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Meet Susan Hanlon Ferrer of Susan Hanlon Vocal Studio in Allen and Plano

Today we’d like to introduce you to Susan Hanlon Ferrer.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Susan. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
I began teaching voice lessons 12 years ago when my friend needed to find a voice teacher for her school choir program in Plano. I decided to give it a try and I immediately fell in love with teaching young singers to express themselves! I gradually began working with older and more advanced students which led me to return to UNT for graduate studies and focus on voice and vocal pedagogy. After graduating with my MA in Voice, I accepted a position as Adjunct Professor of Commercial Voice at Collin College.

This opportunity allowed me to work with many singer/songwriters, developing artists and aspiring performers. I fully enjoyed the variety of ages and musical genres that the college environment brought. Singers worked with me on the country, r&b, pop, rock, jazz, musical theatre, contemporary Christian and classical styles of music. After 8 wonderful years as a professor, I decided to leave my position and focus my attention solely to building my private studio.

As the owner and sole instructor at Susan Hanlon Vocal Studio, I am able to work with students of all ages and abilities. I have young students who focus on solo and choral opportunities, college singers who are studying musical theatre and jazz, adults who want to learn to sing at karaoke bars and professional singers who tour and record. My goal with this diverse group of singers is to teach healthy vocal technique and promote longevity in singing, regardless of the musical style.

Has it been a smooth road?
Growing a business takes time and money and sometimes time and money are not easy to come by. Every performance event is somewhat of a financial gamble and the amount of time I pour into planning events, recitals, gigs, etc is not compensated for, so it can feel like a struggle at times. Teaching voice is also unique when dealing with illnesses since singers may not be able to sing due to allergies or sickness.

Getting hit with the flu this past month set me back with a loss of a full week of work and income. These are challenges that come with any performance-based company and I am finally getting in a place where I can handle the income fluctuations and last minute schedule changes with ease.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
As a vocal studio owner, my responsibility is to work with singers to increase their vocal range, build stamina, gain breath control, improve agility and explore style. I help beginning singers learn to match pitch and teach them basic musicianship skills. I also work with intermediate and advanced singers on vocal technique and help them build their repertoire and polish their performance skills. I prepare singers for college auditions and assist with recording sessions as a vocal coach/producer.

The thing I am most proud of as a vocal instructor is a genuine care I have for the growth of each individual student in their journey of singing. I love to meet each student where they are and work with them to encourage progress. I truly love helping to foster a sense of confidence in singers who have been told they cannot sing. I have yet to meet someone who is truly tone deaf and I love to see the joy that singing brings to someone who did not believe they could ever match pitch. I feel that I am unique in my teaching style as I am constantly researching and exploring new methods of teaching and new ways to inspire vocal improvement.

I am not afraid to tell a singer that I don’t always have all the answers, but I am always willing to help them find a solution to their vocal frustrations. I also insist on making a singer aware that singing should feel good and be done in a healthy way that won’t cause extreme vocal fatigue or damage. I try to emphasize the importance of self-awareness and vocal hygiene regardless of the vocal style they are pursuing.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I feel very lucky to be surrounded by such fabulous arts programs in both the public school systems and the nearby cities. The importance of music and art is understood by the community and this allows for businesses such as mine to grow. The population here is large and many community members participate in music lessons for personal enjoyment. Being in close proximity to Dallas draws a steady stream of professional musicians who want to hone their skills and improve their craft. I am also consistently pleased with the available local venues and arts festivals/events that offer opportunities for singers to perform.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Elle Logan Photography, MC6 Creative, Laura Schussler

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