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.
Belu received her Bachelor’s degree in Music and Voice from Escuela de Música de Buenos Aires. She’s studied extensively abroad, notably with Italian soprano Monica Trini in Switzerland and at the Berklee Summer School in Perugia, Italy. Her solo performances as a jazz and tango vocalist have taken her to venues in countries such as Argentina, Switzerland, Italy, and Germany. Belu has also played guitar since she was 13 years old. She has over 8 years of experience teaching a broad range of music genres to students of all ages and she gives lessons in English, Spanish, and Italian. In her lessons, she works hard to provide a comfortable and relaxed environment for students where they are free to express themselves and embrace the learning process.
Joanna holds a Bachelors of Music degree in Music Education with a specialization in keyboard and choral from The College of New Jersey. She has taught general music and choir at elementary schools in New York and New Jersey. As a pianist, Joanna has participated in chamber music programs at Curtis Institute of Music and Westminster Choir College. She has also performed as a collaborative accompanist for the Music Academy International festival in Italy. Joanna has been in choirs since a young age, and has performed in operas such as La Bohème and Tosca. At The College of New Jersey, Joanna sang in the Chorale with Japanese students who were affected by the 2011 earthquake at Lincoln Center. She has also sung in the Chorale with the Mendelssohn Club and Philadelphia Orchestra. Her years of experience as an instructor and performer ensure her students receive a well-rounded and comprehensive music education.
Jonathon is a recent graduate of Rutgers University with a B.M. in Music Performance from the Mason Gross School of the Arts. As a student, Jonathon studied classical voice as his primary instrument. He performed in both the Kirkpatrick Choir, the select choir that has a yearly performance in Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center, and in the Rutgers University Glee Club, a men’s choir that recently toured Sweden, Finland, and Estonia. He also has experience performing musical theater, participating in shows throughout both high school and college. Jonathon has also studied piano since he was 7 years old. He has focused both on classical performance and jazz piano, which has helped him develop a unique musical ear. As a student at Rutgers, Jonathon excelled at ear training, and often tutored other students in music dictation and theory. Jonathon’s wide range of musical experience enables him to meet the needs of any students.
Alex graduated from Westminster Choir College with a BA in Music and a concentration in Voice Studies. Studying voice as a soprano with Dr. Sharon Sweet, Alex was the recipient of numerous scholarships and awards and was counted a member of several select vocal ensembles, including Kantorei, Williamson Voices, and Symphonic Choir. In addition to her performances around the tri-state area at such prestigious venues as Lincoln and Kimmel Center, she has performed throughout France and England, including as a Choral Mentor at the Oxford University Choral Singing Summer School. In spring of 2018, Alex made her Carnegie Hall debut as the alto soloist in Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Yannick Nezet-Seguin, and the Westminster Symphonic Choir. She has been recorded as a chorister, and is a featured soloist on three releases. This season, Alex has been accepted onto the extended roster for Donald Nally’s professional ensemble, The Crossing, and sings as the alto Choral Scholar in the Voices Chorale NJ. Alex has a passion for teaching, especially younger students, and her rich background in performance allow for lessons that teach not only technicality, but also musicality.
Glennise received her BA in General Music from the University at Albany, SUNY and her MA in Music Theory-Composition from the John J. Cali School of Music at Montclair State University, where she studied with Dr. Ting Ho and Dr. Marcos Balter. She has over 25 years of teaching experience in vocals, piano and clarinet to both children and adults, in public schools and privately. She has also prepared numerous students to excel in the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music Examinations (ABRSM) in both voice and piano.
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.
As a young child, Samantha’s love of music led her to perform in the Sydney Opera House with the Atlanta Young Singers at the age of 13. Most recently, she performed works by American composer, Ricky Ian Gordon, in the NATS 2018 Winter workshop masterclass for the composer himself. At home on the stage both in recital and opera settings, her recent notable performances include Second Lady in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte (Miami Opera Institute and The American Symphony), and the title role in Massenet’s Manon (The American Symphony), and portrayals of principal roles in Bard College’s Opera Workshop. Equally proficient as a violinist, Samantha has studied the violin for over 20 years and has performed in orchestras and ensembles in Atlanta, Philadelphia, and New York. Her concert repertory spans from Mozart to Shostakovich, and modern music as well. At the age of 15, she won the Tim Redovian Scholarship of Atlanta, and attended the Philadelphia International Music Festival hosted by members of the Philadelphia Philharmonic.
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.