Testimonials: Letter from Joseph C Whittington
I am a 66-year old former student of Rosemarie Cereghino and just wanted to pass on some great things about her.
As a "retirement project" I decided to take voice lessons. There were two primary reasons for wanting to do this: 1.) Just to see if I could. That's because I love to sing but could not. 2.) I've heard that in retirement it's good to do something like you've never done before. Wow, did that part work out!
A singing friend of mine recommended I contact a person at Webster Groves College to obtain a lead on an instructor. I did and that person gave me three names and numbers. I left messages stating that I could not sing, liked to sing and would like to take lesson. Only one of those three returned my call. Lucky for me it was Rosemarie! So from May of 2007 until May of 2010 (wow, it didn't seem like three years!) I took voice lessons year around.
When I started, I had no idea of what to expect. But learning under Rosemarie's tutelage was very interesting and lots of fun.
Early on I learned that the best way to get a good breath was to use my stomach muscles and practice "panting." Who knew?!? I learned that there were Italian vowels, how to pronounce them and how to hold them while singing. I learned that "do re mi, etc." is solflege and that there are hand signs for each syllable. I learned several different humming sounds to include what I call the "NG" hum which is nasty sounding.
I learned that I could not sing long scales. So we started with two-note scales and gradually moved up semester by semester. We ended up with some long scales that I had no problem with... if the notes didn't change too fast. ;)
I learned that to project my voice I didn't need to holler. I needed to resonate the sound in my head. Rosemarie has studied anatomy and well understands how the head, nose, throat, and sinuses are similar to a piano body. She also explained how different notes sound best coming from the right "spot." Eg, high notes "come out of the top of the head." The "u" sound is best from a "big, open pipe with the lips forward."
Rosemarie knows that the best way to learn the words to a song is to write them down.
I bought a small digital recorder with which to record my lessons. I copied the recordings on my computer. Then Rosemarie, always at the leading edge of technology (as well as technique) bought a two-microphone CD recorder so her students just needed to bring a blank CD if they wanted to record lessons. The recorder has many bells and whistles to include reverb.
She also recently bought a grand piano for her studio!!
She stays current with new singing methods by regularly attending a wide variety of workshops.
Rosemarie helped me make the dreaded recitals fun. We would always come up with something, mostly audience participation, to make the recitals more bearable than they otherwise might have been. (Although I'm not a great singer, I am a great ham.)
Lastly, Rosemarie possesses the patience of Job. For instance, I cannot begin to calculate how many times she told me that raising my eyebrows just didn't help my voice! There were other continuing mistakes I made, and I never heard a hint of frustration in her voice.
My family still has difficulty believing the results of my lessons. My sister, who makes a good living with her voice, and I have a hard time singing together because our emotions get in the way. My loving daughter said, after hearing me sing, "I don't know what you're paying that lady, but you should double the amount!"
So, obviously, I would recommend Rosemarie as a voice teacher for ANYONE, regardless of age or skill level.
Joseph C Whittington, student
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