If you have a passion for music and voice, you could do no better than to get Margot Hanson on your team. Having spent almost three years as her student, I was thrilled to have never reached that learning plateau that students often find in their studies. Margot had a new technique, tip, or trick to offer every time we met, and I heard enormous growth in my voice. In fact, even though I've gone off to college, I still use the skills Margot gave me to tackle my toughest songs. Margot's approach is about exercising the voice in such a way that allows the voice to be a reliable instrument. Gone are the days of "I can't sing today," because Margot teaches her students how to strengthen the voice so that it can be fully utilized every day. Stage presence is another area for which Margot provides excellent guidance; it is important that a performer looks confident and at ease while performing, and Margot knows how to turn nervous fidgeting into grace and control. As an actress herself, she can inspire in students the ability to convey the emotion of a song, making her a perfect teacher for musical theater students such as myself. And that's not all! If it seems like she can do just about do everything, it's because she can. Margot promotes a high level of musicianship in her students that is greatly appreciated when it comes time to work with accompanists and instrumentalists. Another refreshing aspect of Margot's teaching is her respect for a wide range of genres, and a willingness to anaylze and devise a healthy way to approach all kinds of vocal styles. "Sing the music that makes you want to sing," is one of Margot's main principles, and it allows for the joy and freedom that drew us all into singing in the first place. Margot cares deeply for her students, cares deeply for music, and like the very best of teachers, she is able to pass this passion on to her students.
Margot Hanson is one of the best voice teachers I've ever worked with. Not only is she supportive and positive, she really knows what she's doing. I was Margot's student and also her master class accompanist for quite some time, and the lessons I learned with her stay with me to this day. I live in New York City and have a career in music as an Operatic Tenor and a Voice Teacher here, and I can tell you that if I were in the Portland area, I would study with Margot, no question about it. She's one of the best.
Margot Hanson not only helped me set a solid technical foundation, her flexibility of genres allowed and encouraged experimentation which helped me grow as an artist. I consider Margot to not only be a teacher but a mentor who put me years ahead of where I ever would have been.
Margot Hanson is not only an outstanding teacher, but also a remarkable person. Her professional skill, experience and knowledge of the music industry are unrivaled, and her energy and delightful personality make her a joy to work with. I came into Margot's studio with previous musical experience - namely, studies in piano and violin - but nothing in my background compared to her intense yet rewarding instruction. After three years with Margot, I can confidently say I have grown immensely - as a vocalist, as a musician, and as a person. She has valued my strengths, helped me overcome my challenges, and instilled in me a greater love for music that I will cherish forever.
I started singing professionally as a teenager over forty years ago in folk and rock bands, continuing to perform on and off until the present. During all those years of mostly nightclub engagements it never occurred to me to seek professional voice lessons. I did notice somewhat more hoarseness after performances as I aged, but since my voice always recovered after a day or so I gave it little thought. A couple of years ago, after one particularly long and intense performance, my hoarseness did not go away, and the quality of my voice and upper range were markedly changed. After examination a specialist informed me I had a large polyp on one of my vocal cords that looked like a classic cheerleader's or singer's condition, brought on by strain, overuse, or incorrect use of the voice. Surgery was required. The doctor strongly suggested I get voice training to prevent a recurrence. Luckily I was able to get lessons from Margot. For many months she skillfully eased me back into singing, patiently but firmly helping me correct many of my bad performance and practice habits, and in the process moving me towards improving my vocal range and quality overall. Now, at the age of 58 the upper part of my tenor range is better than ever, and my overall voice quality has improved. I even recently landed a singing role in my first musical! More importantly, I feel I have developed good warm-up and performance techniques which should allow me to enjoy singing through the next decade and perhaps beyond if I am lucky. Without this surgery and Margot's wonderful teaching I simply would not have a singing voice. I highly recommend her as a vocal teacher and coach. I credit her for saving my voice and expanding my conception and appreciation of vocal performance in general. Lucky Portlanders -- Bellingham's loss is surely your gain!
Margot Hanson is one of those rare teachers who is able to evoke the best from each of her students, no matter what the student's skills, knowledge, and interests. I have studied voice with her for 12 years and will continue to do so. Here are some of the things I value in her work with me:
- She enjoys teaching and music and she communicates
that joy during her lessons.
- She teaches vocal technique.
- She makes corrections by guiding me to the correct way,
and then praising the correct sound. (She is never negative or critical.)
- She has helped me develop both the lower and the upper ranges of my voice and has helped me strengthen the middle range.
- She is open to working with any music (e.g.classical, folk)
and to music from other cultures.
- She has a wide-ranging knowledge of vocal repertoire and of the greatest singers.
- She has a delightful sense of humor.