Is Suzanne Lukather the Right Voice Teacher for You?
Get to know Suzanne better with this in-depth, informative interview.
Q: Hi Suzanne! Can you start by telling me for how long have you been teaching voice?
A: I have been singing professionally for 29 years and teaching since 2000.
Q: For any student looking to find a music instructor, what do you feel
you bring to the table that distinguishes you from other voice teachers?
A: As a working professional with Broadway, Opera, Concert stage, and recording experience, I bring an understanding of the music business and the level of proficiency and preparedness required to be a working professional. My love of singing is first and foremost. It is what I draw on to inspire students to experience first-hand, the joy of singing. I have a working knowledge of different styles of music and can demonstrate how to execute any style of singing with good vocal technique. The studio has an extensive and varied selection of literature and resources for students who have career aspirations as well as professional singers. Also, the studio is a resource for start-up projects such as vocal ensembles, performance, and auditions, educational opportunities including festivals. The studio networks with theatrical, film and TV casting agents for new talent for start- up projects.
Q: Tell us the 3 main reasons you hear students stating for wanting to
take voice lessons.
1. Students have aspirations to be the next American Idol
2. Students are preparing to audition for school productions, for competitions, for Music or Theatre Arts Programs, or for college entrance.
3. Students want to learn better vocal technique to hone professional skills in the entertainment industry
Q: What are the most common challenges you've observed beginners facing
in learning to sing?
A: The most common challenge in learning to sing correctly is learning how to sing on the breath (using diaphragmatic breathing), and developing practice skills.
Q: What is your approach to helping students overcome these challenges?
How can you help them?
A: Singing is an athletic endeavor. It is a visceral experience. Your body is your instrument. Correct singing takes focus ,concentration, energy, and physical endurance. Just as we exercise to build strength, flexibility and muscle tone in our bodies, the singer must develop physical and mental coordination skills through regular study, then implement this through practice. Lessons are recorded. The student is given a CD of the lesson which is to be used as a practice aide between lessons.
Q: How much time should a beginning student be ready to devote to
practicing on a weekly basis, if they want to make good progress?
A: How long a student practices is not as important as how often. Developing practice skills is an integral part of developing vocal technique. As a beginning student, we work to establish a regular time to spend 10 minutes of uninterrupted study each day. The 10 minutes naturally extends to 20 and 30 minutes as the student develops the habit of practicing. Students are asked at the beginning of each lesson what questions came up during their practicing. Students who practice make marked progress in a short period of time.
Q: What is your favorite thing about teaching voice to adults?
A: Many adults return to or begin studying because they love it and want to learn for their own enjoyment. This attitude lends to the student's willingness, receptivity, and responsiveness, and to the teacher's enjoyment level in working with them.
Q: What is your favorite thing about teaching voice to children?
A: Playfulness. To young children, everything is a game. This translates easily to playing musical games that teach basic skills of rhythm, pitch, and melody. Having fun and being spontaneous gives the lesson the atmosphere of playtime. Kids with good playing skills make good students.
Q: For parents, how long, on average, should they expect their child to
need to take music lessons before they can sing their first simple tune?
A: A child should be able to sing simple songs in the first lesson.
Q: How will intermediate or advanced students benefit from coming to you
for further instruction? How can you improve their musical abilities and
satisfaction in singing the music they love?
A: Study for older students is more goal oriented, whether is to prepare audition material or prepare a singing role he or she may be doing, or preparing a tune list for a band he or she sings in. The teacher is the outside ears and eyes in helping the student navigate the repertoire with good vocal technique and musicality.
Q: What local opportunities are there for your students to sing in a performance setting?
A: Performance is a logical culmination for preparation in the studio. When a student is prepared, performance opportunities appropriate to the student's level of accomplishment and goals is sought. The studio does public recitals periodically and submits students where appropriate to casting and talent agents for start-up projects.
Q: To take our last question a step further, are there any local musical
venues where you have performed?
A: Yes. Broadway, off-Broadway, National Tours, guest appearances with symphony orchestras, 16 years as a principal entertainer with the Disney Company.
Q: Can you describe the greatest accomplishments your students have attained, in your memory?
A: Students have gone onto professionals engagements: Broadway and regional theatre, commercial work, voice overs, and concerts. Other students have competed in vocal competitions, and successfully prepared for college entrance and arts high school auditions.
Q: When do you know that you've succeeded with a student?
A: Success begins with a student having a successful lesson. Success is measured by a student's ability to make progress in the lesson and to be able to identify this progress for themselves. Progress in the lesson is the best motivation for the student in carrying what has been accomplished through the week with practicing. Practicing and successful learning is the preparation necessary to achieving performance level. Working with the music at performance level is the ultimate success.
Q: When did your interest in music begin?
A: I took my first voice lesson when I was 10 years old. Singing came naturally. My teachers encouraged me to continue. I began studying seriously in high school. This led to a formal education and degree in music in college.
Q: Please tell us about your formal music education and credentials.
B.A. in music from UCSB,
Graduate School of Education (music), UCSB
Post Baccalaureate course-work, Juilliard School of Music
Scholarship recipient, two seasons, Aspen Music Festival
Past President, Beta Delta Chapter of Mu Phi Epsilon Professional Music Sorority
Member: Actors' Equity Association, Screen Actors' Guild, American Federation of Musicians, National Association of Teachers of Singing, Music Teachers Association of California
Q: What is the style of music you love singing best, on your own time?
A: I have sung all styles in my career. I am most at home with Musical Theatre.
Q: Please share the highlights of your performance/working experience.
A: Broadway, Feature Film, Walt Disney Company, Aspen Music Festival
Q: I understand you're a recording artist, Suzanne. Can you give me the name of one of your published recordings?
A: "So This Is Love" CD in release.
Q: How has music enriched your life?
A: Everyone needs something in his life that he is passionate about and that he loves. Music is my passion and my greatest love.
Q: What do you want students to get out of getting to work with you?
A: First, the joy of singing and learning good musicianship by developing basic music skills, ear training, an appreciation of the elements of correct singing, and learning repertoire.
Q: Can you share a free tip that prospective students can benefit from
A: Singing is an extension of speech. Speak the lyric from a song. Then try to yawn and sing the lyric on the exhale. To help "activate" a yawn, reach for the ceiling with both arms while inhaling.
A little something more about Suzanne Lukather, voice teacher at Music
Teachers on Main:
Learning correct vocal technique has little to do with the throat and mostly to do with breathing. It is like working out at the gym. If you work methodically and on a regular basis, you will develop the skills to sing correctly. These skills will last a lifetime.
The ability to perform a song begins with good vocal technique.
What students say about Suzanne:
"Our daughter, Mary, has taken voice lessons from Suzanne for two years. Through her association with the Music Studio, Mary made her professional debut in Baz Lurhman's "La Boheme" at the Ahmanson in 2004, as well as at The Disney Concert Hall with the California Philharmonic's Childrens Chorus.
An accomplished singer and performer herself, Suzanne has the ability to teach vocal technique to young people that is inspiring and highly effective. Suzanne's enthusiasm and professionalism provides a wonderful role model for her students." - Dr. and Mrs. Michael Regalado
"Suzanne Lukather is one of the best kept secrets in the business. A wonderful teacher, she helped me shed some of the bad habits I acquired along the way and focus in on my own true voice. The breathing exercises are exhilarating and easily translate in performance. I'm so thankful she has decided to share her knowledge of vocal technique and love of music." - Terrie Richards Alden, Concord Recording Artist
"I believe that my training with Miss Lukather is the reason I was accepted to LACHSA." - Annakate Blackford
"Suzanne has been able to adapt her style of teaching to meet my specific needs. She has demystified the theory aspect of learning piano by breaking down the elements into easy-to-grasp concepts. I feel I am growing immensely under her tutelage." - Timothy Naux, Songwriter
"Since our granddaughter started taking singing lessons with Suzanne Lukather, not only has her voice developed beautifully, but she has also had the opportunity to audition and perform in a variety of circumstances. Suzanne has continued to be very involved in all her students' growth. We feel it to be a great privilege for Mia to have her as a voice teacher." - Mr. and Mrs. John Logg
"I began studying with Suzanne with a goal in mind. She helped me to accomplish that goal. Because of her time and effort, I was able to prepare for the audition which led to acceptance at Idyllwild Arts Academy. Suzanne is a wonderful teacher and singer. She uses her experience as a professional singer to teach you how to use the most important parts of your instrument - your mouth, ears, posture, diaphragm - and your mind." - Danielle Demianew, 16 years old
Contact Suzanne Lukather To Set Up Your First Voice Lesson:
Call (800) 676-5204 or email firstname.lastname@example.org