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Teacher Feature: CodyRay Caho

When did you begin studying? What was your motivation?

My first musical adventure was playing flute in the middle school band at the age of 11. There was a girl, Candace, on my bus who I knew played flute, and I thought she was really cool. This, however, led me to audition for the chorus a couple years later. For me, singing was vastly different than playing in band. My chorus teacher asked us all to think about how the songs we were singing related directly to how we felt in our lives. This connection to our personal experiences and getting to express them gave me a rush - a rush I still experience while creating with people!

Why did you choose your instrument? What do you love about it? What do you find challenging?

There are so many instruments I’d love to play/have loved playing, but singing keeps me coming back. I love that I am making music with my body. The instrument is hidden inside! In some ways, it looks so easy when compared to learning piano, but at least with piano, you can see the instrument in front of you. Singing is so much more abstract and about trusting your body to work the way you hope. While this can be frustrating, singing is such an effective way to bring people together in a personal and, oftentimes, vulnerable way.

When did you begin teaching?

In undergrad, I pursued a music education degree for four out the five years I was there. During that time, I began leading a church youth choir where we worked on basic music skills along with a wide repertoire of pieces. This is also where I began my private teaching studio with the guidance of voice faculty. In 2015, I began teaching professionally and have continued to since.

What aspects of music education do you find most important to your instrument?

Comfort. When a musician feels comfortable/well-rehearsed, they will perform more naturally. This comes with a developed sense of music theory, how to engage the breath in singing, and how to leave all of that behind in performance to communicate the meaning of the text.

What do you want your students to ultimately learn?

I would like my students to learn to approach the music they perform and practice from a place of kindness and commitment: knowing that they have something to learn everyday yet cherishing the knowledge they’ve gained from committing to their daily practice. Ultimately, I would love for this to translate into how they approach the problems of their lives.

What kind of music do you listen to? Like to play the most?

I spend most of my time listening to jazz, R&B, and all kinds of classical music - Schubert, R. Schumann, and a long list of operas written as early as 16th century and as late as this year! My passion in performing is mostly with new and contemporary opera as a way to engage in socially relevant themes.

Who are the musicians and artists that you admire most?

Nina Simone, Brandi Carlile, Rachelle Ferrell, Gerald Finley, Missy Mazzoli, The Beatles, Laylah Hathaway, Cecilia Bartoli, Bryn Terfel, Gordon Hawkins, Marcy Stonikas, Dawn Upshaw, Michael Lewis just to name a FEW!

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