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.
Julian is a character tenor from Weehawken, NJ. He started his training in musical theater, singing in rock, folk, and other commercial music styles, before beginning his classical training at Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA, where he holds a B.M. in Music Performance. He gained valuable experience in his studies of modern and contemporary classical music and dedicated himself to creating original performances in both operatic, solo, and choral repertoire. He also explored directing and writing, where, in a single year, he directed three operatic productions, providing ample performance opportunities for chamber musicians and singers at the Conservatory, committing fully to the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the arts. He received the Cecilia Award for Vocal Excellence and the Undergraduate Dean's Award, for these efforts. On top of technical training, Julian has a knack for acting, expression, and mastery, and enjoys bringing out the best in people.
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.
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.