About Ashley Daneman: Founder of Tiny Voice Box
Welcome to Tiny Voice Box! My name is Ashley Daneman and I'm a professional singer and voice teacher based in Kalamazoo, MI with a Masters degree from Manhattan School of Music (in Jazz Vocal Performance). I've been performing professionally for over 15 years in a variety of settings throughout many places in the U.S. - public concerts, studio recordings, church musician, ensemble section leading, and more. I've been teaching for 10 years in my private studio, for middle school choirs, high school adjudicator, group lessons, as a guest lecturer, and as Jazz Vocal Instructor at Hillsdale College.
I come from a background in classical music and musical theater, but grew up to want to sing jazz and popular music. I studied with a master teacher, Jeanie Lovetri, in NYC and learned her method to sing all kinds of contemporary, commercial music. In 2013 I became certified as a Level II Somatic Voicework (tm) - The LoVetri Method voice teacher. This is a powerful method for training the voice and gives a singer lots of options for their future musical pursuits whether that's auditioning for a conservatory program, planning a performance career on your own, or just singing as a beloved hobby.
We teach beginning students through advanced. Everyone needs a voice teacher - even me! It's how we stay in excellent, healthy shape and continue to evolve and expand our skills. Our voice lessons are completely customized for each person's vocal instrument, for where they are in their development, and for their vocal goals both now and in the future. Part of this may include songwriting coaching, arranging help, audition preparation, or planning a recording session.
We specifically take students who want to work on musical theater, jazz, pop/contemporary, church, and/or singer-songwriter music although we can also teach beginning students who want to study Opera/classical singing. We offer well-rounded vocal preparation that emphasizes a variety of contemporary music styles and that also can address any problem issues. We do take some students as young as elementary school as long as that child seems ready.
Our students perform professionally in music clubs, bars, and other venues. Some of them write and have recorded their own music, or play guitar/piano to accompany themselves. Others have received scholarships from arts councils and performing arts organizations, are auditioning for national competitions, singing in pageants, pursuing an acting career in movies/commercials, or attending summer music camps and other musical opportunities.
Why do I call my studio "Tiny Voice Box?" It's because out of one of the smallest, most fragile places in the human body (the larynx, or "voice box") comes the most powerful and intimate means of personal expression. Every voice box is it's own work of art and my teaching focuses on the individuality of each person. As my daughter once wrote, and as my studio motto: "My gift to you is my Awesome." This does not mean anything arrogant, it simply means that when we become awesome at something we love - it becomes a gift to everyone.
About Carmen Bell: Voice Teacher
Carmen Bell, soprano, is a professional singer and voice teacher based in Battle Creek, Michigan. She received a Master of Music degree in voice from Eastern Michigan University, where she studied with Dr. Emory Stephens. She also received a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from Western Michigan University, where her primary instructor was Dr. Carl J. Ratner. She was accepted into and attended the Davidson College Vocal Symposium. Ms. Bell’s operatic experience includes the roles of Miss Todd in Menotti’s Old Maid and the Thief, La Ciesca in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, as well as scene performances in Le Nozze di Figaro, The Tender Land, Cosi fan tutte and La Traviata. She is currently studying the roles of Bess in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, and Lucy in Menotti’s L'Amour à trois. As a soprano soloist, she has been featured in Handel’s Messiah, among other major works. Ms. Bell has also served as a guest artist and lecturer where she has performed specialized programs of art songs and spirituals associated with well-known African American composers. Carmen’s students have successfully competed at MSVMA District and State Solo and Ensemble competitions receiving high ratings and placing among Michigan’s top ten soloists. Current students have auditioned and were featured in several leading roles in area musical theatre productions. Furthering their passion for music, former students have received music degrees from Western Michigan University, Michigan State University, Grand Valley, and Roosevelt College. Current open teaching day: Mondays.
About Elizabeth Bayer: Voice Teacher
Elizabeth is earning her second bachelors in music education at Western Michigan University with a focus in vocal performance. She also teaches piano and guitar alongside voice lessons for those interested in learning both. Elizabeth specializes in teaching musicianship skills to singers and is great with all ages. Current open teaching days: Tuesdays, Thursdays.
About Erik Jacobson: Voice Teacher
Erik Jacobson is excited to join Tiny Voice Box Studio and continue his passion for helping the next generation of singer hone their skills. Erik spent five years as a high school music teacher, one year as the Executive Artistic Director of the Milwaukee Children's Choir, and now acts as the General Manager of Voces Cantabiles Music, USA. VCM USA supports the work of professional ensembles VOCES8 and Apollo5, runs education workshops all over the country, and boasts its own ensemble, the VOCES8 US Scholars. Through the VOCES8 Scholars, Erik helps professional musicians at the beginning of their young career learn small ensemble rehearsal techniques in order to take the next step in professional choral singing.
With formal training in both classical and jazz music, Erik has had a plethora of professional performance opportunities in both genres. These include singing on a Grammy-nominated choral album, performing as a headliner at Jazz at Lincoln Center, performing with the national tour of Star Wars in Concert, and singing backup for Charise on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Over the years he has performed with names such as Janis Seigel, Mark Murphy, Kurt Elling, Bob Mintzer, Charise, Bobby McFerrin, Roger Treece, Peter Eldridge, Matt Giraud, and The Velvelettes. Erik received a bachelor of arts in music from Western Michigan University and a master of music in music education from Boston University. Current open teaching days: none.
About Samantha Schaefer: Voice Teacher
TIny Voice Box enthusiastically welcomes, Samantha Schaefer! She is a poet, vocalist, yoga instructor, and all around lover of life. Her studies in vocal performance began in musical theater - until she discovered jazz. A former participant in WMU's Gold Company ensemble under Dr. Steve Zegree, she has also studied classical Italian opera under Nora Tabbush and Aaron Carpene in Rome, Italy. She received her MFA in Poetry as a Follett Fellow at Columbia College Chicago and has since been working to integrate the written word with that which is sung. Resulting in numerous collaborative multi-genre composition projects including WMU's Luscombe Project i cut the things with a large knife., electronic soundscape composition with Cassandra Kaczor, and an ongoing 30-second-song project. Sam's teaching philosophy focuses on strengthening the connection between the body, the breath, and the voice. Above all else, her goal is to foster confidence and curiosity in her students.
Alongside musical endeavors, her writing career includes such credits as having acted as co-editor of Black Tongue Review, Editorial Intern at Yoga International, and Writer in Residence at Brushcreek Foundation for the Arts. Nominated for two Pushcart Prizes, her poetry aims at exploring multi-modal composition, collaboration between artistic genres, and all things uncanny. Her poetry can be found in publications such as TYPO, Columbia Poetry Review, Ghost Town Literary Magazine, and Caesura. Current open teaching days: none.
Private Voice & Coachings
We offer private voice lessons in 25-min and 50-min sessions. A typical lesson begins with stretching/alignment and vocal warmups followed by vocal exercises selected specifically to train and balance your voice. We will generally apply the technique training portion to repertoire which is selected together. Aspects of theory and musicianship are covered throughout. Beginners should take a 25-min lesson and professional singers should opt for the 50-min lesson. For best results, lessons should be taken weekly, however you may schedule intermittently if we cannot find a suitable weekly meeting time. All lessons are prepaid via the online scheduling system.
We also offer vocal coaching to help singers prepare for upcoming auditions or recording sessions in a short time frame. This is different from a private lesson because the focus is more heavily on repertoire and less on long-term technique development. We’ll help you choose songs and keys that are right for your age, voice, technical abilities and audition type. We will find strategies for any challenging song parts and make individualized arrangements to showcase your strengths. Coachings may be scheduled via the 50-min private lesson link below.
We offer 50-min songwriting/arranging sessions to songwriters who need to learn basic composition and/or who want to flesh out their ideas. Sessions may be done once or several times, either sequentially or on an as-needed basis. Want to hear Ashley’s original music? Check out her album, “Beauty Indestructible.”