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Know Your Voice

by Kathleen Buccleugh



Birdwell with Kelli O’Hara
“It’s about the love of singing,” Florence Birdwell says, summarizing her entire teaching philosophy. No matter what you’re singing—opera, art song, musical theatre, pop, rock—you must love performing and, above all, communicating.

Birdwell has not always taught musical theatre. She started as a performer and teacher of classical voice. “In fact, I didn’t know what good musical theatre was in those days,” she says. But when Oklahoma City University introduced its musical theatre program, she adjusted her curriculum.
Now, with a list of former students that includes Kristin Chenoweth, Lara Teeter, and Kelli O’Hara, Birdwell long ago established herself as a master teacher of musical theatre performance.

She shared with Classical Singer her advice, from breathing to diction, about giving musical theatre a chance.

What is the very first thing you tell a classically trained singer who wants to sing musical theatre?

I find, and I believe so strongly, that good mus...
Classical Singer

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