Terri working with a student.
Photo by Kathryn Kendall

Contact me by email or by calling 503-939-3780.

Holistic Voice Training

What are holistic voice lessons and how do they differ from traditional lessons? As Esther Broner said, “The total person sings, not just the vocal chords.” I take into account the whole body and how all its parts affect the voice. I also address emotional aspects of singing because the voice and the breath are such vulnerable parts of ourselves.

One of my students said to me, “Voice lessons are a lot like therapy!” It’s true, they can be—as much or as little as you want. Working through some of my own vocal issues, it became clear to me how connected the voice and heart are: when something is amiss in one, it affects the other.

Sometimes we need to work through old messages or physical trauma to find out what’s blocking our voices from coming through. We can work together to find the balance of talking, moving or emoting that feels right for you. I might make suggestions for body workers or other professionals to further your progress. One of my students recently commented: “Three voice lessons with an amazing voice teacher and one reiki session have elicited more profound changes in a few short weeks than years of talk therapy. Not sure what happened, but I feel like I’ve finally come home after wandering for many years. Mind officially blown, singing it out.” 

Your Lesson—What to Expect

I start each lesson with a short check-in about any vocal, physical, or emotional issues that might affect your singing that day. Then we go through a series of body warm-ups, because vocalizing with a stiff, tense body is counter-productive. Tension is the #1 enemy of singers! And it can sneak in to the most unlikely places (tongue, jaw, eyebrows, for example). We then work on a series of breath and vocal exercises designed to further reduce tension and get your body and voice ready for the real work/play of singing.

At the end of your lesson, I send you home with some vocal exercises; I also make available a recording of your lesson so if you choose, you can review what we worked on.

My only expectation about your home practice is that you do the best you can. Of course, the more you practice, the faster your progress.


I like my students to take ownership of the music they sing; I make suggestions for songs to work on, but encourage choosing your own. It’s no fun working hard on a piece of music you dislike! I can help you figure out what’s an appropriate style for your voice type and what key works with your vocal range. Not in the right key? No problem! I can usually transpose it.

Other Musical Offerings

  • Beginning to intermediate guitar
  • Beginning music theory
  • Vocal coaching – preparation for audition or performance
  • Speech coaching (as Professor Harold Hill says in The Music Man, “Singing is just sustained talking!”)


LizaI have a small voice studio in a detached cottage at my home in inner Southeast Portland. It’s a cozy, intimate, and inviting spot. If you have allergies or issues with dogs, please let me know, as my little dog Liza is usually with me in the cottage. (She greets people frantically, but then settles right down during the lesson—she’s become quite a good music therapy dog.)

I also have access to practice rooms at Vox Academy near SE Holgate and Highway 99E, where I’m an affiliated teacher.


$50 for one hour
$40 for 45 minutes
$30 for 30 minutes (I don’t recommend 30 minute lessons but will do them if necessary)

Your first lesson, where we mostly talk and get to know each other, is half-price. Current Aurora Chorus singers: subtract $5.

squareI now accept credit cards!  Through the magic of technology, I can now “swipe” your card with my iPhone. What will they think of next??


I find weekly or every two weeks is an ideal schedule for ongoing lessons. Any less and you lose the momentum. If all you can manage is an occasional lesson, or if you need to brush up a song for a performance with some ad hoc lessons, I’m happy to accommodate.

Student Questionnaire

Before your first lesson, I like to have an overview of where you’ve been musically and where you’d like to go. Please download this form, answer the questions as best you can and email it to me; or bring it to your first lesson.

Now don’t forget the harmony. We don’t all have to sing it the same way. That’s what the folksingers can teach the politicians.
–Pete Seeger