Michael McGurk

Michael McGurk

"I went to study with Jane Kennedy, on the recommendation of a friend, for a specific reason. I was preparing to do a show and needed help placing notes a bit out of my range. Within one lesson these notes were already more open, resonant and confident. Within several more lessons Jane helped me realize the true potential of my voice. She gave me the skills I needed to work in musical theatre.

But Jane gave me something much more special than the ability to sing well at auditions and acquire work. She gave me back my imagination, which had become somewhat lost in the business that theatre and singing had become to me. Jane's strength as a teacher is not only to strengthen and improve technique, she has an incredible appreciation and understanding of lyrics. Through this combination, the singer is free to explore and be themselves. Jane Kennedy cares for her students as singers, artists and people. She truly is a gift!"

Michael McGurk has a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Musical Theater from The Boston Conservatory. His Broadway Credits include covering and performing the role of Tommy in THE MUSIC MAN. He will be seen in the stage version of the film THE WEDDING SINGER on Broadway in the Spring of 2006. Michael was in the First National Tour of DR. DOLITTLE playing the role of Jip and covering and performing the part of Mathew. Some of his Regional Theater credits include Barnaby in Hello Dolly, Mungojerrie in Cats, Mark in A Chorus Line, Baby John in West Side Story and Junior Babcock in Mame. He has been seen on Television in a featured part on One Life To Live and had a leading role in Deliver Us From Evil on HBO.

Protocols, Methods & Philosophy

The first session begins with the student singing a selection of their choice--something that they have prepared for me to hear that they feel comfortable with and that will demonstrate the best of their abilities. At its conclusion I articulate my assessment of their voice and the way in which it is used beginning with the things that I find pleasing and can compliment with my unquestionable support and acknowledgement. I then encourage the individual to express to me how they feel about their singing and what it is that they desire to accomplish and any other information that they wish to share about problems that they perceive that they wish to correct. I believe that the teaching that reinforces through a positive and affirming atmosphere is the most productive for progress and the establishment of mutual respect and a shared responsibility between the teacher and student. I then address the aspects of the technique and presentation that I feel are in need of improvement. Invariably these will correspond with the distresses that have been articulated by the singer. That phase of the evaluation leads to the experimentation into applying technical explanations through exercises to encourage the needed changes in mechanistic function and conceptual clarity. We then return to the song for the application of the change facilitated in the exercises.

Subsequent lessons begin with my asking the student how the work that they did on their own felt. I then proceed to the vocal exercises assigned at the previous lesson to correct an imbalance or awaken a new responsiveness. There ensues further exploration into the same issues or if the corrections have been successful another layer of function is revealed for exploration and reorganization. The second half of the lesson leaves the phase of vocal exercises and applies further examination of transformation through repertoire that brings into play more of the emotional nature and its content and availability. I believe that emotion or feeling is at the root of all singing and that it is emotional energy that drives the creative processes into expression through the body.

Raissa Dorf