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Forte Teacher Spotlight: Tom Sitzler


Ashley Pitman, Strategic Marketing and Content

September 18, 2023

Name: Tom Sitzler

Instrument(s): Voice (All Levels), Piano (All Levels), Ukulele (Beginner)

Location: Philadelphia, PA


  • Bachelors in Vocal Performance and Choral Education from Northern Arizona University

  • Masters in Vocal Performance from Washington University in St. Louis.  

In 2009, I started performing professionally with my first role being in Il Trovatore with Union Avenue Opera. That was followed by premiering the role of Bob in Family Dynamics by composer Bill Lenihan with St. Louis City Opera. Among many other programs and performances, I participated in the Victoria J. Mastrobuono Emerging Artist Program in New Jersey, covering Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Over 12 years of a professional opera career throughout the US has taken me from Silvano in Un Ballo in Maschera with UAO, to solos in J.S. Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, to the title role in The Boor with Gateway Opera. 

Greatest inspiration: 

My late mentor Carol Kirkpatrick.  She taught me to always perform with my true self, and this is something I encourage all my students to embody.

Favorite place to perform:

As a classical singer, my favorite place to perform changes, but I really enjoyed performing at Powell Hall in St. Louis as a part of the Bach Society of St. Louis.

Performance clip: 

Teaching Tech Setup: 

Forte Studio Tech Setup 2

MacBook Pro 2020 M1

Fifine USB Mic

iPad Pro (5th generation)

What’s great about teaching on Forte?

It’s very easy to set up and get going, and the sound is already configured for music lessons.

Tell us a bit about your teaching style: 

I mostly teach to the individual student’s goals and ambitions.  If they want to learn piano, but do not want to focus on note reading, we work on chord charts, lyric sheets, etc.  If they want to learn classical music, I have a program that consists of music theory, technical exercises, sight reading and ear training, and repertoire.

For singing, we can focus on whatever style they prefer to sing.  I am a firm believer that all singing styles have two things in common: space and breath.  Each style varies in the space and breath, and through our lessons, we explore those differences!

Tell us what you like most about your experience as a music educator:

I love it when my students set and achieve their goals, especially when they surprise themselves!  

A piece of repertoire I love to teach:

When I teach voice, I love working on a few songs in different genres.  For pop, I love working with students on Adele’s Easy and Set Fire to the Rain.  For classical, I love working on solos from the 24 Italian Art songs and Arias book.  

When teaching piano, I love working with my early intermediate students on John Williams movie scores.  I also love working on Debussy’s Reverie.

A piece of repertoire I love to play:

For piano, I love playing through Debussy’s Clair de Lune and Beethoven’s Sonata Pathetique (first movement).

For classical voice, Ford’s Aria from Verdi’s Falstaff.  For CCM (contemporary, commercial music) voice, Come Sail Away by Styx.  For piano, Beethoven’s Sonata Pathetique

Fun fact: 

In addition to being an opera singer and classical pianist, I am also an artist!  I enjoy drawing geometric shapes and mandalas.

In the artist’s own words:

“Offer no resistance to what is. Take action or not. And don’t be attached to the outcome”

 – Eckhart Tolle