Teacher Feature: Christina Lafferty
Meet our newest voice and piano teacher Christina Lafferty.
-When did you begin studying? What was your motivation?
I began studying music at the age of 6, however I was not super motivated until I quit piano lessons around the age of 7 or 8. That was when I started playing for my own enjoyment. I loved listening to songs on the radio and teaching myself the chords and melody.
-Did you have a teacher that made an impact on you? If so, why?
I have many teachers who have greatly impacted me. The two who have had the biggest impact are my voice teacher, Carol Jennings, and my college choir director, Dr. Craig Peterson. Carol has impacted me by helping me to truly understand the voice and how it works. I have continued to study with her even after starting to teach, and I attribute my success in teaching to her. She has become a mentor even more than a teacher.
Dr. Craig Peterson impacted me because of his level of choral expertise. His high standards for how a choir should sound have not only informed the way I teach choir and voice, but have also changed the way I use my own voice.
Both teachers have increased my knowledge and love of music and have taught me to strive for excellence.
-Why did you choose your instrument? What do you love about it? What do you find challenging?
I chose to sing because I have loved singing from the time I was very little. I love everything about the voice, from the fact that it is the most portable instrument to the fact that it is the most versatile instrument. I love that given the right information and instruction, you can learn to sing ANY style, and there is no limit to what you can do (as seen by artists such as Bobby McFerrin). What I find most challenging about the voice is how easily it is affected by factors such as fatigue, weather, overuse, etc.
-What do you enjoy about teaching?
The thing I enjoy most about teaching is seeing students get excited about what they are learning. I love seeing a student all of a sudden understand the difference in their singing voice when they learn resonance or breath support.
-Were there any challenges that surprised you?
It was surprising to see how every single student learns so differently, and it caused me to get creative and find different approaches to different concepts.
-What aspects of music education do you find most important to your instrument?
The most important aspect of music education to the voice, I believe, is vocal pedagogy. Music theory is important as well, but I believe without a knowledge of vocal pedagogy and how the voice works, it is very easy to misuse the voice. For piano, I believe that music theory is the most important aspect.
-What do you want your students to ultimately learn?
Ultimately, I want my students to learn how to be independent musicians. This involves them learning theory and technique, but it also involves them learning why things work the way they do. It involves them being able to problem solve and apply a corrective technique to whatever issue they are struggling with musically.
-If you could do anything in music what would it be?
I would travel the world learning about every single style of music that there is.
-What kind of music do you listen to? Like to play the most?
I listen to classical, choral, rock, world, folk, Christian. I like folk music and world music the best. I like to play and sing folk music the most.
-Who are the musicians and artists that you admire most?
My favorite musicians and artists are Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel, and Josh Garrels. I admire each of them for their songwriting and use of lyrics.