Voice Teacher; Artist Teacher; Mixed Choir Director: Connecticut Children's Chorus
HCD Music, VocalThe Hartt School
DMA, University of Connecticut
MM, The Hartt School, University of Hartford
BA, Brandeis University
Dr. Lisabeth Miller has been teaching voice in the greater Hartford, CT area for over fifteen years. She teaches vocal literature and is artist teacher of voice at the Hartt School. She has also taught voice lessons and music courses at the University of St. Joseph, the University of Connecticut, Manchester Community College, Naugatuck Valley Community College, Loomis Chaffee School, the Community School of the Arts at the University of Connecticut, and New England Music Camp.
Her students have been winners of the Musical Club of Hartford competition, accepted to the Ensign Darling Fellowship program at the Bushnell, and are regularly seen in the Northern and Eastern Regional and All-State choirs. Her students have also been accepted to study voice performance in college programs such as Oberlin Conservatory, the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami, Carnegie Mellon University, The University of North Carolina Greensboro, Westminster Choir College, The Hartt School of Music, The University of Connecticut, The University of Maryland, Hofstra University, Western Connecticut State University and Syracuse University.
Dr. Miller is in demand as a guest clinician. She has recently given masterclasses for voice students at the Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University in Columbus, Georgia, the Hartt School vocal honors award winners, Troy University in Troy, Alabama, and Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana.
As a performer, Lisabeth Miller is sought after for her musically sensitive and dramatically compelling performances on both the opera and concert stages. Recent performances include appearances with Opera Connecticut, Hartford Opera Theater, the Farmington Valley Symphony, the West End String Quartet, the Snow Pond Symphony, the Farmington Valley Chorale, the CT Doctors' Orchestra, the Nutmeg Symphony, the Waterbury Chorale, and the Edgewater Duo. A fierce advocate for new music and contemporary composers, Miller was instrumental in the founding of Hartford Opera Theater’s New in November festival in 2010. Since 2010, she has sung in operas by David Wolfson, Tom Cipullo, Steven Serpa, Chen Zhangyi, Jerome Kurtenbach, and Daniel Morel. In 2017 she sang the roles of Donna, Jennifer, and Holly in Hartford Opera Theater’s world premiere production of The Faith Operas by David Wolfson, and was invited to give a recital for the 21st century music series at the Prosser Library in Bloomfield.
Dr. Miller earned her Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Connecticut as a student of vocal pedagogy authority Dr. Constance Rock. Her dissertation is entitled "A Lyric Soprano in Handel's London: A Vocal Portrait of Francesca Cuzzoni." She also holds a master of music degree in voice performance from the Hartt School of Music and a B.A. in music from Brandeis University. In addition to her teaching responsibilities at the Hartt School, she is director of music at Old St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, serves on the voice and conducting faculties of New England Music Camp, and artistic director of Hartford Opera Theater.
As an artist and a scholar, I have always been fascinated by stories. From complex opera characters to the anonymous narrators of countless art songs, I believe that connection to text, character, history, and style is essential to a successful performance. Whether I’m teaching a private voice lesson, or in the classroom, I believe that seeking out the stories behind the music is both important and exciting. My favorite moments in teaching happen when there is an opportunity to delve into the stories of characters, composers and the historical eras in which they lived and worked, and discover how those stories influenced musical style, pedagogy, and interpretation.
As an experienced teacher, I have found that there is no one-size-fits-all method, but rather that by understanding and respecting my students’ perspectives and backgrounds, I am able to tailor my approach to teaching based on the needs of both individual students and groups. Customizing my approach has been both a pleasure and a necessity during my teaching career as I have taught both private lessons at courses at both the community college level as well as in more traditional four year undergraduate programs. I have found working with students at all levels to be rewarding, and the opportunity to use my skills to make music accessible and compelling across a diverse cross-section of the universities’ populations to be both challenging and fulfilling.
The study of voice is a rich, rewarding, and multi-faceted discipline. Each student’s instrument is unique and the journey requires close collaboration between teacher and student. In my teaching I focus not only on the physical placement and technique required to produce beautiful sound, but also on the intellectual and emotional connection to the work. As a teacher, it is my job to give each student the tools they need to cultivate their best possible singing technique, to help them hone and shape those tools to reveal and refine their individual artistry, and to encourage them to confidently use these tools change enrich our world through skilled artistic creation.
In the private studio, the core components of my teaching, and thus the tools that I endeavor to help my students develop are as follows: A balanced, well-aligned, and tension free posture because an open, attractive, and clear sound begins with physical freedom. I often begin lessons with a stretching routine designed to free the body of physical tensions, recognize specific obstacles the student may be facing on a given day, and help establish mental and emotional focus for the lesson. Breath management and support because breathing for singing is perhaps the most important, yet most misunderstood element of studying voice. I combine a thorough explanation of the specific physiology of inhalation and expiration with demonstrations, and use of descriptive imagery to help students understand how to best breathe for singing. An open throat and lifted palatal placement because in order to achieve a unified vocal registration, consistent resonance, and a healthy technique, a student must learn to sing with a consistently open throat and lowered laryngeal position that relieves the vocal cords of tension. This also helps with the correction of many common vocal faults by eliminating some of the chief causes of intonation issues, nasality, and inconsistent presence between vocal registers.
Finally, I endeavor to create a respectful, positive, and encouraging environment so that I may foster trust with my students and give them space to explore and try new things. Likewise in the classroom I strive to cultivate an upbeat, safe, and supportive atmosphere where students can feel free to make bold choices, ask important questions, and learn from each other’s stories as well as my own. Art cannot be created when students feel judged, stifled, and tense. My goal is to excite students about repertoire, music history, and pedagogy. Most of all, I hope that students will leave my classroom with an understanding of technical tools, and an appreciation for stories at they’ve learned as well as the courage to apply them in their own practice and performances.