After a successful singing career that took me to some of the world’s great opera houses and concert stages, I began teaching in 2000 after the birth of my son. My experience as a singer, my 20 years as a voice teacher, and my position as Director of Vocal Studies for the Ryan Opera Center of Lyric Opera of Chicago have given me a unique skill set to teach the emerging artist.
About my teaching
I have had several wonderful teachers in my life, and have distilled the best of what they had to offer in my own teaching. In particular, my long association with the legendary Margaret Harshaw was formative. After an international singing career and over 25 years of teaching, I have amassed a substantial amount of valuable information for singers.
First and foremost I understand the responsibility entrusted to me by each artist walking into my studio. In the first few lessons I learn as much as I can about the singer and begin to understand their learning style, particular needs, and the vocabulary of singing that they use. I try to adapt my language and style to each individual singer’s needs and operate intuitively to guide them on their artistic journey.
I have worked with all voice types and all age levels from 14 to 70 years old. This has given me a lot of great experience in choosing repertoire, developing a voice from the ground up, and dealing with specific vocal issues. I have helped more than a few singers after vocal surgery, assisting them, in conjunction with prescribed therapies, in correcting technical issues that were impeding their ability to sing.
There are two aspects of singing on which I particularly concentrate. One is the source of the voice itself, the breath. Breath management is the single most important aspect of singing, in my opinion, and one that is particularly vulnerable to misinterpretation. I generally find that most people over-support, emphasizing pressure and muscle rather than understanding the way air is used in the voice. To facilitate this understanding, I often use the model of extended speech. For the most part, most of us phonate all day long using perfectly balanced air, creating a consistent sound with great variation in color and tone and completely under our control. When we breathe to speak, we use a subtle, internal and buoyant connection to our breath. While singing is of course different from speech in its volume, range and duration, it is still relatable to speech in terms of breath use. The second aspect of singing that I emphasize is a defining of location and sensation for the core of the sound itself. I think spatially in the way I conceive of and describe singing. I find that identifying and refining a concept of the sensation and relative location of the sound is helpful. I help the singer develop this description based on the singer’s own conceptual style and vocabulary. In addition to these technical aspects of the act of singing, I emphasize the art of using the voice in service to the character and story being told. Above all, I emphasize balance in all aspects of singing, not only in the instrument that creates it, but in the life that supports that instrument.
Julia Faulkner has firmly established herself as one of the top voice teachers in the world. Her students are performing globally at the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Berlin,Vienna State Opera, Bavarian State Opera, San Fransisco Opera, and Lyric Opera of Chicago, among others. In the past 5 years, her students have been finalists and winners in many prominent competitions including the Metropolitan Opera Laffont Competition, Operalia and the Cardiff Singer of the World. Julia Faulkner has been Director of Vocal studies for the Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center, Lyric Opera of Chicago’s renowned professional artist-development program for the past 6 years. A faculty member of the Curtis Institute, she is also a Master Teacher for the apprentices at the Santa Fe Opera, and the Merola program, a course leader for the Britten/Pears young artist program, and a coach for the Jette Parker and Harewood artists at the Royal Opera House and English National operas.
Julia Faulkner has had a distinguished international singing career with performances on many of the world’s great opera and concert stages. She made her Metropolitan Opera debut in the title role of Strauss’ Arabella in 1994 and sang major roles for many years at the Bavarian and Vienna State Operas. She has been celebrated in the roles of the Marschallin, Arabella, Countess, Fiordilidgi, Ariadne, and Capriccio Gräfin to name a few. Other prestigious engagements have included performances with La Scala, Hamburg, Amsterdam, The Berlin Philharmonic, Cleveland Orchestra, Concertgebouw, Dresdener Staatskapelle, Gewandhaus Leipzig, and L.A. Philharmonic among others. A well regarded recording artist, Julia has recordings on the Naxos, EMI and Deutsche Gramophon labels.