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And click here for a compilation of musicals written by BIPOC Musical Theatre Creators.
- My Experience
- My Philosophy on Singing
- What's a Regular Lesson Like?
- Special Skills
- Diversity Statement
- Recommendations / Testimonials
I have been teaching privately and at the college level and privately for over 20 years. I love what I do, and believe there’s nothing more gratifying than collaborating with a singer to create more technical and artistic freedom. In addition to maintaining an active private studio, I have taught at the following institutions:
- NYU Steinhardt (2020 – Present)
- Wagner College (2019 – 2020)
- NYU Steinhardt Summer Contemporary Vocal & Musical Theatre Workshops
(Summer, 2018 – Present)
- Wagner College Summer Musical Theatre Institute (Summer, 2011 – 2019)
- Marymount Manhattan College (Fall, 2007 – 2017)
- Suffolk University (Spring, 2000)
- Northeastern University (1999-2000)
My job is to help singers more organically express themselves. I enable my clients to do this by balancing technical and dramatic approaches to a song. Having a solid technique is very important, but if you’re not telling a story when you sing, no one will be moved. The same is true of those who are great actors but don’t have the technique to support their storytelling. I make small adjustments to a singer’s breath, placement, and resonance while also talking about phrasing and the song’s emotional journey. The combination of these elements helps the singer find their own healthy and unique approach to a song.
Here are three elements I bring to every lesson I teach:
- Curiosity. A couple years ago, I came across a fantastic quote by Michael Smithson, a Social Scientist at Australia National University: “The larger the island of knowledge grows, the longer the shoreline – where knowledge meets ignorance – extends. The more we know, the more we can ask. Questions don’t give way to
answers as much as they proliferate together. Answers breed questions. Curiosity isn’t merely a static disposition but rather a passion of the mind that is ceaselessly earned and nurtured.” You deserve a voice teacher who continues to grow in knowledge with you. I strive to be that kind of teacher.
- Vulnerability. Singing is challenging and, at times, painfully vulnerable. Research professor and best-selling author Dr. Brené Brown states: “Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome.” As someone who continues to wrestle with his own issues as a performer, I seek to be a wounded healer, talking to clients about what’s standing in their way. Sometimes technical issues are rooted in a belief system that is deeply woven into our minds and bodies (e.g. “I’m not worthy of being heard”). I in no way attempt to act as an armchair psychologist but, through my own vulnerability, am able to ask you what’s holding you back.
- Mindfulness. If you want to be vulnerable, you must be mindful. It is my job to stay present with you as you work to overcome technical hurdles. I regularly practice mindfulness meditation and use those skills to strengthen my teaching. I have seen incredibly positive outcomes as a result.
I always suggest my clients come warmed up to their lessons, if possible. Having said that, we will always take time to work on what I’ve come to call “vocal conditioning.”
There are always technical exercises we can work on to strengthen our voice and find more release for consistency. I normally spend 20-25 minutes simply working on technical elements of singing. Then, we move into the material the client would like to look at. I always put the client in the driver’s seat, asking them what they hope to accomplish. My aim is to help them achieve those goals in the least amount of time possible. If clients don’t have repertoire in mind, I’m happy to suggest some after I’ve heard them sing. We then bring the work of the first half of the lesson to life in the song, helping the singer tell the story with more clarity. I will then be clear about how to move forward in practice to find consistency with the approaches we find work.
I also do repertoire coachings, which focus more on finding a wide variety of repertoire based on the client’s needs. My digital library is vast and I love finding songs that fit a client’s style and essence. There’s so much great (under-sung) repertoire out there that it’s a wonderful challenge to find just the right thing for a particular singer!
- Experienced pianist, vocal coach, and music director
- Balanced approach to finding and maintaining a healthy belt/mix
- Wide breadth of knowledge of musical theatre and pop/rock repertoire with a specialty in contemporary musical theatre
- Skilled audition coach
- Completed Rock the Audition Teacher Training (Summer, 2019)
I want you to know the work I am daily working to educate myself and find ways to be a better ally to my students and colleagues. Our current social climate demands a swift migration from reflection to action. Please click here to read my diversity statement.
“Coaches in NYC are a dime a dozen, but a coach like David is 1 in a million. David has a skilled understanding of the voice and its connection to the rest of the body that he imparts on his students. Producing a healthy sound that is uniquely my own has been a product of the work we have done together. The connection of the breath and awareness of the tension in my body has been a lesson that I’ve applied not only in my skill but also in my day to day routine. His lessons not only focus on technique, but also the connection of story through song. David is keenly aware and receptive of his students’ needs and guides the lesson in order to create the work and structure to meet those needs. Overall, the relationship and environment he creates in his lessons are safe, supportive, and inclusive. I highly recommended David to anyone who may be looking for a coach that will support you as a mentor, teacher, and cheerleader.” — Alvaro Francisco
“David completely restored my faith in myself and my ability to sing. Previously, I had studied with voice teachers who let me get away with bad vocal habits of ‘screlting’ past my break, my ‘passaggio’; so I never developed a healthy mix. Once I was in my late 20s and living in New York, it was clear that I had to retrain this part of my voice, but I couldn’t find a voice teacher who could help me. I was told, ‘you just have a big voice,’ however I was getting called back for roles that needed a belt-mix and I just couldn’t sing the material. I had basically lost all hope and I was about to give up…until I met David. Once I started working with David on unlocking my breath and healthy vocal technique, I immediately experienced vocal breakthrough. The training that he gives makes sense, I’m able to understand it and apply it. I always feel safe/well taken care of in David’s studio. He doesn’t teach vocal tricks, he gives you the tools so that you can achieve vocal freedom. When I first met David 3 years ago, I was discouraged, ashamed and insecure. Now, when I leave our voice lessons, I feel empowered and excited to ‘do the work.’ I don’t know where I would be without David – he gave me a gift. He gave me the hope to believe in myself again.” — Claire Hayner
“The best part about being David’s student is that I get to remain my own unique self while becoming a better singer! In lessons, David shows me how to take what I do well already, and improve upon it. Working with David, there is no judgment. That allows me to be an honest, vulnerable, open-to-making-mistakes-kind-of-singer, which is freeing — and that is when the good stuff starts to happen! The vocal warm-ups, exercises and techniques David shares seem custom-made just for me and my obstacle of the moment and, believe it or not, makes practicing at home less burdensome and more exciting! The truth is that David’s warmth, compassion and sincere desire to empower me to be better is real. I feel it. It’s working. And, wow, I am grateful.” — Diahanna Davidson
“David came into my life by Divine Intervention and I am so grateful! He is a wealth of knowledge and his teaching style is warm, practical, and so approachable. Since I began working with David, I’m singing healthier and feeling much more confident about my voice, especially in the audition room. I literally booked a Broadway show after my first session with him!” — Kelli Youngman
“For years I had a voice teacher and a vocal coach. With David, I have the gift of having a vocal coach who truly is an extraordinary voice teacher. Studying with David has been one of the best career decisions I’ve made in my 20+ years in the business. Having someone who understands vocal pedagogy and more importantly, my voice and loves what he does has been a game-changer. I now have the confidence to approach any genre of music, knowing that I have all the tools necessary to do so.” — Alexandra Foucard