My Background

Ali on the drum!
Though I've been singing for the sheer joy of it since I was young, my twenty years of formal voice study and performance began at San Francisco State University, where I received a Bachelor's degree in Music Education. While at SFSU, I sang in the University Chorus and Chamber Singers, both under the direction of Dr. Joshua Habermann. I have also taken private voice lessons with several teachers, most recently with Charlene Noland here in Sacramento.

The majority of my performance experience has been singing with choirs and in recitals. Ever a lover of musical theater, I was also a member of the ensemble cast in Lucy Simon's Secret Garden, produced at SFSU, and played April in Stephen Sondheim's "Company" with a small theater group in San Francisco. Currently, I am thrilled to be singing with the Sacramento Women's Chorus, under the direction of Robin Richie.

One of my most thrilling musical adventures has been teaching voice lessons in my home studio in the Sacramento area! I work hard to give to my students what my many wonderful voice teachers and musical directors have given me -- not only help developing musicianship and vocal technique, but also, and most importantly, a reminder me of why we sing: to connect to something in ourselves and others. Each voice is as special as the person possessing it. It's my goal to help my students discover how special they and their voices are...and we might even have a little fun in the process!

Why I Sing and Why I Teach Voice Lessons

How'd I get into music in the first place? Well I'm pretty sure the whole singing thing started when I was a baby. I remember my mom singing to me when she tucked me in at night, and I bet it's safe to say that started back before I can remember. My family used to sing in the car on the way to camping trips too, not to mention around the campfire once we got there! When it came to the holidays, I'd start humming Christmas carols around the beginning of October. By the time I was in high school, I was the one singing to my nieces and nephews at bedtime; and in the kitchen with my dad while we made dinner; and along with the radio; and, and... The point being that it was pretty darn hard to shut me up!

When it came to college, I knew I wanted to study music. The problem was, despite all the singing I'd done when I was younger, I didn't have any training -- I'd never even sung in a choir, let alone taken voice lessons! I gave up on the idea at first, but then took a couple of general ed classes in music. Then I decided maybe I'd take a minor in music. Then I thought I'd maaaaaaybe get a Bachelor of Arts degree. Then I switched to the much more intensive Bachelor of Music program.

It wasn't easy. Just about every last one of the other voice majors had a lot more experience and training than I did, and it didn't take long for me to realize that my only natural gift when it came to singing was how much I loved it. The first teacher from whom I took voice lessons lost his patience with me a lot. My second teacher spent many hours showing me how to be patient with myself. It took years before I passed the audition to get into the advanced choir, and forget about solos. It got to the point where I was thinking of quitting.

And then I took a class called simply, "The Voice". I studied the science of singing, how to take care of one's voice, and how to teach others to sing. I even had to teach voice lessons to someone else and keep a journal of the process.

It was in teaching voice lessons for the first time that I realized a few things. To begin with, I quickly saw that I had actually learned a thing or two that I could pass on. It also didn't take long to occur to me that I was pretty darn good with people, and I liked working one on one in a studio setting.

Actually, I absolutely loved it. My student had not only some of the same vocal issues that I had worked to overcome in my own singing, but some of the same insecurities, anxieties and frustrations as well! If learning to sing had come naturally to me -- if I hadn't needed to work through challenges of my own -- how could I have helped someone else do the same? If I hadn't learned to be patient with myself as I became a strong singer, how could I provide my students with a safe place to learn and grow? I'd finally realized that my love of singing really was a gift, and that teaching voice lessons was my true passion.

And that's why I sing and why I teach voice lessons -- purely and simply because both make me incredibly happy. I don't need to get into an exclusive choir or land a contract with an opera company to tell me that my voice is "good enough". Neither do my students. Some of them have performed with professional theater companies or been admitted to elite musical theater programs at top-notch universities. Others use their voices to entertain friends at dinner parties, or to make children feel safe and loved as they fall asleep at night. All of their voices are good enough. I'm just here to teach them healthy vocal technique, and to help them find joy in the process.