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Forte Featured Teacher: Julia Dawson

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Katie Hone Wiltgen, Chief Education Officer

May 7, 2024

We are so happy to introduce you to this week’s amazing Forte Featured Teacher, Julia Dawson.

About Julia

Julia is a soprano and dedicated music educator hailing from Canada and currently based in the vibrant city of Berlin, Germany. Hailed by Opera News as “radiant and riveting” and the New York Times as “a spitfire”, Julia is a winner of the George London Award and Anny-Schlemm Preis from Oper Frankfurt. Her passion for music has taken her across the globe, performing with esteemed institutions such as Oper Frankfurt, the Munich Philharmonic, and the Santa Fe Opera. She most recently made her role debut as Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni with the Banff Center for Arts and Creativity.

With over a decade of teaching experience, Julia takes great joy in making music accessible and enjoyable for aspiring singers of all ages and levels of experience, and she brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her teaching.

Not only that, Julia is just about the kindest, most lovely person you could ever hope to meet!

Training and Education

  • Bachelor of Music in vocal performance from Oberlin Conservatory

  • Masters of Music from Rice University

  • Performance Diploma from the esteemed Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia

  • The Glimmerglass Festival

  • Santa Fe Opera

  • Aspen Opera Theater Center

  • Music Academy of the West

Julia’s Forte teacher profile

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Julia’s Teaching Style and Approach

How would you describe your teaching style?

My teaching style is direct, fun, and encouraging. I listen to each individual student and craft lessons that fit their specific needs. In all lessons, though, we learn technical mastery while building confidence and having fun!

What's the best part of music lessons with you?

You will come away with results!

As a student in my studio, you can embark on a journey of discovery, focusing on essential skills that will transform your singing abilities:

  • 🌟 Expand Your Vocal Range: Say goodbye to vocal boundaries as we work together to expand and explore the full spectrum of your voice.

  • 🌟 Master Breath Control: Learn the art of proper breathing techniques tailored specifically for singers, empowering you to sing with greater control and endurance.

  • 🌟 Prepare for Performances: Get ready to captivate audiences with confidence! I will guide you through the process of preparing a song for performance, ensuring you shine on stage every time.

  • 🌟 Develop a Stronger Tone: Discover how to add depth, richness, and power to your voice, enhancing your vocal presence and leaving a lasting impression.

  • 🌟 Conquer Stage Fright: Bid farewell to performance jitters! I will share valuable strategies to help you overcome stage fright and sing with poise and assurance.

How do you encourage and motivate your students to progress?

I encourage my students to progress through showing them how to practice - with efficiency and fun. Just like building any habit, we start small and regular and build from there. With even five minutes of practice a day, students can see great improvement, and this is highly motivating!

What would your students tell us about you as a teacher? They'd say I can be silly, and through this silliness, they suddenly notice singing is easier and more fun!

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Julia’s Unique Specializations

If you were to select one or two things that you specialize in as a music teacher, what would it/they be?

I love teaching kids - our lessons include singing technique as well as musicianship and music history. I enjoy giving a well-rounded musical education to young singers. 

I also enjoy empowering female musicians to connect to the power of their voices.

What genre(s) of music do you specialize in or most enjoy teaching?

I'm a classically trained singer but I also teach students in Pop, Jazz, and Musical Theater.

Other than your primary instrument(s), are there additional disciplines or skills that you particularly enjoy teaching?

I incorporate mindfulness into all my lessons, and I also enjoy helping students with performance anxiety.

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Student Success and Feedback

Can you share a success story of a student you've taught?

Several students of mine have been accepted into the Children's Opera Chorus at the Opera Frankfurt. Other students are active in film and tv.

What feedback do you often receive from your students (or your students' parents) about their lesson experience with you?

I often receive feedback that students have fun in my lessons and are shocked at how quickly they improve.


Getting to Know You… Getting to Know All About You

Other than being a musician/music teacher, what is your forte?

My other "fortes" include walking my dachshund, Ginny, and eating hot sauce! I also speak German and French fluently.

What are your hobbies or interests outside of music?

My dog, Ginny (a Dachshund mix), meditation, yoga, hiking, swimming, and running.

If you could collaborate with any musician or composer (living or dead), who would you choose, and why?

Richard Strauss - because I think he must have had a terrific sense of humour.

What is the best musical advice anyone ever gave you?

Sing with love.

As musicians, we are always learning and growing. What's something you're currently working on?

I'm currently working on expanding my rib cage yet more as I sing.

If you could learn any other instrument, what would you choose, and why?

I would learn the violin, because I think I would understand orchestral music much more deeply… although I always thought that if I had ever learned the bassoon, I would have been terrific at it!  ;-)

What music are you listening to lately and really loving?

I'm listening to The Gryphon Trio play Haydn piano trios, and also Julia Pratt.

What's your go-to karaoke song?


What is your afternoon snack of choice?

Chocolate cookies and tea!

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