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Meta Powell - Classical-Opera Voice Teacher-Pedagogue in London

Meta Powell Classical Singing Teacher (West London)

Meta Powell Gold Member

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  • Professional Qualification Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Post Grad Opera
  • References References are available upon request
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Personal Message
I offer a modern approach to voice teaching based on proven vocal science and 20 years of experience. No guessing or vague theories, instead we'll take a fun but direct route to your perfect voice.
Which subject(s) do you teach?
Classical singing.
Tell me about your qualifications.
I graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama's Post Graduate Opera Course. Before that I studied at the Opera Studio in Stockholm, Sweden, and also studied Musicology at Stockholm University. I was a Choral Scholar at Adolf Fredrik School of Music in Stockholm, and I studied piano from the age of 6 to equivalent of Grade 8 in UK. I also played the cello until Grade 6. Recently I have been working with the outstanding vocal pedagogue Jean-Ronald LaFond, based in Berlin and New York.

Reference
“Meta Powell is among the very best singers I have ever had the pleasure to teach. Beyond that, she has a natural gift for teaching and a rare sensitivity that makes her an extremely wise guide to anyone who wishes to follow the path of singing. I recommend her always to my students and colleagues who find themselves in the U.K. and need vocal guidance. A singing teacher who is also a singer needs other ears as well. Meta is one of the few people I trust completely with my voice, because she has the rare capacity of seeing beyond mere muscular function and get to the root of the singer’s issues. Any singer would be lucky to have her as their teacher.”
Dr Jean Ronald LaFond – Kashu-Do Voice Studio
What kind of experience do you have?
I have been singing professionally for more than two decades and have dedicated myself to a study of the voice in all its aspects. I’ve changed voice fach twice, moving from lyric mezzo to dramatic soprano, and along the way I have been privileged to work with some truly wonderful people in the operatic world. A few years ago I started working with Dr. Jean-Ronald LaFond who is considered by many to be the professional’s professional when it comes to voice teaching. His approach to voice teaching is spectacularly effective, and although the cornerstones of his work are founded in vocal science, his method is truly holistic in essence.

I believe my adventurous journey as a singer serves me extremely well as a teacher. I have an acute sense of perception in spotting imbalances in the voice, and with that foundation we can work together to improve the technical side of singing as a foundation for building a remarkable voice. Using these techniques we can take direct action to build your vocal stability and correct imbalances along the way.

I've been teaching privately all through my career, most notably I was a Staff Voice Teacher at the Vienna Boy's Choir, Vienna. For the last two years, I have been invited as a guest voice pedagogue to the Härnösand Opera Academy and Festival in Sweden, where I have taught private voice lessons as well as held Masterclasses along such veterans as Professor Emeritus George Shirley (Metropolitan Opera, NY) mezzo-soprano Gail Dubinbaum Massaro(Metropolitan Opera, NY), and there also worked with coaches and conductors such as Daniel Beckwith (conductor and coach, Metropolitan Opera) and John Massaro (Artistic Director and conductor Phoenix Opera, USA). During the last few years, I have spent time studying the latest discoveries made in the field of vocal science, mainly by the extraordinarily knowledgeable Dr. Katherine Osborne ( University of Northern Iowa).
How much do you charge?
£50/hour. I offer a free consultation, usually 1/2 hour, as our initial opportunity to meet, and figure out if we are a good match! Please contact me to arrange for a consultation.
Where do you teach?
I teach from my home in Acton, West London. The easiest way to my studio by public transport is by overground from Paddington Station to Acton Main Line, one stop (6-7 minutes) and then a 6-minute walk from the station. I'm not able to come to your house to teach, I'm afraid.
When are you available?
I have a flexible schedule but mainly teach on weekdays, but also weekends, if needed. Evening slots get booked fairly quickly, so need to be confirmed well in advance. If I'm performing or travelling, I always try to make up for lessons whenever possible.Please note: Cancellations MUST be done with 24 hours notice!
Which ages and levels do you teach?
I teach most ages, but usually, children under 16 do not have a sufficiently developed physique to really study classical/operatic singing. There is no upper limit - everyone is welcome to find their true voice!

Of course, a good foundation for the voice is only the start, so as well as building vocal stability, we also deal with the wider aspects of what it takes to be a top-class singer. The voice alone does not make a great singer!

The Holistic Nature of My Teaching
This is something I wish they told everyone at their start of voice studies at university, college or conservatory! The physical, emotional, dramatic and even spiritual aspect of you as a singer is just as important! I do Pilates several times a week and have done so for over 10 years, as I find it the most suitable form of exercise to develop stamina for the more demanding roles. I have also practiced meditation for almost 20 years, which I believe is an essential tool in dealing with the turbulent nature of being a professional singer!

As well of focusing on the perfection of the vocal delivery, it is important to spend valuable time examining the dramatic needs of any professional singer. We all know that the days of “park and bark” are over in the world of opera, and it is every singer’s responsibility to incorporate dramatic truth in their performances. I have studied (amongst other methods) the Michael Chekhow Technique, which I find very liberating and most useful in role preparation.

Although I do not claim to be able to replace your fitness trainer, drama teacher nor guru, aspects of these practices will be incorporated in my holistic approach to voice teaching.
Which qualifications do you prepare your students for?
Opera auditions, entry auditions for music schools and colleges, and any requirement which needs a classically trained voice.

Maybe you sing in a choir, and find that you get tired easily, or perhaps you’re a singer/songwriter who would like to increase your vocal range, or you’re someone who would like to audition for a Music college but feel that you haven’t fulfilled the true potential of your voice – I can help in all these cases.

My specialist field is classical singing, and in specific, singing that doesn’t require amplification. For this, one needs knowledge of the acoustic phenomena such as Singer’s Formants and the use of the correct resonant spaces. The singer who would benefit most from my teaching is someone who’s serious about classically training their voice in order to achieve the ultimate efficiency in singing, whether it is as a professional or a vocational singer.
Do you have an up-to-date DBS (Disclosure & Barring Service, formerly CRB) Certificate?
No.
Describe your arrangements for online tutoring.
There is a possibility to teach via Skype, but that would work best if we've already been working together for a while.
Do you belong to any professional organisations?
n/a
Where and with whom did you train?
I trained at the Guildhall School of Music with Vera Rozsa. I currently study regularly with Dr. Jean-Ronald LaFond in Berlin, and with Dame Anne Evans, as well as with David Syrus (Head of Music at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden).For the last two years, I have attended Vocal Pedagogy training by Dr. LaFond during 2-3 week long training courses in Sweden.My first studies in song were in Stockholm, Sweden, where I attended a special music school from the age of 10. During this time I was also participating in a Youth programme at the Royal Opera House in Stockholm, where we participated in various opera productions. My first operatic performance was in La Boheme, at the age of 11! I later went on to study Musicology at Stockholm University, and I also did a two-year jazz course playing the saxophone.
Tell me about some of your current students.
The latest addition to my voice studio is a very gifted soprano, who already has several years of vocal training behind her, and several years of professional singing and competing in international competition, She has always been told what she ISN'T or CAN'T do, and consequently felt very despondent about her singing, and it was evident in her performing that the joy was no longer there. We're working on finding her true voice type, in this case Lirico Spinto, and to build a solid middle/lower voice without any obvious register changes. This will consequently open up her top register,and she will have the full 2,5 octaves of evenly balanced sound required for the Lirico Spinto repertoire. We will also work on emotional blockages and aim to free up the physique of any tension,so this singer will have the confidence to go out in the world and sing!
Do you have a personal message for students?
Can anyone learn how to sing? Can anyone learn how to become a better singer? The answer is YES, absolutely!! Things have changed a lot over the last decades in terms of our knowledge of how the vocal cords and resonance function, and this gives the informed teacher a much better understanding of how to correct vocal imbalances, with the result that my students are rewarded with more focused and rapid improvement.

Most people would agree that vocal function is an automatic process. As babies, we’re able to make completely efficient sounds without any learning involved. Singing starts with phonation – ‘the production or utterance of speech sounds’. In many ways speaking is simplified singing,or rather, singing is a heightened form of speaking, and most of us can speak without much thinking, and without it causing us any trouble.

The Role of Resonance
All vocalisation – speech or song – requires air flow. Air flow is the root of it all. The sound waves are formed and travel on the air. When we speak or sing the air passes through the vocal cords, two small parallel muscles in the larynx, causing them to vibrate, thus creating a sound. In singing we add a third component to the previous two - air flow and vocal cords - which is resonance.

If we argue that singing is a form of heightened speaking ( just like dancing could be likened to heightened everyday body movements), then the singing form of phonation is less “natural” than speaking, and therefore may require special training. And what we train are specific muscles and their interaction, just like a dancer! The big difference is we cannot see the muscles at work during singing. That’s where it can become difficult to teach, and to overcome that, teachers have for decades relied on conveying sensations and visualizations to their students to achieve a desired sound.

However, if we have a clear understanding of how each muscular action contributes to the whole, we can devise exercises that focus on specific actions. Which is where the teaching technique I employ comes into its own.

Who can I help?
Since the function of sound production is the same, whatever style of singing you are interested in, I can help anyone!