Monthly Archives: August 2012

How To Build A Portable Vocal Booth

Acoustic Panels are being made for my studio! I’ll definitely blog to add my thoughts on how they improve the sound. See below if interested in making them yourself! Cut and paste if necessary!


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Posted by on August 26, 2012 in Voice Overs


A Bad Day vs. A Good Day

Today was a good day!

I’m working with 4 drama students for their performance next week! They are doing extremely well and I’m glad to work with them. The scenes are coming together nicely. They are a mixture of poems and a published scene from a play. This makes my Saturday!

Friday was a different day, a tough day for me. My chorus class has a mixture of students who joined and didn’t join chorus. I have my thoughts on this. However, I believe that they are truthful on this subject.

I’ll mix my lessons for chorus and general music within one class so that everyone can participate. Also, my chorus students who joined from last year will have practices in the mornings on scheduled days for small ensemble work.

Building a choral culture in a school that didn’t have chorus for 7 years was disturbing, stressful, but hopeful. I’m glad to teach chorus to my students and want success for the program, my students, and myself (last). My students come first, so I want them to enjoy the chorus and general music programs.

A bad day and a good day. I learn from both. Experience has certainly helped me in choosing materials and my approaches. That’s a blessing that I can build on.


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Posted by on August 18, 2012 in Arts Education


Quote from Maya Angelou

“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning.” Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

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Posted by on August 11, 2012 in Uncategorized


Education: An Introspection

My singing voice teacher died on July 24, 2012. Her name was Florence Kopleff 1924-2012. Considered by Time magazine once as “the greatest living alto.” Florence was a contralto and proud of it.

Miss Kopleff said, “Music is my religion,” she said with characteristic directness. “I don’t have a family or a business to leave to the world, so my music, which is my life’s work, will be my testament.”

It was. She was one of the best oratorio singers in her time. Miss Kopleff’s work speaks for itself. Below is an excerpt from the Georgia State University School of Music newsletter:

Florence Kopleff, whom Time magazine once called the “greatest living alto,” died July 24, 2012 at Hospice Atlanta. Her voice was one that defined for many music lovers the ideal sound for a contralto: deep and rich in tone, rock-solid in technique and intonation, understated but eloquent in nuance. A splendid presence on the oratorio stage, she was in demand for masterworks from Bach and Handel through Hindemith and Britten, as well as concert performances with the American Opera Society. A mainstay of the Robert Shaw Chorale, she sang on every recording the group made – even, as a tenor, on the male-chorus recordings. In later life she shared her experience and insight with future vocal artists as a professor at Georgia State University’s School of Music.

She forever changed my life.

However, the student-teacher relationship was not a good one. As a matter of fact, I wasn’t her best student. We never had a good student-teacher relationship. Other students may have had similar experiences with her. After graduation, I found another voice studio that I could work in that was less tense and more supportive. It is a wonder that my love for music didn’t crush permanently under her leadership.

As an educator now, I can reflect back as a student on my mistakes as well. I was a young student, undisciplined and naïve. It’s not always the grown-ups fault for a student’s mistakes. However, I reflect on those years to the present: Miss Kopleff’s was an outstanding artist. Her legacy remains intact.


The memories of our work relationship will remain private. I grew under another voice teacher’s studio, and remain thankful that I was able to grow in my vocal music studies. My studies into drama was a result of my positive dramatic experiences discovered in my music college classes. I later went on to NYU in Educational Theatre and studied privately in voice acting. I wisely took my time to learn the craft. I also continue to constantly study and practice in all three artistic areas: music, drama, and voice-overs. It’s important to me that I grow, while I continue to improve the growth of my own students.

As an educator, every student may not be the best one for your studio: whether it’s personality, style, or period stage of growth. If they are the best, they may not be the best for you. Study from the person that you can learn from and review the results of growth from that studio. Educators and students should review constant evaluation of growth. If the benchmarks don’t show improvement, change should occur.

The educational time period of a student remains the most important growth period for that student. I dare say that educators and students MUST take their work very seriously. If you can’t or don’t want to teach: DON’T. If a student doesn’t take their education seriously: REPORT the results and CHANGE direction.

During my field studies in music education, I studied under Miss Elizabeth Sullivan who taught at Terry Mill ES for 30 years which was permanently closed soon afterwards. As a student, Miss Sullivan attended the school herself as a child. Miss Sullivan retired after 32 years of teaching music education. Recommended by another outstanding educator, Dr. Sally Monsour (retired) from GSU, my studies under Miss Sullivan were exemplary. Under her direction, my growth as a music educator was extraordinary and enjoyable. I was thankful to have a master teacher and study under her tutelage.

Reflection with a critical eye throughout the years causes me to analyse my past and present. Other coaches that trained me including Stuart Culpepper, actor and VO actor (retired); Paul Armbruster, VO actor; Deborah Richards, VO coach and demo producer; Sharon Blackwood, classical singer, educator, and actor; and Pat Hurley, actor were excellent choices for me to study and learn from in Atlanta, GA. At the time of this writing, they continue to educate and perform unless otherwise noted. There are several teachers and/or artists that may be right for you. Take your time, do your best work, and choose wisely.

For educators, our job remains to teach. Money and location, although important, doesn’t teach students. We do. Likewise, educational reform should not punish teachers but improve the quality of education with adequate resources. Support (large or small) in every classroom proves more helpful than flippant reform year after year without understanding the local differentiation of our American communities in every county.

BTW, students and parents are individually and collectively responsible for their education as well. If a child doesn’t show respect to authority at home, they will not show respect to authority in the classroom. Likewise, a teacher cannot force a student to learn, the inner desire should be present before entering the door.

Before finding fault in perceived failure, point a finger at yourself first. There lies the answer.

Education deserves the highest respect. Its product continues on affecting future generations.


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Posted by on August 3, 2012 in Arts Education



There are a lot of people who’ve covered this topic in the past. For my recording studio, this has been my task for the summer of 2012: Improving the acoustics in my studio without spending a ton of money for improvements.

There are hundreds YouTube videos on the internet that a person can peruse. They were helpful in understanding overall basic education on acoustic set-ups. Every room is different, so the acoustic treatment will be different. Go to the website:

The most helpful for me was to have George Whittam (co-host with Dan Lenard) listen to my audio for free via East West Audio Body Shop. EWABS is a Ustream video series about acoustics with guests every Sunday night on the show. Show begins 9 p.m. EST and 6 p.m. PST.  He’ll listen to the audio and give you a complete acoustic evaluation of the studio. Go to the website: If you can give a donation to EWABS, they would appreciate it. Let them know that you are a member. The Ustream show is at the website: Dan Lenard has been helpful as well. In the past, I’ve posted VO auditions and he has directed me on cost-effective materials to get the studio where it should be. However, George has the technical acoustic “ears” and they don’t lie. He will send a complete evaluation from what was heard in the studio. Go to his website for a complete biography:

Edge Studio gives good feedback as well. Go to the website: They will listen to your studio and auditions for a $27 checkup.

If you are on a Pay to Play (P2P) site, they will also give you feedback as well. They have proven helpful with feedback if a consistent problem with your audio gives you concern based on client feedback.

Also, the local audio shop can be useful as well. However, careful consideration is a must if they won’t listen to your audio. They may not have skills to listen for your audio and determine your specific problems but try to sell you kits to fix a problem that they haven’t even taken the time to hear.

Again, every room is different, so the acoustic treatment will be different.

I’ll post when the acoustic treatment has been completed. This has taken some time since I’m depending on professional ears to give me feedback concerning my acoustics.

If you have the money, hire a person to come to your home for improvements, or order the StudioBricks sound proof room that doesn’t use any nails to assemble. Go to the website: It’s the best thing that I have ever seen and you can take it anywhere from home to apartment depending on the measurements of the room itself. Definitely worth the money for one with a ventilator.

Well, acoustic treatment is one area, but building a home recording studio is another. Sound editing your spots is still another issue. Take one issue at a time. This business is not for wimps.

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Posted by on August 2, 2012 in Voice Overs