium. Lina is currently preparing for her Masters of Music in Vocal Performance with the distinguished Karen Beardsley at the Manhattan School of Music. In addition to her academic pursuits, Lina is both a member of the choir and cantor at St. Matthias Church. As an educator, Lina has extensive experience as a vocal, piano, and general music instructor and has taught a diverse range of students from children to adults, including those with special needs.
Jacqui received her BA in Music Performance and Production from Ramapo College of New Jersey. Throughout her life, she has performed in choirs, musicals, gospel ensembles, concerts and a cappella groups. Jacqui’s experiences have led to her performing on stage with the likes of Whoopi Goldberg. She focuses on techniques to fortify growth and confidence in her students. Her fun and gentle nature combined with knowledge and passion for helping students fully comprehend material make her a great fit for anyone interested in pursuing voice lessons.
Jamie is a professional, classically trained pianist, vocalist, and drummer and holds a B.A. in Music Education K-12 with a concentration in voice, and a minor in piano from William Paterson University of New Jersey. In high school, Jamie was involved in a variety of award winning ensembles including concert choir, chorale, Madrigals, men's choir, all-state choir, concert band, wind ensemble, marching band, and jazz band. In 2007, the drumline, of which Jamie was co-section leader, earned the title of Grand National Champions.
After graduating WPUNJ, he worked at Pompton Lakes High School as a Marching Band Tech and sang as a hired choir section leader for Trinity & St. Philips Cathedral in Newark, NJ, and for Trinity & Episcopal Church in Cliffside Park, NJ. In the summer of 2018, he was hired by Lincoln Center for their Mostly Mozart Festival. Jamie was the Assistant Conductor for the William Paterson University's Choir Tour in 2018 where he conducted and sang through Austria and Italy in places such as the Vienna State Opera House and Melk Abbey.
Aidan has studied Voice Performance and Secondary Piano at Westminster Choir College and Voice Performance at Mason Gross of Rutgers University. He has performed throughout the United States, Italy, France, and the UK, and has also studied in masterclass settings with such luminaries as Dalton Baldwin, Niel Shicoff, and Simon Carrington. Aidan sings with world renown outfits, such as the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Same Stream Choir. In addition to his impressive performance CV, he draws on a wealth of instructional experience including teaching secondary voice lessons and aural skills at Mason Gross to undergraduate students.