I live in San Francisco and have been a professional singer and songwriter for over 20 years. I would be happy and honored to help you develop your voice and/or songwriting skills so you can reach your musical goals.
I believe great music is a convergence of technique, style, and authenticity. My ultimate goal as a teacher is to help you find the perfect balance between these elements, so you can celebrate your own unique identity and sound. I teach students of all ages, styles, and ability levels – what they all have in common is a love for music. I am passionate about teaching and sharing the knowledge I have gained through my own experience. I enjoy long and fruitful relationships with many of my students.
I have studied numerous techniques including “Speech Level Singing” (the principal technique used by Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Barbra Streisand and many, many others). This powerful technique helps singers transition seamlessly between chest and head voice as well as find and maintain healthy voice placement, pitch, tone, endurance, and support. I am well-versed in modern approaches and classical singing techniques, and use them both to bring out the best in your voice.
Lessons begin with warm-up exercises and we work with a vast range of musical selections including rock, pop, standards, jazz, hip hop, R&B, rap, spoken word, country, folk, and even classical arias. As a bonus, I use technology that can remove the lead vocal from virtually any recording, so you can bring in recordings of music that inspire you and fit your desired style. We can pitch shift those recordings and even alter the tempo for the purpose of practicing and learning that material. Each lesson is recorded and given to you either on a CD or as a file, so you can review your progress and practice on your own.
Whether you sing on stage or in the shower, are a songwriter or are happy singing cover songs, I can help you take your voice and craft to the next level and beyond.
Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions about my services or would like to get started. I would like to hear about your musical goals and past experience as well. For those outside the S.F. area, I also offer remote lessons via Skype and FaceTime.
I look forward to working with you!
“Amazing vocal talent and coach. Essence is a great teacher who gets right to work growing your vocal skills and is extremely encouraging when it comes to your specific goals and confidence. A few short lessons with her and my vocal range expanded into an area I thought unobtainable. Would definitely recommend if you are ready to improve your singing abilities.”
“Essence is an incredible voice teacher. She has so much insight and incredible intuition that it really separates her from the rest! I highly recommend beginners and professionals to go and sing with Essence!”
“Having been a lifelong professional guitarist and sideman, I had decided to finally reveal myself as a singer songwriter. I took some vocal lessons with several different instructors with mixed results. When I started lessons with Essence, it was a “Eureka” moment because she was able to explain some of the common techniques that had eluded my understanding up to that point. She designed a structured vocal warm-up routine specifically for my voice that she recorded and handed to me on a CD at the end of the lesson.
I am always grateful for Essence’s lucid and straightforward instructions that immediately yield great results. Every lesson has been tailored to my newest challenge, upcoming performance or bad habit that she has brought to light. She has been, by FAR, the best vocal teacher I have had the privilege of working with. Thank you Essence!”
~ Roger Rocha, August 8, 2014
(4 Non Blondes and The Goldenhearts)
Jelene Phillips Wilkinson
“essence teaches the speech style singing technique which helped me to find volume and expand my range beyond anything I had been able to do before.”
Michelle Denise Milam
“If you’re looking to transform your voice, gain depth, tone, range, and bring out character, Essence is the perfect instructor. She’s professional, intuitive, non-judgmental, and allows you to explore your own unique style.”
Greg Mouroux (Attorney at Law)
“I was two years out of law school. My employers thought I was a talented attorney but they felt that I needed to improve my courtroom presence. They told me to take voice lessons/ I looked around for voice instructors and luckily found Essence. When I went to the first lesson I felt nervous, uneasy and uncomfortable because I had no idea what to expect. Essence was positive, encouraging and, most importantly, made me feel comfortable with making mistakes and sounding awful (at least to myself). She quickly diagnosed my speaking and projection issues and focused on exercises and songs that would improve my speaking abilities.
After six weeks of taking lessons with Essence, I had an important court hearing and partners from my office attended the hearing. Not only did I win the hearing but the partners said that I was noticeably more confident and forceful during my argument and presentation. I highly recommend Essence’s training for anyone who has a job that involves public speaking, for anyone who wants to overcome a fear of public speaking, or for anyone who simply wants to learn how to sing.”
“I was struggling to find my voice until essence coached me through basic vocal issues like pitch. I went from not being able to match notes to singing on key consistently. Now, I am more confident and perform regularly.”
“Lessons with Essence are something that every singer, regardless of skill level, can benefit from. I’m a classically trained opera singer and was transitioning to singing rock music when I first started working with Essence. Her teaching encouraged me to explore new techniques with courage and I achieved more than I thought possible.”
“Essence was a critical piece of my music education and helped me complement my guitar playing with a much improved singing voice. She got me up to a level where I was comfortable with recording and singing live. Her teaching style is really supportive but she’s not afraid to push you too.”
“Essence is the only voice teacher I have ever had and the only one that I needed. I started lessons with Essence during a time when I felt “stuck” vocally, and really needed some guidance and structure in order to find my true voice. She not only helped me find my voice, but also pointed me in the right direction so that years later, I am still growing as a vocalist because of the things she taught me.”
“I had always wanted to feel more comfortable singing and to learn proper technique, but was terribly shy about singing in front of ANYONE! I finally gathered my bravery and looked for lessons. I was fortunate to find Essence: she is very talented, patient and an excellent teacher. She helped me, not only with my voice, but also my confidence. I found the exercises very useful in learning to use and trust my voice, and enjoyed the ‘homework’ practice and our sessions. I have recommended her highly to friends, and would do so again to anyone who was looking for a great voice teacher!”