Victoria Rapanan, " The Vocal Savior "
I'm so blessed to have met this sincere, honest and talented voice teacher with a perfect ear for the sound of the singer. Honestly, she's the most sincere voice teacher I have ever met in my whole life in studying singing. She is not only a teacher, but also a good voice doctor for me, who is always finding the best medicine ( or what we call vocal technique ) for the voice problem in every individual singer. Before, I didn't believe that the voice could change in a short time. But in a short time, with her powerful and simple exercises, I overcame my throaty sound on my weak vowels. Besides that, she cured my tongue tension, which I think is the problem for most singers. A lot of voice teachers can tell what the vocal problems are, but can never give solutions. Ms. Rapanan is like a book of knowledge in voice. There are a lot of voice teachers that do not help with improvement in your voice, and sometimes they create vocal problems....We cannot repay for the patience , sincerity and knowledge in singing that she gave to us. She's a voice angel and savior for us. More power, Mam Victoria!!!
Eugene Eustaquio of Bangkok, Thailand
Lyric Tenor, Voice Teacher
Choral Director of Bangkok Music Society, Music Director of Play Act Academy of Performing Arts, Sarasas Bilingual School, Bangkok Thailand. Also a performer with Bangkok Opera Chorus, Bangkok Community Theatre and NUNI Productions.
In my time studying with Victoria, I have seen drastic improvement in my vocal abilities. This includes improvements in range, tone, flexibility, dynamics and more. My improvement in range has been especially noticeable. When I began working with Victoria, I had difficulty hitting anything over an E5 with vibrato. Now, I can hit that note with ease, and have sustained up to a B flat 5 with vibrato! And this is after studying with Victoria for less than a year.
I attribute my wonderful progress to Victoria's vast knowledge of how the voice works an instrument. She comes up with wonderful exercises that really help you achieve your vocal goals. By participating in a group course as well as private lessons, I can also attest to her knowledge of various vocal styles, including classical, pop, jazz and Broadway.
Lorraine Hoey, Lyric Mezzo-soprano
1st Place Winner - SFBAC NATS Adult Avocational Category, Female Division
I attended Victoria's Master Class in Bangkok and also took private lessons. I must say, I've never had such an effective set of lessons in my life! The lessons gave me such a clarity and logic in furthering my vocal technique. And yes, the results were immediately visible. The way Victoria dissected my singing was very fascinating. Firstly, she analyzes the performance and explains why certain 'bad' things are happening. Then she shows you exactly what to do in order to avoid the problems, and gives you a solution. For chronic problems, she prescribes some exercises to work on. In my case, several exercises were recommended in order to get rid of my persistent tongue tension. Her teaching has helped me to gain a much deeper insight into the music, which leads to better vocal performance. Since I had her lessons, I enjoy singing a lot more! I thank her also for helping me win the 4th prize at the Osaka International Music Competition! I think every singer should take a lesson from Victoria. I cannot wait to work with her again soon.
Ayano Schramm-Kimura, Lyric Mezzo-soprano
4th Place Winner - Osaka International Music Competition
Working with Victoria has given me the tools and skills to finally feel confident in my singing. Her careful attention to detail and attunement to each individual singer fosters a unique, authentic, and healthy vocal production and color in each of her students. Victoria brings a natural and easy-going approach to her work, helping her students feel comfortable in their growing process. Her dedication to supporting and challenging her students has, in my experience, helped me reach vocal goals more quickly and fully than I'd expected. Her warm demeanor sets a safe space in lessons to stumble around new exercises and repertoire while also encouraging students to try again and keep practicing. She is dedicated to cultivating a sense of "technique-in-context" that does not neglect the importance of artistic expression, and she offers a broad range of musical styles in her teaching with which to channel such expression--from opera to jazz to pop. And as if all of this wasn't enough, Victoria is constantly invested in providing her students with professional quality performance opportunities as well as networking and singing gigs throughout the greater Bay Area. If you're looking to gain clarity and consistency in your technique and a deepening of your understanding of how you can uniquely express yourself through the art of singing, Victoria Rapanan is the teacher for you!
1st Place Winner - SFBAC NATS Competition, Avocational Division
Winner - SFBAC NATS Edwin Barlow Award
I have worked with several voice teachers over the course of fifteen years, and Victoria is the best I have had. I have made a great deal of progress in the past 2 1/2 years while working with Victoria. Not only have I solidified my vocal technique, but I also have a much better sense of my vocal strengths and weaknesses. Her technical expertise, artistic sensitivity, and commitment to her students’ progress make her one of a kind. Victoria has high expectations for her students, and she helps them to meet them. I heartily recommend her to singers of all levels and ages.
Sarita Cannon, Soprano
2nd place winner - SFBAC NATS Competition, Art Song
I have been a student of Victoria's since February, 2008. I have never had any singing lessons before training with her, although I have been told by many that I have a lovely singing voice. I've always enjoyed singing and after learning the proper vocal techniques from Victoria, I'm amazed at the sounds and tonal quality I can achieve. When I started, I had a bad habit of "pressing" or "squeezing" my larynx. I would quickly become tired and my throat would be sore. With Victoria’s help, I have made great progress in this area. Besides private lessons, I have taken several Vocal Intensive classes with Victoria where you work on a song in class for six weeks and on the seventh week perform in front of an audience. This has helped me overcome stage fright (somewhat), but also comport myself in a thoroughly professional manner. (*note from Victoria Rapanan: Aimee is being very modest! See her award below!)
Aimee Pratt, Mezzo-soprano
1st Place Winner - SFBAC NATS Competition, Late Bloomers division
1st Place Winner - SFBAC NATS Competition, Adult Avocational division
Together with my wife Aimee, I have been studying with Victoria since February, 2008. For years, I have been told that I ‘have a radio voice’ and should be making my living in this field. However, my singing voice was weak. Worse yet, I had no idea as to what I should try to sing, what ‘my voice’ was. Victoria changed all that. She very quickly identified my voice type and we immediately began a course of study that fit me. As I am sure is the case with most singers, I go through alternating periods of elation and frustration as I work to improve. But I never cease to be amazed at how accurate a diagnostician Victoria is. She has an uncanny ability to zero in on the root, or core, of an issue you are dealing with and then design a healthy, productive approach to help you progress.
1st Place Winner - SFBAC NATS Competition, Late Bloomers division
1st Place Winner - SFBAC NATS Competition, Adult Avocational division
I have been working with Victoria for 3 years now and she has helped me so much! I came to her vocal studio with intonation issues and I couldn't hit my high notes as well as I knew I could. Ever since I started working with her, my intonation issue is gone and my high notes have blossomed, all thanks to her. She's also one of the most hard working and dedicated teachers I've ever met. She goes above and beyond for her students and I love that about her.
2nd Place Winner - SFBAC NATS Competition, American Songbook-Jazz-Pop-Contemporary division
For the past two and a half years, Victoria has helped me improve my support, vocal technique, and range, among other things. She is a brilliant teacher and is greatly excited to help her students improve their voices and overall performance. She is very funny, has an absolutely beautiful voice, and I look forward to working with her for many more years.
Jennifer McFarlane, Soprano, Age 13
1st Place Winner - SFBAC NATS Competition, Musical Theater
1st Place Winner: NATS Cal-Western Regional Competition, Musical Theater
Honorable Mention - SFBAC NATS Competition, Classical
Winner - Orinda Idol
It's been almost 2 years since I found Victoria Rapanan's vocal studio and I couldn't be happier with her as my vocal teacher. I can say for sure that my voice has dramatically improved vocally since then. Victoria is highly experienced as a teacher and as a singer/ performer. I attend both - private and group vocal lessons and I can see how Victoria's intuition and personal approach helps people to have constant improvement and master excellence of their vocal abilities. What I like the most about her is that she didn't stop her own study and learning in music and vocal journey, and she constantly improves her skills and knowledge through practice of new musical genres. I highly recommend Victoria as a vocal teacher to anyone with any level of singing!
2nd Place Winner - SFBAC NATS Competition, Adult Avocational Division
3rd Place Winner: NATS Cal-Western Regional Competition, Adult Avocational Division
I cannot fully express my gratitude for having had the opportunity to attend Victoria Rapanan's master class and take private lessons too. I am so happy that I took the effort to record those sessions. This is one tool that I have been using everyday in order to perform the simple but specific exercises she taught me to overcome the one obstacle to my beautiful singing. At first I thought to myself, "I just do not see any changes yet after a few days", but I did it everyday just the same. One day, after about 14 days of doing those exercises consistently, I was surprised to hear a more resonant sound in my own voice with less effort on my part. I started feeling the power that I have sought for a very long time. This is just the beginning and it is making me very excited and inspired to sing even more. This "miracle" could not have come at a more perfect time since my first solo recital in Bangkok is coming up in three months.
I do believe that Victoria Rapanan is not just one gifted voice teacher, but that she is also sincere and genuinely interested in her students. These same qualities are obviously expressed when she teaches. Thank you so much, Victoria!
Bles Chavez-Bernstein, Lyric Coloratura Soprano
Soloist - Bangkok Music Society and Bangkok Opera
Victoria Rapanan is the only voice teacher in the area that I know of with her level of expertise in vocal technique, as well as performance. I have studied with her for the past 6 years. Understanding the nature of the ever evolving vocal instrument, she herself studies under master vocal technicians, such as Maestro David Jones. A true professional, Victoria continues to perform, as well as maintain a successful voice studio. She has an impeccable ear for what a student’s strengths and weaknesses are, and knows numerous techniques and exercises to attain the potential of one’s voice. Having hit some roadblocks in my studies prior to studying with Victoria, I have made new discoveries and strides under her guidance.
Sandra Peter, Mezzo-Soprano, Choral Director
Victoria has changed my life! Prior to beginning study with her I had little classical training, competition, or performance experience. Over the past two years, beginning as a high school sophomore and now moving into my senior year, my love for music has blossomed! Due to Victoria immediately reinforcing the proper technique and repertoire for my voice I will be studying with the National Opera Institute in Washington DC, and apprenticing with the Resonanz Albany Singer Festival Program in Albany, NY this summer ! Additionally, without her I never would have become a Finalist for the Classical Singer High School International Competition, 3rd place scholarship winner with the eTUDE Club of Berkeley, placed twice and received the Page Swift Most Promising Younger Singer Award with the National Association of Teachers of Singing, nor won 1st place with the Contra Costa Performing Arts Society scholarship competition. Victoria Rapanan is the most encouraging and gracious vocal coach I have studied with and I look forward to continuing my studies with her long into my college and professional career.
Samantha Smith, Soprano, age 17
Winner - numerous awards, see above
*Update: Samantha also won 1st Place in SFBAC NATS Competition in Aria and Art Song divisions, and 2nd Place in Musical Theater
I have found working with Victoria a real joy. Her knowledge of technique, her ability to instantly hear problems and fix them, and her clear and concise vocabulary have really improved my singing in the past year. I feel very fortunate to have found a voice teacher who is not only good at what she does, but who loves to teach, and is sincerely interested in and supportive of her students and their careers. The combination of these is quite rare indeed.
Maria Mikheyenko, Lyric Coloratura Soprano
1st place winner - SFBAC NATS Competition, Art Song Division; 2nd Place - NATS Aria Division
I think you work miracles with your singers and what you get them to produce is absolutely superb...first-class. I say that in the context of having been the Chief External Examiner at the Guildhall School of Music in London for the past decade. Ever since the last recital, I have found myself almost daily reflecting on the experience and full of such happiness. You have no idea how much pleasure your students and you yourself gave me with their performances in every respect. I cannot remember when I have experienced such a lovely atmosphere. You know, as far as I am concerned, this is what music is about and music should be. Hats off to you; I am full of admiration.
Emeritus Professor Rosamond McGuinness, Department of Music Royal Holloway, University of London
When I began studying with Victoria, I was the typical baritone that pushed to compensate for poor technique. This, of course, would lead to hoarseness and vocal fatigue. Through a series of well thought out exercises and a lot of patience, she has helped me over this hurdle, and in the process, opened up some top notes that I never knew I had.
Tim Pettibone, Lyric Tenor
Victoria transformed my voice from a breathy, unbalanced tone into a full, rich sound, like a caterpillar into a butterfly. Before I met her, I was paralyzed with fear and had no confidence when singing. She discovered my true voice that I never knew I had. My goal was to learn proper breathing technique and gain more confidence singing folk songs. And here I am now, 1 year later, singing arias from Carmen! Thank you, Victoria!
Helena Safarova, Dramatic Mezzo-Soprano
2nd Place Winner - SFBAC NATS Competition, Late Bloomers
I cannot say enough about how much I have learned from Victoria’s vocal techniques and her teaching style. I only wish I had started lessons with Victoria sooner. I’ve had to unlearn bad habits I was taught by previous voice teachers, and learn singing techniques that I was never taught, that have made an incredible and positive difference in my singing. Her commitment to teaching, providing opportunities to sing, and helping singers reach their potential is unsurpassed.
Karen Yanagisako, Soprano Leggiero-Lirico
As a professional accompanist, voice coach, and fellow voice teacher, I can say how much I have enjoyed assisting Victoria with her studio periodically over the last several years. The rapid and continuous progress which I have seen in her studio is evidence of her sound knowledge of vocal technique and her love of imparting it to her students. She is the best kind of teacher: one who is actively improving her knowledge of the art through her own ongoing study with the finest teachers and coaches.
Tyler Scott Lincoln - Vocal Coach, Voice Teacher, Accompanist
Victoria Rapanan is excited about teaching! She continually leads her students to new levels by providing new ideas, while improving upon skills already introduced. She is wonderfully positive and supportive.
Chun Mei Wilson, Vocal Coach and Accompanist
I have been a student of Victoria Rapanan since 2002, and am still enjoying every minute of it! Whether you are a hobbyist or professional singer, whether you sing opera, classical or Broadway, you owe it to yourself to work with her. You can be 16 or 80 years old - age is not a barrier. It is the desire to sing that is of importance. Even if you are shy or have great fear of performing in public, she is there to help, and before you know it, you are singing like a pro and loving it! She never pushes, although she challenges her students. Victoria never stops learning new and scientific methods and imparts it to her students. Singing and the teaching of it is her life. She is patient, communicates well, and is a firm, but compassionate person.
Virgil Siacunco, Dramatic Tenor
2nd Place Winner - SFBAC NATS Competition, Late Bloomers
Victoria has been my opera teacher for the past 3 1/2 years. I have seen great improvement in my voice. My high notes have become strong and powerful. My middle and lower voice have shown great improvement. Victoria gives us stage experience with “Studio Nights” and concerts in a beautiful church. She is a very kind and honest person. I highly recommend Victoria to anyone who wants to improve his/her singing voice.
Kamilla Stendahl, Lyrico Spinto Soprano
I had some private voice training before studying with Victoria, but I would usually get a sore throat and the teacher would not correct my problem. I just assumed that sore throats were part of the training. However, in a short period of time, Victoria corrected this and I no longer get sore throats. Also, I can now sing with a full voice, instead of a weak voice that depends on a microphone. I greatly appreciate her corrections in the private lessons. It hurts the ego though. LOL.
Warren Yee, Lyric Baritone
Using the vocal techniques I have learned through working with Victoria Rapanan, my range has increased, my stamina has improved and my throat no longer hurts after singing. Plus, her knowledge combined with her obvious devotion to her craft is inspiring.
Matt Futterman, Tenor
Victoria is a gifted and passionate teacher. She has the perfect balance of praising the student’s strengths, while gently facilitating the correction of weaknesses. She meets every student where they are, and builds them up from there. Victoria has a way of explaining vocal technique in a manner that meets the student’s learning style. Her approach almost guarantees improvement with every lesson.
Terese McGregor, Soprano
My first experience with any type of vocal training was when I took one of Victoria’s basic singing classes. From there, I became involved in one of Victoria’s weekly group programs. Those experiences have inspired me to make singing a permanent part of my life.
Jeff Miller, Tenor
As a beginning student, I have spent years as a casual soprano in various chorus and church choirs. Yet this teacher, without making you feel self conscious, encourages strength, clarity and the challenge of learning the truth about singing well. I have only participated in 1 course of instruction, but plan on many more, as she expertly coaxes the pure “Joy of Singing” in my heart and from my being.
Sandy Jones, Soprano (a current member of the John Muir/ Mt. Diablo Health Systems Volunteer Chorus)
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