What students are saying....
Tristan Robben – Master Teacher
Learning how to sing with the diaphragm (i.e. breathing correctly) while having a working knowledge of how to employ your tonal resonance cavities can and will produce a beautiful, impressive voice. There are voice teachers out there who actually seem to be aware of these facts, in some shape or other, but, surprisingly enough, few who seem to know how to do it correctly. Vismaya is one of those few. She has primarily taught me voice, but, in the process, has greatly improved my diction, acting, and musical skills. I would highly recommend her for all of the above.
Ellen Yeung – Great Experience
I am not a beginning singer. I engaged Vismaya for coaching sessions when I was assigned a major role in an opera with a community group and her patience, support and musicianship got me through. Under her continued tutelage, I worked with familiar songs/arias and explored new music, improved my intonation, flexibility and sonority. Her coaching has led me to re-interpret and sing with different phrasing and nuances songs I have learned years ago. I have been with Vismaya for three enjoyable years and it has been a great experience.
Cassandra Sciortino – Acts of Discovery – Meet your Voice!
I sing in a choir dedicated to the Traditional Latin Mass and early music polyphony and also play Baroque flute and harp. After only a few classes with Vismaya, I felt I had just met a voice I never knew and wished I had met sooner. Vismaya has a stunningly simple and beautiful lesson to teach in her first class: welcome to your body, your instrument. Let us get to know it and how to use it. Your head is a resonance chamber, with its particular shape and cavities creating your sound; your vocal chords, your chest and the distance from your diaphragm up into your head are all factors that shape your voice. Her approach is to begin by teaching the perils of trying to sound like someone else or sounding how we think we “should” sound. She wants us to find the fullest and most beautiful sound our body can produce. With me she is dedicated to classical singing and I can’t really imagine her teaching any other way—but her methods would strengthen any style of singing I would think. She is very warm, a keen, keen listener and is aware of different ways students apprehend a concept. She is magical on her piano as she whips one about with her chords and teaching exercise designed to surprise her student to discover her voice. Sometimes too she can see that the best way for me to understand something is to articulate it in a helpful metaphor or help me through a series of exercises to finally feel what she means. She is firm and strong without being remotely discouraging. She said very softly and very wisely during my first lesson—more than anything else singing is not about straining or pushing, its about very fine coordination of our body, particularly our palate, airways, diaphragm, tongue, etc. How to learn that coordination and habits to cultivate it! That is what Vismaya does. After only a few lessons I was receiving positive comments from my fellow choir members and where my voice had sounded affective or strained I felt much more in control. High notes that I had been afraid of and straining my voice have come out fuller and clearer and strange unnecessary vocal contortions I had assumed were the “right” classic sound in my low notes are gone or at least I have learned how to hear them and have tools to “reset” my voice to prevent them from creeping in unconsciously. Vismaya seeks to help her students find out where their strength is—if it is in warmth, or flexible high notes, or a rich full, dramatic voice. She wants to be sure her student isn’t eclipsing a gorgeous voice with the one they think they ought to have or have been told to have or—in the case of a brand new singer—don’t know exists.
Whitney Humphrey – YOU are possible:
Vismaya Lhi is not only a wonderful teacher, but a wonderful person as well. She has a deep understanding of human beings and what they need in each moment. She is very knowledgeable of her art, and compassionate towards her students. She always encourages and never says no to a dream. Vismaya has helped me to believe in myself and has taught me that I am possible.
Sean O’Meara – Best Coach I’ve ever had:
If you want to understand how you’re getting in the way of your own voice you should choose Vismaya. Most of us don’t have the faintest idea of what our true voice is because we’re too busy trying to sound like someone else. Vismaya gets you in touch with your own thought process to help you break bad habits that are causing your body to stifle your talent. I’ve been taking lessons with her for several years now and feel more comfortable and confident in my singing because of her instruction.
D.Lum – Very unique singing teacher:
First let me say that I can’t sing — or at least that’s what I thought when I decided to take lessons from Vismaya Lhi. I’d always wanted to be able to sing but never had the courage. Searching online, I discovered her website and thought her philosophy about singing was very intriguing and yet also very inviting in it’s simplicity. When I met her and took my first class, my attitude about singing was forever changed. She taught me that singing is not a god-given talent, but a simple skill that can be learned through practice, breathing exercises, confidence and trust. In her view, the voice is a musical instrument that everyone is born with — the trick is learning how to play it. This is a really cool way to approach singing. And as a teacher, Vismaya was extremely attentive, patient and sensitive to my particular needs (confidence, practice), such that I was singing scales and hitting notes I didn’t even know I could sing, before I knew it. It was such a great experience to take singing lessons with her. But perhaps the best thing about her as a teacher was that she has perfected what we call, “constructive criticism”. She has a great way of teaching you how to improve your abilities in a way that is super nurturing and yet still quite challenging!
Alan T. – Great teacher:
I took voice lessons with Vismaya Lhi and she is a fantastic teacher. I learnt so much from her. She is extremely professional, has great techniques and is very patient. She cares about your interests and does not impose a repertoire and although she allows you to chose the songs you’d like to sing, she still tries to make sure you understand your level and limits well so you don’t hurt your voice or try to learn something that is way out of your range. She has a great voice herself and when she demonstrates a song or a technique, it is really inspiring. She is very pleasant and fun to work with and cares about her students a lot. I used to take lessons with her after work and it was a wonderful experience, it made me forget all about my work and enjoy something I have always wanted to do: singing. The only reason I stopped was because I had a baby and not enough time to practice. But I am planning to go back.
Susan Compton – Great teacher:
I have been taking lessons on and off for many years with Vismaya. I sing everything from Schubert to Cole Porter. Lessons are always a pleasant experience. She is encouraging, has a good sense of humor and is full of new and ingenious exercises to help me overcome bad technique habits. I have extended my range and gained an ability to sing in a relaxed fashion and with great flexibility thanks to her help.
I recommend her with enthusiasm and with no reservations.
Mary McFadden – Finding your Voice:
My extensive background in theater and the performing arts includes working with the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, the San Francisco Opera, ACT, and many other performing artists.I’m not a singer, I’m a producer and writer. My performance experience is limited, but I imagined the feel of performing might clarify some work I was writing for the stage.
I came to Vismaya because a friend gave me a gift of three lessons. I didn’t realize how much having the physical experience of singing would enhance my writing voice. Or how much I would want to sing, want to feel comfortable singing.
Comfort is key to Vismaya’s method. She starts with breathing, and, in my case, simply making sounds. From there we built tone and flexibility. There was as much unlearning as new learning; restrictive habits changed to expansive ones. There was nudging and the occasional push toward a new experience, but always with concern for the person and for the voice.
Vismaya often points out that we do not trust an experience until we’ve had it for ourselves again and again. The flip side of habit, expectation, can be limiting or encouraging. Vismaya’s encouragement is always toward openness.
It has taken time to learn to sing, but even after illness took me away from weekly lessons, the changes – physical and emotional – had taken hold. Something has changed forever for the better. In a time ruled by instant gratification,Vismaya’s studio is set up for long term, for integrated, lasting benefits.
I used to wish I could sing, now I simply sing.
A side effect of singing lessons is how I listen, How I hear differently. Not only do I listen to music, to voices differently, I enjoy it so much more.
Alicia Yang – Highly Recommended Singing Teacher
When I first went to Vismaya I was fairly new to singing and I lacked confidence in my ability. I knew that I wanted to improve my singing and I knew that I needed a teacher who was herself an accomplished singer, as well as a competent pianist. Vismaya is all of this; she is a great singer and pianist and can provide you with all the tools you need to improve your voice. In addition, she provides a warm and friendly environment in which to learn and practice. She immediately made me feel comfortable and I was soon on my way to becoming a competent singer.
Vismaya is such a sweetheart and I thoroughly enjoyed my lessons with her each week. Whether you are new to singing, or already an accomplished singer looking to fine tune your skills, Vismaya is an excellent choice.
B. Scott – One of the Best Decisions I have made
Vismaya’s honest and unique approach focuses on the fundamentals of the voice, and how to get the most out of it. The lessons take place in a very relaxed environment. She has a wonderful sense of humor and is very patient. But she will definitely push you to do your best.
Her ultimate goal is for you to ask the most of your voice and yourself. Great Experience!
R. Neutra – Very Rewarding Experience
I’ve been working with Vismaya for several years now and it has been a tremendously helpful experience. It’s tough sometimes to know when to be patient & supportive versus when to help a student stretch past their comfort zone. She is very good at understanding how to strike that balance so that steady progress is made without it feeling too uncomfortable or indulgent.
Some people want to have some quick tips or answers and expect to be able to immediately take off with singing. For the vast majority of people, that’s just not going to work because quick tips are *not* work.
If you want a supportive yet challenging experience, work with Vismaya.
Jeff Jones – A Life Changing Experience
I never really contemplated singing but I was recruited by Vismaya Lhi, who noticed a potential in me that I myself didn’t recognize. As a beginner I was skeptical but her encouragement, empathy, and discipline helped me overcome my inhibitions. I’ve been studying with her for five years now and I am now able to enjoy a level of artistic expression that I never knew was available to me. I’m different, better person because of her. I highly recommend her.