Meet the Opus
Instructor of Voice
How long have you been teaching?
I started teaching off and on in 2015, but about 3 ½ years ago I started teaching voice lessons more regularly and have been ever since. I joined Opus in the fall of 2019.
Which Opus Music Academy locations do you work? Do you have your own studio? If so, where is it located? Do you offer in-home lessons?
Since moving back to Omaha, NE, I have been teaching exclusively virtual lessons.
What do you teach? Anything else you teach?
I teach voice and try to weave some basic ear training and music theory into my lessons. Although I’m classically trained and that’s the foundation for my instruction, my students and I explore a variety of repertoire including musical theatre, art song, folk songs, and pop music.
What is your studio story? How did you get to where you are now?
I have always loved performing, but teaching was not necessarily in my plan starting out. It wasn’t until grad school that I started to teach undergraduate students and I really enjoyed helping them achieve their goals and watching them grow as musicians.
What is one thing you think you do really well as a teacher?
One thing I think I do well as a teacher is getting students to observe and critically think about their own vocal instrument. I can correct them and guide them through fixing it, but I think it is really exciting when they start to notice things they did well or things they can improve on by themselves.
What is one thing you really struggle with as a teacher?
My explanations are not always concise. I get excited if a student makes an interesting observation or asks a great question about music theory, history, or vocal anatomy and I love to go in depth explaining or talking about it.
What do you do to retain your students?
I try to keep my teaching focused on the individual student and their personal goals. There are so many ways to get involved in vocal music – choir, musicals, opera, pop and rock music, their religion, and even traditions from their cultural background. It helps to tailor their experience so students can apply fundamentals to the areas they are most interested in and hopefully develop a life-long love of music.
What is your niche? What sets you apart from other teachers?
I love acting and bringing characters or poetry to life through opera, art song, and musical theater. I think this sets me apart and helps me encourage students to dig deeper into the meaning of what they are singing and how they can share their interpretation with others.
What is your favorite band, artist, or composer? Why?
I can’t pick one artist, I go through phases and it depends on my mood. Lately, I’ve been listening to some old Owl City albums and film scores by Thomas Newman and Michael Giacchino. If I’m feeling angsty – Post Malone or Motion City Soundtrack.
What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?
Probably that I am older than I look. People assume my age because I have a bit of a baby-face.
Let’s say you’re having coffee with a brand-new teacher. What’s one piece of advice you wish you would have known when you started.?
Set up boundaries early on and stick to them. I have always considered myself a “flexible” worker and colleague and I see that as an asset, but boundaries are important.
Let’s say you’re visiting with a teacher who is feeling burned out. What advice would you give to them to give life to their studio?
I would tell them to take care of themselves and mental health first. Whether it’s to take time to perform, do an activity they love outside of music, or even take a break for a bit.
We’ve all had that one student or parent that drives us crazy. What do you do with that student or family?
I use situations like that to practice both patience and boundaries.
What is your craziest idea? What is something you would do if money, time, and space weren’t an issue?
I would love to expand paid, inclusive performance opportunities through education or community outreach for young professional singers.
If you weren’t a music instructor, what else would you do with your life?
I’d probably perform opera and art song, maybe bake, or maybe format people’s resumes or CVs for them. For some reason I really enjoy reorganizing documents, haha.
Want to learn more about Kaitlin? Email us to find out more and to set up a free trial lesson!