Westermark Voice Studio

Westermark Voice Studio Sara Westermark is a classical singer and voice teacher who committed to teaching and to preparing students achieve their dreams. Resource for my students and prospective students.

Operating as usual

We had our first recital in over a year. Everyone sang beautifully and had a good time while social distancing. (We whip...
08/29/2021

We had our first recital in over a year. Everyone sang beautifully and had a good time while social distancing. (We whipped off masks for a quick photo) We were able to get a group photo in the courtyard at St. James Episcopal Church. I’m very proud of their accomplishments over this past year.

We had our first recital in over a year. Everyone sang beautifully and had a good time while social distancing. (We whipped off masks for a quick photo) We were able to get a group photo in the courtyard at St. James Episcopal Church. I’m very proud of their accomplishments over this past year.

08/28/2021

Many think that a voice teacher's job is to show up, play some exercises, and then sing some songs - how hard can it be?

Oh-ho-ho.

If you only knew: the voice comes along with a mind, a temperament, and emotional baggage. If the voice is to be worked, the teacher must have a good grounding in establishing mental health and helping students overcome psychological obstacles as well. It's part of the job.

This is the teacher's emotional labor. And it's challenging for all of us. There is a lot of emotional labor that voice teachers do every single day. For many teachers they become overwhelmed, exhausted, or at worst, bitter from this kind of work.

This is why I don't teach a 40 hour work week. It's not the workload - it's carrying all those people's psychological states and holding that space for them throughout the week.

A teacher that is not aware of the impact that psychology has on the singing voice is working with half a human being. We bring our WHOLE SELVES to singing - or WE DON'T.

Many who cannot progress in study are limited by their mental states and thinking - NOT their innate talent or ability.

Much of what I do (beyond teaching voice) is:

1. Listening
2. Empathizing
3. Reframing
4. Cajoling
5. Cheerleading
6. Investigating
7. Assessing stressful thoughts
8. Laughing
9. Crying
10. And then teaching voice.

Voice teaching IS A KIND of rehabilitative therapy - physical AND psychological. Students who come in from previous experience tend to need to exorcise the demons of past instruction and experience. Often when difficult vocal issues 'release', the student will be awash in tears and a torrent of emotions may bubble to the surface. The voice teacher has to anticipate this.

Cornelius Reid wisely said, "Destroy the voice, destroy the psyche; restore the voice, restore the psyche."

This psychological labor has an effect on the teacher as well - especially a sympathetic one - and it is for this reason alone that I think voice teachers need to approach their workload in a similar way to a psychiatrist. For every student you need an hour of emotional recuperative time. That means the average FULL load for a teacher should probably be around 20 hours per week.

And did I mention that the voice teacher also should be under the care of a licensed therapist themselves? That goes without saying in my world.

04/14/2021

Beginning on Monday, April 19, 2021 I am reopening my studio for in-person voice lessons. I had my second vaccine over two weeks ago and so have all the members of my household (except for my youngest who is not yet eligible for a vaccine). Let me know if you are ready to switch from Zoom to In-person lessons. We will need to have some precautions in place. Everyone will wear masks. I will run an air purifier with UV light full time to keep the air clean and contagion free. Hans is finally installing barn doors to the voice studio, which he has promised to do for a couple years. I’m so excited to see you! I have a few select openings for new or returning students.

An independent study by Colorado University ranked these masks the best for keeping the singers respiratory particles co...
03/02/2021
NATS-TMF Vocal Performance Mask* BLACK | BLACK NATS-TMF Vocal Performance Mask*

An independent study by Colorado University ranked these masks the best for keeping the singers respiratory particles contained. I used this mask and found it allowed my jaw to move freely. I would recommend this mask for singers.

TMF Vocal Masks rated the safest by Colorado State University's mask aerosol containment study. *These are not medical grade Elastic ear loops Allows for full facial and jaw movement without compromising aerosol containment One side fits all filtered mask Can be used....

Today marks the beginning of Black History Month. Marian Anderson was a legendary contralto, civil rights activist, and ...
02/01/2021
Marian Anderson - Wikipedia

Today marks the beginning of Black History Month. Marian Anderson was a legendary contralto, civil rights activist, and one fine human. Read her Wikipedia entry—it’s very impressive. Who is your favorite Black musician and/or composer and why?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marian_Anderson

Marian Anderson (February 27, 1897 – April 8, 1993)[1] was an American contralto. She performed a wide range of music, from opera to spirituals. Anderson performed with renowned orchestras in major concert and recital venues throughout the United States and Europe between 1925 and 1965.

01/30/2021
bbc.in

I’ve known for quite sometime that the singing breath is deeper than everyday breathing. Here’s an interesting video of a singer helping long term Covid sufferers. https://bbc.in/3t4NeTt

I’m pleased to report that Zoom lessons are continuing and are going well. I miss working with everyone in person and I ...
01/09/2021

I’m pleased to report that Zoom lessons are continuing and are going well. I miss working with everyone in person and I look forward to a day when it is safe to begin “in person” lessons. Due to my ongoing battle with Lyme, (being compromised on the health front) I’m hoping to get a COVID19 vaccination sometime before summer. I’ll keep you posted on when I expect to phase out of Zoom lessons. 

I’ve been introducing Mozart Art Songs to my more advanced students and it’s been a fun journey. The youngest students are working through traditional folk songs and the Royal Conservatory of Music Voice Book Series. Everyone is making steady progress. I privately post learning videos weekly on YouTube tailored for each students’ learning.

Every week I’ve been drawing coloring sheets for my students to keep them engaged and give them something fun to expect in the mail. I try to invent ways to create joy during the pandemic. I’m using this time to be creative and to make art.

12/04/2020

I’m happy to report that Zoom lessons continue to be productive and I’m seeing great strides forward with my students. I have limited availability if you are new and would like to sign up, then me at 910 5475711 to inquire. Thanks! Sara Westermark

09/30/2020
UNC Department of Music

Sanya Shah is currently working on starting a Music Medicine group through the pre-health honors society (AED) in order to provide patients with the healing benefits of music. She studied with Sara Westermark for 8 years before joining Dr. Jeanne Fischer’s studio at the beginning college. Performance live Friday, October 2nd at 1pm EST. Follow link below!

The official page for the Department of Music at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Follow us on Twitter at @MusicAtUNC and Instagram at @uncmusic.

I’m so proud of my former student Sanya Shah who is doing great things at UNC Chapel Hill!!https://catalyze.simplecast.c...
09/29/2020
Sanya Shah ’22 on the life and legacy of composer Florence Price | Catalyze

I’m so proud of my former student Sanya Shah who is doing great things at UNC Chapel Hill!!

https://catalyze.simplecast.com/episodes/sanya-shah-22-on-the-life-and-legacy-of-composer-florence-price?fbclid=IwAR0miBduMxlkO4tnIkxr6sMCJijXQSwlnfurxwziulsKrMS40bft9J9gO_w

A performance by Sanya Shah ’22 will release this Friday, October 2, 2020, at 1 p.m. EDT through an online event hosted by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Department of Music and Arts Everywhere. Sanya (soprano) and UNC junior Lauren Ragsdale (mezzo-soprano) will perform the wo...

I am closely monitoring safety guidelines in my voice studio with COVID-19 with the latest research through the National...
05/30/2020
White House and CDC remove coronavirus warnings about choirs in faith guidance

I am closely monitoring safety guidelines in my voice studio with COVID-19 with the latest research through the National Association of Teacher’s of Singing organization. I am currently teaching all lessons online. I am monitoring the situation closely, and will resume in studio teaching as per latest research and NATS guidelines. Thanks for your continued support and patience!!

NATS Official Statement:
Our top priority is and will continue to be keeping our singers, directors, voice teachers, students, collaborative pianists, audience members and communities safe. Singers around the world are mourning the loss of lifting our collective voices together in song; we are eager to gather again. But our primary concern continues to be the safety and health of all involved.

In cooperation with our partners we are in the process of releasing a guide for our choruses and singing communities to help them through the process of a safe reopening. As a basis for that guide, we stand by the research as presented [in the May 5, 2020, webinar]. We are also supporting future research that will shed more light on COVID-19 and the performing arts, including singing. Allowing the research to be completed while maintaining our current status seems a reasonable path as this is a “low season” for many church choirs, community, university, and public school music groups. For that reason, our guidance to our singers, choruses and singing communities does not change based on the recently released information from the CDC.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/white-house-and-cdc-remove-coronavirus-warnings-about-choirs-in-faith-guidance/2020/05/28/5d9c526e-a117-11ea-9590-1858a893bd59_story.html

The guidelines are watered down despite evidence that singing may spread the virus.

04/29/2020

My students are learning early Italian Art Songs for the next concert, which will probably be virtual. I transcribed the chords to be played on the ukulele. This gives the song a lute-like quality. I’m proud to present Isabella, age 12 singing “Bella Porta di Rubini” by Andrea Falconieri. This version is from “La Flora, volume 3” edited by Knud Jeppesen.
Chords: G / C em am / F C / am dm D G dm a c#dim D / G F em D am C E7 A C G D G C D G /
(Slashes mean to repeat chord on a strum)

03/18/2020

As of today 3/18 all lessons will take place on Zoom. I’ll send each student an invite at our regular time

Let’s use this suspended time from the hustle and bustle of “normal life” to create something wonderful.
03/18/2020

Let’s use this suspended time from the hustle and bustle of “normal life” to create something wonderful.

03/14/2020

“Amor, Ch’attendi” by Giulio Caccini transcribed for ukulele
3/2 time signature
G-aG-FC-DG—C-Ga-d-E7-À—À—G—G—D—F—e-C-D-G—F—e-d-C-D-G—

03/14/2020

Dear Students and Parents of the Westermark Voice Studio, I am planning for the next six weeks and want to be prepared for COVID-19. I have sent invites to a meeting app (Zoom) which is free and I think will work for lessons for those unable to attend in person. My preference is to teach students in person. We will all need to do due diligence in hand washing and in disinfecting. I have paper towels available for after hand washing, hand sanitizer in the studio, and I disinfect surfaces daily. I will still be available for in-person lessons, but I wanted to have an option for video conference style lessons should that become necessary. If you are ill then please stay home and opt for a video lesson. All lessons will stay at your normal lesson time. Please contact me separately with any questions or concerns. 910-547-5711 Thanks so much for your support and patience with me as integrate something new into my teaching. Blessings, Sara

The NATS winners got to perform on the gorgeous  UNCG Theater stage. It’s a lovely hall for singing. Here’s one of my st...
02/17/2020

The NATS winners got to perform on the gorgeous UNCG Theater stage. It’s a lovely hall for singing. Here’s one of my students performing.

Congratulations to Bergen and Caroline for placing first in their category at the state level of the Student Auditions f...
02/16/2020

Congratulations to Bergen and Caroline for placing first in their category at the state level of the Student Auditions for NC Nats (National Association of Teachers of Singing)

I forgot to get photos of the students earlier so I made Graham pose with me before we left the building. I’m so proud o...
02/16/2020

I forgot to get photos of the students earlier so I made Graham pose with me before we left the building. I’m so proud of Elina, Graham, Sarah, Bergen, and Caroline for their hard work.

02/16/2020

Congratulations to Caroline Braza and Bergen Greer for placing First at NATS

Westermark Voice Studio
01/18/2020

Westermark Voice Studio

12/23/2019
12/14/2019
Christmas Portion Handel's Messiah & Hallelujah Chorus

Instead of caroling this year many of my students joined with Angela Burns at St. Andrews Covenant Presbyterian Church to sing Handel’s “Messiah”. We had great fun. Now you can listen to the performance! 115 member festival choir!! https://youtu.be/GliJ3246r1k

Festival Chorus, Chamber Orchestra and soloists perform the Christmas portion of Handel's Messiah at St. Andrews-Covenant Church in Wilmington NC.

10/28/2019
Going to have a mini concert here at home today featuring my students singing Baroque English Songs!!
10/12/2019

Going to have a mini concert here at home today featuring my students singing Baroque English Songs!!

10/11/2019
10/07/2019

Fun with Caroline and James in the studio-

09/27/2019
09/23/2019
Exciting to see students go on to have amazing opportunities in voice! Spencer Cherie DesChenes is working with famed pi...
06/29/2019

Exciting to see students go on to have amazing opportunities in voice! Spencer Cherie DesChenes is working with famed pianist and coach Martin Katz. Way to go Spencer!!

At the end the school year the students and I get together for a craft party. This year we invited James Mansfield to te...
06/16/2019

At the end the school year the students and I get together for a craft party. This year we invited James Mansfield to teach us more about Block printing with linoleum. So much fun—and new talent is revealed!!

The greatest joy in my life is teaching these young people. I couldn’t resist taking advantage of the gorgeous red flowe...
06/09/2019

The greatest joy in my life is teaching these young people. I couldn’t resist taking advantage of the gorgeous red flowers on Pentacost Sunday at St. James Episcopal Church.

Address

155 Wintergreen Rd
Wilmington, NC
28409

Opening Hours

Monday 2:30pm - 7pm
Wednesday 2:30pm - 7pm
Thursday 2:30pm - 7pm
Friday 2:30pm - 7pm

Telephone

(910) 547-5711

Products

Weekly individual and personalized voice lessons of 30 minutes, 45 minutes, or 60 minutes increments.

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My Voice Studio

I have been teaching students for the past 25 years, and I love to see my students excel while falling in love with Classical music. I teach voice using multiple modalities to best suit each student’s learning style. I incorporate yoga, physical therapy, and exercise equipment to teach different concepts to the students. The students give concerts 2-3 times a year, compete in The National Association Student Auditions, and get recruited by the top music conservatories and colleges.

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