ANNIE'S TEACHING PHILOSOPHY
While I continually learn from my students and colleagues, the primary goal of my teaching remains the same: to help the singer find a vocal technique that allows full artistic expression through his or her voice, personality, and experiences.
In my studio, my philosophy is to create an environment that promotes enthusiasm, life-long learning, connections to the real world, organized study, confidence building, and self-accountability for both student and teacher.
My goal is to create a balance between the pedagogical and the “natural”. My teaching style leads the singer to an understanding of his or her instrument on two levels: first, the mechanics of healthy vocal function, and second, application of that understanding with kinesthetic awareness to develop a solid foundation for technique.
I work to instill in my students not only a firm grasp of vocal technique, but also an awareness of the crucial importance of complete preparation: detailed research, self-assessments in mental, technical, and physical skills, practice strategies, and career plans. I believe it is vital to develop a beautiful tone, achieved by singing freely, both physically and with an integrated, authentic, and expressive artistic interpretation.
My most influential mentors include Susan Clickner, Margo Garrett, John Moriarty, Susan Dunne (my high school math teacher), and John Wustman. The practical knowledge they selflessly shared helped me build a lasting foundation as a singer, teacher, and person, and their lessons are often with me.
Among the many pedagogues I respect, I’ve always enjoyed the writings of Richard Miller. I appreciate his simple, yet thorough approach to explaining the human voice. Also, I enjoy the work of W. Stephen Smith. His work focuses on examining vocal technique from different perspectives, in his case, the speaking voice. It’s refreshing to see someone take risks and think outside the norm, all while producing tangible, successful results. I applaud his thought and spirit, and strive to do the same in my own teaching. Lastly, I have recently become interested in the work of Ingo Titze. I have been exploring the use of straw phonation in my own studio, and I have found that even this one influence from vocology can allow a student to feel various parts of the vocal mechanism and experiment with pressure, both good and bad.
Knowing through experience the profound impact that one good teacher can have on a student’s development, I strive to incorporate my teaching beliefs, principles and interests into both my day-to-day routines and my teaching plan.
My mission is to help my students communicate and share their love of singing, so that this important art form and its lineage continue.
WHAT IS ANNIE'S MOST AMAZING SUPERPOWER?
Annie Picard is an incredibly dedicated teacher. She connects with her students on a very real level, and helps propel them through not only the unfolding of themselves as singers, but also as humans. She has deep empathy and a sincere desire to see her students succeed. My years studying voice with Annie have remained with me long after my college years as some of the most breakthrough moments of my life.
BECKI KLAUSS | NPU 2000-03
Annie's most amazing superpower is her ability to see the future. What this means is, while teaching she hears a singer's true voice hidden underneath years of tension or lack of technique. This superpower is so amazing because each singer's true voice is completely unique which means Annie's teaching has to be so specific for every single student.
COREY LOVELACE | BM 2009, NPU | MM 2012, DePaul University
Annie has been my only voice teacher. She takes the time to listen to students and to build the voice. It has been several years since I started with her and I can say that the slow and steady work has paid off. Annie carefully works to connect the air and body to create a dynamic relationship, allowing the breath to activate the sound while the whole body is freely engaged. I love how efficient the result is, and how I know exactly what I'm doing when I sing. Annie is so giving of her knowledge that it allows her students to become their own teacher.
SEAN STANTON | BM 2011, NPU | MM Candidate, NPU
Annie’s most amazing superpower is her ESPE (quite similar to ESP, but it stands for Especially Super-Powered Ears). With it, she has the ability to hear and to precisely pinpoint the root of a problem. For example, we will be singing through a series of exercises, and I might think, “my tongue felt tight on that third note.” We’ll stop, and Annie will immediately respond with, “be careful of your tongue getting tight on that third note.” Each lesson is specific to each student because Annie gives so much of her energy and attention to every detail. This level of dedication and investment into each singer isn't easy to find in a teacher and is why Annie makes such a difference in the lives of her students.
ALEXANDRA PLATTOS SULACK | BA 2011, University of Illinois-Chicago | MM 2014, NPU
Annie Picard's teaching is, in the truest sense, thoughtful, driven and full of dynamic energy. Through our study together, I have experienced her incredible intuition for both my vocal mechanism and emotional stability as a musician. Her technique is clear, correct and extremely effective for both body and soul. She not only assists in vocal progress but she also assists in your life as an artist, helping each student find their way and letting their true voice shine free and unrestrained.
HANNAH THOMPSON | BM 2011, CCPA at Roosevelt University | MM 2015, NPU