"I sing the praises of my voice teacher, Mary Ellen Callahan! After eight years now I continue to leave each lesson encouraged and having learned something new. She has remarkable creative energy and intelligence as a teacher. She's very tuned-into one's particular needs and is amazing at explaining how the voice works and how to make positive changes. My voice has improved a lot and she has the all-important knack of making it FUN!! Her students are very fortunate indeed."
~ Anne M. (chorus: New York Oratorio Society. Profession: psychiatrist.)
"I've been studying voice and sight-singing with MEC for over twelve years. What keeps me coming back is that working with her is so enjoyable. She helps me to feel more confident with the musical challenges I face. She has a beautiful voice and passes on what she has learned from her teachers to us. I don't always get everything right away, but she is so incredibly patient that I always make steady progress."
~ Kate E. (chorus: Renaissance Street Singers and Columbia/Barnard Community Chorus. Profession: author and English literature professor)
Mary Ellen Callahan maintains a busy teaching practice in her Manhattan studio, offering private voice and sightsinging lessons to both professionals and amateurs. She also gives solo and ensemble coaching, music theory instruction, and French, German and English diction coaching.<
General Teaching Style:
Mary Ellen Callahan has gained a reputation in New York as a very flexible, patient, and nurturing teacher. She adores teaching and therefore is very enthusiastic about helping people with their musical challenges. Her use of fun, humor and honesty and her unassuming manner put students at their ease. She helps people who thought they could never sing or read music to overcome their limitations and join choruses and sing solos, and helps experienced singers to set and reach new goals in fluency, quality and consistency.
Voice: Mary Ellen has a natural, relaxed approach to proper vocal technique, helping singers to release tension and to shape and hone their particular voice for maximum beauty and individuality.
Sightsinging: Using the ability people have to sing a scale, Mary Ellen helps beginning singers or those lacking confidence to learn to sightread tonally and intervalically. She also helps singers who have experience and confidence to sing better in tune, and to incorporate music theory into their singing, listening and ensemble work. In addition, she helps singers greatly improve their understanding, reading and execution of rhythms from simple to complicated, as well as helping them improve in the all-important skill of keeping a steady beat.
Solo and ensemble coaching
For both solo singers and small ensembles and choruses, Mary Ellen offers private coaching sessions. For soloists, she gives guidance on style and intonation, musicality, phrasing and diction, and dramatic interpretation and visual presentation to help a singer to be confidently prepared for a performance or audition. With small and large vocal ensembles, she works on blend, vowel sounds, rhythmic accuracy, intonation, phrasing and style to help the group achieve its best sound.
French, German, and English diction
Mary Ellen coaches singers and ensembles in French, German and English diction, using both intuitive (by ear) and technical (specifics on tongue and lip position) styles to best help each individual. Having lived in France, Mary Ellen is bilingual, and also gives lessons in French conversation.
With her real love for the "mathematics" or building blocks of music, Mary Ellen is a detailed, patient and enthusiastic teacher for music theory students. She has several favorite text books, and is also comfortable with a student's bringing his or her own text. She can greatly help the mystified beginner or the frustrated intermediate musician with general theory, modulations, and analysis.
Mary Ellen taught French classes in continuing education as well as private French tutoring in California for four years before moving to New York and loved every minute of it, and so did her students. In New York, she was employed for two years as a sightsinging teacher to music majors at Wagner College. In 1995, she opened her private studio, giving lessons of sightsinging, ear training, music theory and vocal technique, as well as French diction and private and ensemble song coaching. Since opening the studio, she has taught lessons to many people of all ages, both amateur and professional, sometimes helping individuals on a short term basis to get ready for specific choral or solo auditions, and sometimes giving lessons over a period of years, helping students to improve and maintain their overall musicianship and singing on an ongoing basis.