Music Notes

Lord, Teach Me to Sing

There are many ways God has blessed my life but two of the biggest ones involve music—singing and teaching. I have sung opera, oratorio, and other concerts for several years in the United States and Europe. Even though the music I have primarily sung is classical, the type of music that blesses me the most is sacred music and the hymns of the church.

There have been many times when I was singing for a group of people in a concert or church and I could see that my singing was having an effect on the people there. One time my pastor asked me to sing an old hymn I had not heard or sung in a long time. I asked the pastor why in the world he would want me to sing such an old ‘War Horse’ like that, but that particular hymn was important to him. After I started to sing the hymn I noticed a young couple seated just in front of me with tears forming in their eyes. They came up to me after the service and expressed how much they were blessed by that hymn. When I sing in a situation like that, my prayer is always that my singing will be transparent so that people will see Jesus through me.  In turn, I am blessed when others are blessed through my singing. As I have mentioned before, there is great power in singing praises to God and anyone can experience this power.

The second major way God has blessed me is through the gift of teaching people to sing or to sing better. Some amazing voice teachers I studied with in New York and Southern California have greatly enhanced my gift as a voice teacher. One teacher I had in Los Angeles, Elizabeth Parham, I considered to have been a Master Voice Teacher. We would be in the middle of a lesson when she would stop and seem to stare into space. The first time that happened, I asked her if something was wrong. Elizabeth said that she was waiting for God to tell her what to tell me next. Since then, I have experienced this myself while teaching and the result has been amazing. Many times in a voice lesson, I have had the feeling that I am being given the words to tell a singer and I am often surprised how appropriate those words are for the occasion. I am grateful that God has given me the ability to quickly diagnose a vocal issue a singer may have and how to fix the problem.

Considering all the teachers I have worked with and all the singers I have known and heard, all the music I have heard and performed, all the work I have done on my own voice, and all the students I have taught, I consider it a privilege and a gift from God to pass along the things I have learned to people who want to learn these things.

The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher. Luke 6:40 NIV

Neil Breeden, Vocal Coach   – – 615-440-2263















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