Voice Lessons for Adults
Berkeley Parents Network >
Classes & Lessons >
Voice Lessons for Adults
I want to sing!
I'm a 40-year-old mother of 2 with an atrocious singing voice. I sang (lip-synced) in
chorus wayyyy back in middle school but since then have felt that my voice was unfit for
human ears. I sing to my kids but that's about it. I literally mouth the words to
''happy birthday'' at parties (is that a really hard song to sing or is it just me???).
I feel that I have the range of a chipmunk. Anyway, I love music and I've always felt so
much respect and awe for singers. It just seems like a person must feel so free to be
able to really belt it out! I've never even been willing to make an ass out of myself
singing karaoke with my friends. So now that I'm old and wise I want to address this
fear of making a fool out of myself by getting comfortable with my voice. So my question
is, do people ever take singing lessons a) when they have NO innate talent, and b) as a
form of personal growth therapy? Is there such a thing as a singing coach/therapist? Fa,
a long, long way to go.
hi there. i have never sang in my life and come from a family of terrible
singers (who do love to sing in the car). i really have always thought i sound
like a dying animal of some kind when trying to sing. i am officially ''tone
deaf,'' but like you i love singers and am often so touched and in awe of people
(especially those close to me- friends, partners) who can sing. it's even like a
spiritual experience for me. i have always loved it so much.
nonetheless- last year suddenly i decided i wanted to sing- and called some
singing teachers and i have been doing it weekly ever since. its been 13 months!
and i love it! and i am no longer ''tone deaf'' and my teacher honestly is
amazing. he is so incredible. he is in san francisco and marin- incase that
works for you - i will pass along his information. he is more in tune (no pun
intended) with what blocks me, how to go in each important step, and believe it
or not i don't absolutely hate the way i sound anymore. i actually hit the right
notes and progressing regularly. and its helped me to ''find my voice'' in many
other areas of my life as well, which is a lovely bonus.
so to answer your question- yes people who ''can't'' sing- can learn to sing! and
its incredibly fun and freeing. highly recommend you take the plunge.
in case it works my teachers name is Robert Robinson - here his yelp page
http://www.yelp.com/biz/robinson-voice-studio-san-francisco i couldn't ask for a
more thorough, experienced, and professional voice teacher (you'll be able to
see my review on there from 6 weeks after i started).
Michele Voilleque is an incredible singing teacher, and more importantly, I think you would
be a good match. I think with the kind of humor you expressed in your post, the two of you
would really resonate!
Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Her website is http://www.mvmusik.com/mvmusik.com/Home.html
After years of being embarrassed about my singing voice, my 40th birthday present to myself
was to sign up for Tamsen Fynn's Women's Singing Circle at the Freight and Salvage. I highly
recommend it -- it's friendly, fun, and welcoming for those of us who are pitch-challenged. I
still have a LOT to learn, but I had a blast in the class and felt like it was a great place
to start. http://www.thefreight.org/womens-singing-circle-summer-2013
Tamsen also gives private lessons if you want one-on-one instruction.
Voice/Speaking and Singing Lessons in Berkeley?
I love to sing, and can carry a tune but would love to take some singing lessons
and also work on my speaking voice a bit since I don't like the way I sound when
I speak. Are voice/speaking lessons the same as singing lessons? Or would one
help the other? I've searched the archives but didn't see any info to answer
this question. Looking for someone affordable ($50/lesson or less) and located
in Berkeley or North Oakland.
For a voice and singing teacher I highly recommend Phoebe Sorgen in Berkeley.
She is really wonderful! Not only is she classically trained and an amazing
singer, she is very good with people and is a really amazing person. She is
extremely caring and gentle and puts passion into everything she does. I
encourage you to contact her and try a lesson to see if it is a good fit for you.
She can be reached at: 510-595-5575. Enjoy!
I offer voice lessons in Berkeley and would love to chat with you about how
speaking and singing are related. Focusing on singing is a great strategy for
improving your speaking voice. The breath, tightness in the throat and chest,
and placement of sound inside the head can all impact the speaking voice and the
I offer 1/2 hour lessons for $40 and 1 hour lessons for $60.
Also, I lead The Women's Singing Circle at The Freight & Salvage on Thursday
nights, and that is another very fun (and affordable) way to work on vocal
technique, because I integrate technique into the evening in a strategic,
relevant, focused way.
One exercise you can try to relax the voice, while keeping the diaphram engaged,
is to hum on a note, then slowly slide down to a lower note. Humming usually
bipasses tightness in the throat, and allows the voice to relax while staying
supported. Try this as you drive around town, ride your bike, or walk down the
I'd love to work with you on supporting your voice with the breath and finding
the placement that sends the sound forward, making projection effortless.
Tamsen Fynn email@example.com
Two strong recommendations. Not sure about cost, but call to find out.
Donna Davis, Speach and Acting Coach:
Michele Voilleque, singing and speaking:
Kattt Atchley is a wonderful voice and singing coach.
She can be reached at : firstname.lastname@example.org
Kathy Post email@example.com
Bill Garcia Ganz firstname.lastname@example.org
Jonathan Nadel email@example.com
Deborah Benedict firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Gundunas email@example.com
Debra Golata firstname.lastname@example.org
Christa Pfeiffer email@example.com
Love to Sing
For singing lessons, contact Michelle Voilleque -
http://www.mvmusik.com/mvmusik.com/Home.html. She loves to sing and to teach
others to sing!
Hi, I would highly recommend Michele Volique. She is a super nice person with a
passion for singing, she so welcoming, I know you will find it easy to be around
her! And her voice is amazing, ask her to sing for you, it will seal the deal!!
Teachers' philosophies differ about whether training for speaking and singing are
the same: yes, no and it depends. In principle, they overlap in terms of learning
about the breath and individual sounds, for example (though a singer learns to
sustain sounds longer than a speaker typically needs to). But in fact not all
teachers teach these or teach them well. One difference: for the singer, a
composer or songwriter has already decided the lyrics, melody, rhythm, dynamics
(loud, soft, etc.). But the speaker has to consider those aspects him- or
herself: does my speech have a pleasing melody? Does it have variety in terms of
dynamics, and carry the meaning and quality of my thoughts? It's wonderful that
you're thinking about your voice! I work with the speaking voice. The amount
you'd like to spend is very reasonable and it's also less than I charge, but we
could certainly put our heads together and find a way to work together within
your budget. For singing with a low financial commitment, some people join
singing circles that have someone there to give pointers to the participants. For
no-/low cost speaking, some people find what they need at a local Toastmasters
chapter. Over the last decades we've heard the speaking voice increasingly
electronified, and I find that people are starved to hear (and to have!) the
natural, expressive, fully-
dimensional human speaking voice again. Lissa Tyler Renaud, Voice Training
Loves a Beautiful Speaking Voice
Voice Lessons for Adult?
I am looking for informal voice training.
I like to sing just recreationally, and the voice teachers I have tried so
far are more into the technical component of teaching for performers (which
definately isnt' me!). I am just a 50 year old mom wanting to improve my
singing voice for my own pleasure.
I highly recommend my voice teacher, Michele Voilleque.
Once again, Erica Maier on Gilman is fantastic! (510) 225-5380
I highly recommend Betsy Blakeslee,510.387.4462,
firstname.lastname@example.org, www.betsyblakeslee.com. She is very warm,
encouraging, and skillful at helping her students enjoy singing at
whatever level they're aiming for! I'm about your age, have been in a
chorus she directs since last fall, have learned a lot, and enjoy
singing again all the time for my own pleasure. She also leads the
super fun Instant Chorus, which is a 2-hour event the first Saturday
of the month (3-5 pm at Freight & Salvage on May 5 & June 2).
I will repeat my recommendation for Michele Voilleque
(http://www.mvmusik.com), a voice teacher in North Berkeley
(she also teachers piano and violin). I think she would be a
good fit for what you're looking for--she aims to help you
improve your singing to get more enjoyment out of it. From
what I've observed she is not obsessed with the ''technical
component'' of performing.
Parent of one of Michele's students
My teen daughter has been having lessons with Rebecca Castelli
and they have been excellent. She's made a lot of progress and is much
confident. Rebecca Castelli teaches adult students as well and sometimes
workshops for groups of students.
I would like to learn how to sight-read musical scores for
voice. I want to join a chorus where sight-reading is
required. Can you recommend anyone who can teach me
privately, in Berkeley or nearby?
Erica Maier on Gilman is fantastic! (510) 225-5380
Contact Choral Director Betsy Blakeslee, email@example.com,
www.betsyblakeslee.com. She's in Orinda but teaches in Oakland
Good for you for wanting to improve your sightreading!
Michelle Voilleque (http://www.mvmusik.com) is a voice
teacher in North Berkeley (she also teachers piano and
violin) who can help you learn to sightread music. I think
you will find her pleasant and helpful to work with. She
seems to strike a good balance in her feedback. (Disclaimer:
I have not studied voice with Michelle; my daughter studies
violin with her and we've been very pleased with how it's
Can I learn how to sing?
Can anyone learn how to sing? Or do you have some natural
ability, even if it is a little. I have none, but have
always wished I could sing. I don't want to win American
Idol or anything; I just be able to read music and carry a
tune. Are there people who will teach adults how to sing? Or
should I put this fantasy to rest?
Michele Voilleque is a wonderful singing teacher who I think could help
you. I'm very impressed with her knowledge and personality. She teaches
my granddaughter, but I'm sure she's very good with adults. She makes it
fun while giving thorough and helpful knowledge. See her website:
Yes!! Everyone can sing! The inexpensive way is to sing every chance you
get; with your cd's, at church, karaoke- and bring friends that support
you 100%. If you feel like you must study with someone, i reccommend Shari
Carlson Studio in SF-i could write a novel about how great she is, but you
can meet with her to determine if it's a good fit. Above all, never stop
Anyone can learn how to sing! (Well, except my tone deaf
younger brother, but he is definitely the exception!)
Singing has a lot to do with breathing, listening, hearing,
engaging, and releasing. That may sound abstract, but it's
actually very physical. Singing is a full body experience,
using muscles and senses, emotion and sound.
If you ever want to sing in a group that welcomes beginners,
I teach a Women's Singing Circle at The Freight & Salvage in
Berkeley on Thursday nights from 8:30-10:00pm. I am also
happy to offer private lessons for individuals or groups.
Regardless of where you decide to pursue singing, you should
definitely start!!! There are cultures where everyone has
been singing since infancy, and I think this practice brings
deep joy, especially when it is shared in community.
Singing is a gift for all of us, even my tone deaf younger
brother! Regardless of ability or ambition, sing often,
sing freely, and sing with joy! Tamsen
I would be happy to recommend Michele Voilleque. She is wonderful and
very talented. She does private lessons and group classes, kids and
adults, and she is a wonderful singer! I have heard her many times.
Her info: 510-552-8160
I've been really enjoying the singing circle with Tamsen Flynn at Freight
and Salvage and private singing and guitar lessons with Robin Flower. Both
amazingly talented, kind, patient and encouraging. Francine
Anyone can learn to use their voice musically! I teach singing to children
and adults of all levels, and I enjoy exploring how to use the voice as a
beginning singer. If you're interested, get in touch with me and we can
talk about lessons!
I was told at an early age that I couldn't carry a tune, something that
didn't have to be pointed out to me as I could hear it myself, but I liked
to sing anyway once in a while. I come from a family with lots of good
singers and as a teen I stopped singing entirely. In my mid 20s I took
voice lessons once a week for about 6 months. The teacher usually taught
serious singers but was willing to help me and with some practice and
guidance I did learn to control my voice to the point that I can now sing
along with a group without feeling embarrassed and I sing lots to my small
children. My family has even commented on that I have a surprisingly nice
singing voice! So my answer is yes, you can learn to become a much better
singer. It is important though to have a good ear (or decent at least),
if you don't hear it yourself when you are off pitch then you are unlikely
to be able to learn it.
I think so. Certainly do know you can have some fun in the process.
Tamsen Fynn holds a womens' singing circle at Freight & Salvage on
Thursday evenings. Is a wonderful, absolutely supportive space to
get-together and sing. No previous experience necessary. Tamsen is a
knowledgable, gentle guide in the process. Come on in and check it out -
believe is typically a group running over 6 weeks.
Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse in downtown Berkeley has a great new venue
and also a new educational outreach that includes Tamsen Fynn's Women's
Singing Circle. Look online for details; classes are starting again soon.
We did warm ups for our voices and sang songs ranging from American folk
tunes to African chants to show tunes. It was wonderful! Tamsen has
guitar and drum; classes are small; and the songs stayed with me and
popped up in my head all week. Anyone can sing.
Yes, anyone who can speak in complete, intelligible
sentences can learn to sing.
Yes, I can teach you to read music and carry a tune.
Yes, I teach adults.
Yes, you can live a fuller life. Michele V
How do you get started singing if you're not always in tune?
Where do you sing out loud? I'm not a great singer by any
stretch, but I find that I
really like singing to my daughter and I like singing in the
car. (I've always liked singing drunk at karaoke. But I
don't get to do that much anymore. At all). Where do
mediocre yet spirited voices get together to just let loose
and sing from the heart? And have fun! I don't want to join
a choir, but I want to get high on song. I would like to be
in the company of adults - so maybe something at night? I've
heard of kirtan/chanting, but is that fun and happy or a bit
more meditative? Sea shanties? I'd love some advice on how to
start and where to go that will be welcoming. twinkle twinkle ain't
Try Circle Singing! Every third Wednesday of the month, a group of people
meet up with a leader from the fabulous a capella group SoVoSo. The group is
broken down into voice parts and the leader gives each group a little ditty
to sing on repeat and then builds on it with the other groups. There's no
expectation of singing capacity whatsoever, and it's lots of fun. You can
even build up to busting out and soloing in the middle! I used to go but
stopped because I wanted to be part of a choir and sing songs, but I've been
wanting to pop back in from time to time -- just haven't made it happen
since baby came along. Here's info: http://www.circlesing.net/
A fellow singer
Check out Sandi Morey's SingThing. It's a group that meets Wed nights in
Berkeley and Thursday nights in Oakland and just sings, not for performance,
but for fun. Sea Shanteys are indeed part of the repertoire, as are rounds
and folk songs and ballads and all manner of thing. It's a family sing, so
if your daughter is old enough, she can come too. My son and I participated
from the time he was in 1st grade until he hit middle school, when he
stopped being into it and the scheduling got too hard. One of the nicest
things about it though is that your family -- and friends if you bring them
-- will know LOTS of songs that you can sing together at campfires, on car
You mentioned that you love to sing but have trouble carrying a tune. I
would recommend a few voice lessons. A good voice teacher can help you with
ear training and help you find ''your singing voice''. There are many great
voice teachers around. I can recommend Ann Moss who is in East Richmond, her
e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
In Oakland is Ellen Robinson, who is a fabulous teacher, choral director,
jazz singer, her e-mail is email@example.com There are singing classes
at the Jazz School in Berkeley...
Hope this is helpful, have fun and never stop singing.
Try SingThing, a family based sing-along, in a private home.
Here's the link
love to sing
I highly recommend Michele Voilleque as a singing teacher. She has an
incredible joy of life and love of teaching. She will make you laugh and
sing with a smile on your face and lightness in your heart. Her phone is
510-552-8160 and web site is www.mvmusik.com. Shoey Sindel
I highly recommend MVMusik - a fun, compassionate,
passionate place to find your voice!
Can anyone recommend a voice teacher for a fairly advanced
student who wants to learn good technique, whether classical
or pop. She's not sure which direction she's going with her
singing, so the teacher could have either specialty.
I've been taking voice lessons with Beth Amisano,
firstname.lastname@example.org or (415) 368-4771. She is quite
remarkable in identifying the specific ways an individual
can improve their singing--I've been surprised at how she
has helped me sing way beyond what I thought possible, but
the professional classical soprano in our group is also
devoted to lessons with Beth. Her approach to ease in
singing technique would seem to be applicable to classical
or pop. She is substantially better than two other voice
teachers I have taken lessons from.
I'm looking for recs for a male voice teacher for my
husband. This person has to be very experienced and should
know how to work w/ a novice singer in his 60's. Thanks for
Marzuki Grinage teaches a great vocal technique and is
great. See website http://www.innerphonic.com/.
Maya in Oakland
Having always wanted to train my voice to sing, I finally have
the time to learn.
Does anyone have any recommendations for someone in the
Good for you! I also learned to sing as an adult, and it was one of
the most wonderful, empowering things I ever did. I recommend
Michelle Voilleque (Vwahl-a-kay) 510-552-8160. She is a lovely person
and has lots of teaching experience. She has a website you can visit:
www.mvmusik.com to get more info.
I highly recommend Alex Taite. Voice is his passion. He is a
graduate of Pepperdine University and currently is on staff at Oakland
School for the Arts and the SF Opera Chorus. He is able to teach you
any vocal style. You can contact him at email@example.com or by phone
at 310-383-7694. He will come to your home or arrange for your lesson
in Walnut Creek or Oakland.
You should definitely contact Michele Voileque. She is a voice teacher
(as well as being a personal friend), and she's an exceptional
You should definitely check her out. Call Michele at 510-552-8160.
Check out her website at http://mvmusik.com/Welcome.html
You can't go wrong singing with Ellen Robinson. She is a jazz
vocalist and directs several choirs--including the Anything Goes
Chorus in SF and Oakland, and the Girlfriendz Nonet. I sing in one of
her choruses, and have taken a few lessons from her. She is an
incredible teacher, and very positive/supportive.
I have a great voice teacher for you in San Francisco. I've
been taking from him for a couple of years.
His name is Corey Head
And here's his Web site:
Corey teaches private lessons in his house out in the avenues
off of Taraval (outer Richmond, I guess it is). He also teaches
at San Francisco State.
He's also a professional singer who performs classical music,
but don't be put off by that. His students range from rockers
and folkies to classical singers. I sing with a folk music
group. I also sing early music. What he teaches you can be
applied to any type of singing. He will not try to turn your
voice into an opera voice. He simply teaches you how to use
your body and your mind to sing better, whatever the style.
He's an experienced and gifted teacher -- funny, inspiring,
knows his stuff inside and out. It's scary at first to go sing
with a teacher, but he makes it totally comfortable and fun. My
lesson is one of the highlights of my week. I can't recommend
him more highly! BTW, it takes time for voice lessons
to ''work'' -- though I felt significant improvements from the
very beginning. You have to train your body (and it's partly in
your mind, too) to allow your voice to come out. You have to
unlearn some bad habits. But the ''unlearning'' process is fun!
If you trust Corey's experience and let him guide you, you will
be able to make the most of your natural voice
If you want adult singing classes, i would go to shari carlson. she's in the city
sutter street/ union square area- it's more than just singing; it's very cathartic!
she's very insightful-
I am looking for a fun voice instructor to help me develop my
singing and speaking voice. And if they are familiar in dealing
with the underlying emotional fears that come with singing,
that would be a bonus! I would greatly appreciate any
recommendations you might have.
I can't say enough good things about Cary Sheldon (843-9687).
She teaches voice lessons in her home, near Shattuck &
University. My rather shy 16 year old daughter sang with her
for about a year and loved her. She's very encouraging and a
lot of fun
Lake Montessori in Oakland holds an opera camp in the summertime. You
them for information or advice
Like singing with the kids
I'm looking for a recommendation for a voice teacher in San
Francisco. I am an adult who sang quite a bit as a child but I
haven't sung anywhere but the car or the shower for the last
thirty years. I'm hoping to find someone who can help me
improve and master my voice so I can sing for fun with my son.
I've checked the website and all the recommended teachers are in
the East Bay which doesn't work for me.
Good for you! Studying voice was probably the most fun, most
meaningful, most memorable thing I've done with my spare time.
And the joy of it was mostly in working with Paul Brian, who is a
choir director, professional soloist, and musician. Paul is
great at figuring out what level you're at and what inspires you,
and working from there. He's used to working with people at all
levels of talent and experience, and he's very relaxed and
approachable. You can reach him at his phone number at St Luke's
in San Francisco where he directs the music program. 415 673
9971. Good luck!
I sing to my children all the time. I sing very badly. I'm told
I'm usually off-key, but I usually can't tell. I don't
want to be such a bad role model. Is there a voice teacher who
could help me? (I've looked at the web site, but the
recommendations seem to be for musically proficient children, as
opposed to musically impaired adults.)
My sister Eliza O'Malley teaches voice privately in El Cerrito
and in Berkeley at the Chamber Arts House. She has a Master of
Music degree in Voice Performance and has performed all over the
Bay Area and elsewhere. She recently performed the role of St.
Settlement in Virgil Thomson's Four Saints in Three Acts with
the Oakland Opera and will perform Micaela in Carmen with
Capitol Opera Sacramento and Nora in Vaughn Williams' Riders to
the Sea at Holy Names College next spring. A recommendation from
one of her students (Becky Gambatese): ''I highly recommend
Eliza as a voice instructor. She is one of the best I've been
to. Over the past year, she has helped me tremendously both
technically and as a performer. She is patient and encouraging,
yet challenging and shares many fresh ideas from her own singing
experience. I have in the past, and would continue to recommend
her.'' You can contact Eliza at: 510-235-4471, or by email at:
ELIZAOMALLEY (at) prodigy.net
Marcelle Dronkers is an accomplished, local vocalist, who both
performs, teaches and conducts in classical venues. She is
available at 526-5425. She is willing to take on students who
consider themselves musically ''challenged.''
this page was last updated: Feb 16, 2014
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website!
Read more, and see how you can help:
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2014 Berkeley Parents Network