DYV Students: Student Spotlight Interview No. 8

March 3, 2014


In the past, I’ve warned couples who want to take voice lessons together that it is often best to start by yourself. Why? Well, it gives you a safer space to experiment and explore without worrying what someone (other than me) thinks. Well, Nicole and David are an exception to that rule. They have committed to lessons as a couple and they are having a great time doing it. Additionally, as a teacher it can be fun to have someone else in the room to affirm the changes that are taking place. Anyway, let’s hear a bit more from them about their experience!

Davin: Nicole and David! This is my first duo interview. Tell me a bit about the two of you… what you do for work? where your from? Nicole, you go first?

Nicole: I’m from an assortment of places. Born in China and have lived in Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania and came to the University of Chicago for college. I have been in Chicago since! I am an algorithmic options trader. 

David: I’m from sunny Los Angeles, CA and moved here to Chicago to work as an algorithmic trader a few years ago after graduating college in the bay area.

Davin: So, why take voice lessons together? What was the idea behind that?

Nicole: Well I’ve wanted to take voice lessons since I was younger, but I was already studying the violin and I didn’t want my parents to spend the extra money on voice lessons. Now that I am older and have the free time, I decided it would be fun to pursue voice lessons at last! 

David: We like to do hobbies together, and we have always enjoyed karaoking. One of the first fun times we had together before we dated was at karaoke. So, we thought we could take lessons and eventually be able to sing together.

Davin: How has it been so far? Are you ever nervous to know what the other is thinking?

Nicole: Well, in general, it’s been great so far! I definitely was nervous in my beginning lessons. It wasn’t even a conscious nervous, it was more like my body just revolted against me, and before I even knew it, my face was red, I’m sweating and my voice is cracking. The nervousness stems from standing in front of someone and singing, even though I feel that it won’t be good. Having David there actually is soothing more than nerve wracking. I know he is there to support me, and we’re enduring the journey together!

David: The lessons have been really great and helpful. I do sometimes get nervous for the lessons but it’s not because I’m worried about what Nicole is thinking - it’s more the anticipation of being evaluated and receiving feedback on the spot. 

Davin: Have there been any surprises in this process?

Nicole: I was surprised that I had a larger range than I thought. I am very comfortable in the lower range, but it is nice to work on and strengthen the higher parts of my registry. Also, I’ve come to realize that a lot of it is a mental game against yourself. You really have to commit yourself to the note and just take a leap of faith to make the sound happen. 

David: I’m also pleasantly surprised that Nicole could get to all those high notes! For me, I notice things about myself that I normally wouldn’t notice - the way I breathe, the way I stand, or my chin position. It’s interesting to see how that affects my voice and tone.

Davin: I know that karaoke is a goal (which you’ve already achieved!) but are there any other general singing goals for either of you?

Nicole: I have good pitch because I played the violin for 10 years. My main goal is to strengthen my voice in my upper registry, project my voice more, and make the transition from my chest voice to head voice smoother. Lastly, I’d like to not be so scared of singing in front of people!

David: I would like to improve my breathing and elongation of my notes, as well as maintaining my pitch and increasing my range. In the end, I just enjoy a good hobby that the two of us can do together, and requires nothing but our voices and imagination, allowing us to appreciate life just a bit more.

Davin: Thanks to the both of you! Looking forward to more singing.

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DYV Students: Student Spotlight Interview No. 8