In association with
Mrs Maria Scobey BA Hons
Joey Watson Date: July 2014
15.> MR. JOEY WATSON-SMITH 18YEARS "My lifelong ambition was to someday appear on the West End stage as a professional musical theatre performer, but I had never felt confident or capable of ever achieving this and it had always been nothing more than a dream. However during the end of the 2012 summer holidays after I finished my A-levels I finally decided that it was my true calling in life and took a gap year to try and better prepare myself for the challenge that would be the following three years. I didn’t consider myself a very good singer AT ALL and the most important thing for to do first was to find a singing tutor. After looking around for a singing tutor that was within my local area I found ‘A Big Voice’. When I first came to Maria at ‘A Big Voice’ in early September of 2012 I was unsure If I would ever realistically be able to achieve my goal and get into a university and study musical theatre but it wasn’t long before I really began impressing myself with what I was capable of; all thanks to Maria! The first handful of lessons were centered around setting myself realistic goals and what I wanted to achieve from the lessons as well as discovering what my vocal range was and what style of music my voice was best suited to. I wasn’t long before we moved onto breathing techniques and utilizing my diaphragm and how to get the best sounds out of me! Maria explained all the techniques and technicalities in a way that was incredible easy to understand and remember; I didn’t need to do any long revision sessions and I was able to remember the techniques and put them into practice with ease. We also focused on strengthening my vocal range and utilizing my head voice. At first I sounded like ‘a goose playing the trumpet’, but it wasn’t long before I noticed a drastic change and was hitting higher and higher notes that sounded ‘pleasant’! Come February I had finished applying for universities and was ready to go on auditions. Maria played a huge role in helping to prepare both mentally and physically to give the best I possibly could. It felt very intimidated by the ability that other applicants seemed to display; but I knew that If I just remembered everything that Maria had taught me I would be fine. And not long after my first audition I was informed that I had been offered a place at the university! I was ecstatic! Maria has helped me begin to make my dream a reality and I’ve come a long way, but I’ve still got very far to go and there is no doubt that Maria is going to help me get there.
Ami Benton Date: July 2014
14.> AMI BENTON-PROFESSIONAL DANCER & SINGER "I chose to take private lessons with 'A Big Voice' Singing & Performance Tuition after attending a fun singing group (S I N G with A BIG VOICE) in my local area. Training as a professional dancer I found that singing was an important aspect in order to make myself as versatile as possible. A Big Voice Vocal Coach (MARIA SCOBEY) has been fantastic, and exactly what I have been looking for. Not only is there a professional input into my lessons due to Maria's own professional experience in the industry. But with great support and encouragement, my singing technique knowledge and confidence to now sing solo has improved greatly! Maria has helped me so much that I now have secured a contract in Greece as a Show Dancer & Singer, harmonising and performing full time"!
Pauline Quirk Accademy-Kym Eden Date: July 2014
13.> PAULINE QUIRK ACCADEMY Aylesbury, (Principle Kym Eden-Aged 30+) "I initially took up singing lessons to re-gain my confidence vocally and confidence in auditioning at various Musical Theatre companies. I have been with Marie for one year now and Im really pleased with the progress I have made. Her modern approach to vocal coaching is refreshing and as such I have gained a greater understanding as to how to sing: strengthening my voice; bridging between chest and head voice; adding a variety of timbres and dynamics and, most importantly, learning how breathing affects singing. I would highly recommend Maria to anyone wishing to sing as I have met and exceeded my goals thanks to her."
Eleanor (& Mum Susan) Code Date: July 2014
12.> ELEANOR CODE-Aylesbury Hi, I am thirteen, and I have been having singing lessons with Maria for nearly a year. I really enjoy her lessons. Maria gives me lots of tips to help my understanding of all the breathing and singing techniques. I also get lots of positive feedback which has helped to increase my confidence and progress. I can choose songs that I would like to learn to sing as well as those that Maria thinks will help me to develop my voice. The lessons are hard work but a lot of fun too as Maria has a very cheerful and bubbly personality.
Lead Vocalist-Kevin Parfit Date: July 2014
11.> KEVIN PARFITT – Aged 40+ Lead Singer of band ‘WIRED’ I started singing at a fairly late stage at the age of 33 and now front a local band WIRED as their lead singer. Vocally, my technique was pretty raw and since I had never had any vocal tuition before (other than one or two very uninteresting lessons elsewhere) I contacted Maria to see how she could help to improve my vocals. I was finding it difficult to sing through a gig, some 30 – 40 songs a night, without giving myself a sore throat and straining through the last 5 or 6 songs and only just getting through it. Over a period of only a few months with Maria’s tuition, I have learnt the importance of understanding how my voice works, how to use it properly and equally important how to look after it. Maria has a unique way of teaching people to sing, with an informative mix of practical theory and musical exercises, in a relaxed and fun environment. She will give her students both encouragement and correction when necessary, and whilst I have a long way to go in this stage, she has helped me to improve my vocals to an extent whereby I’m already able to perform gigs two nights running and without a sore throat! Maria has also provided me with many practical and useful tips to improve my stagecraft and with her tuition I’m looking forward to moving beyond not just learning to improve my singing, but also how to become an all round exciting performer!
Dancer-Singer Christone Ellis Date: July 2014
10.> CHRISTINE ELLIS Aged30+ CHESHAM Dancer/Performer & now Singer “I belong to a local theatre group as a dancer/performer but had never done any solo singing before. I wanted to get leading roles which often require a combination of dancing and singing. When I started singing lessons with Maria, I had zero confidence in my singing ability and would never have volunteered myself to sing anything but chorus numbers. Since having lessons with Maria, I have learnt the correct technique for breathing and posture and various vocal exercises to strengthen my voice. By practicing my scales (mostly in the car commuting to work) and plenty of encouragement from Maria, I have become more and more confident in my singing voice. Maria has taught me how I can reach those high notes safely and use my diaphragm–without it hurting or sounding like a high pitched squeal! I have learned to glide up into my head voice and cross vocal bridges with ease. Amazingly, I recently put myself forward to sing a solo at a local charity concert. Maria helped me to use dynamics and enhance the overall performance of my song through using my body and facial gestures more, to ‘All That Jazz’ from the musical Chicago, so that, although I was nervous, I enjoyed the whole experience immensely and it went really well. Six months ago I would never have believed I could have got up on stage and confidently sung on my own – even my Mum couldn’t believe it was me! I love my lessons and they are great fun, which, at the end of the day, is the most important thing”.
Lucy Date: July 2014
9.> LUCY ASHBY-Aged 19 BERKHAMSTED "I have gained a great deal from having lessons with Maria (despite having had singing lessons with a previous teacher). I have definitely improved my breathing control and increased my understanding of how my voice works thanks to all the practical theory, warm ups and techniques Maria has taught me. I am gaining more confidence in my performance ability and I am now even using facial expressions, different vocal timbres and controlling my vocal Dynamics (volume)! I really look forward to my time singing with Maria. She encourages me to bring my personality into my singing and due to this I am gaining so much more from the experience and growing in confidence. I am also looking forward to taking my next Graded exam-(London College of Music Exam) which Maria is training me for-proof of my continuing improvement and a further confidence boost for me.
Emily Daley Date: July 2014
8.> EMILIE DALY-Aged17 "I started singing lessons with Maria in May 2008 and in just a short time my singing voice and confidence have grown to the extent that I felt confident enough to sing a solo in a talent show that July 08! Then in the October 08 I was in my church’s youth concert and sang in front of approximately 200 people! I now sing regularly in church on my own, singing some of the main parts. Before I started singing & performance lessons with Maria I wouldn’t have even dreamed to be able to sing in front my own family! I have learned how my voice works, how I can project more sound and how to perform a song better. I now know which part of my body/muscle groups I need to use to hold long notes (diaphragm, inter-costal muscles, abdominals) and how to control my notes evenly by controlling my air release. I’ve learnt how to breathe better when I sing, reach high notes safely and so many more techniques I never knew existed. I have also been working on my performance technique which has given me far more confidence in my singing. As a result of this I joined an academy of arts where I've sung solo's and been given main parts in musical theatre. I am growing in confidence and now applying to go to University to study The Performing Arts! I could never have done this before I started singing with Maria at A BIG Voice".
Charlotte Pearce Date: July 2014
7.>CHARLOTTE PEARCE "I recently joined ‘A Big Voice’ and since then my confidence has soared! I realised I wasn’t using my voice to its full potential, and with the helpful lesson summary sheets and vocal technique information provided by Maria, I started to understand how sound is produced and how to look after my voice properly. I’m looking forward to taking my exams soon- and Maria has helped me choose songs, music and even made me a CD of backing tracks so I can practice. I never thought of becoming a singer or joining a band, but now the idea seems more than possible! I’ve had a few singing teachers before, and Maria is by far the best"!
Kevin Scott Date: July 2014
6.> KEVIN SCOTT-Age 50+ Sings in Choir/Group "I have been having singing lessons with Maria for a few years now and find them very useful and enjoyable. I have been singing for a long time mainly in choirs but had not previously had any lessons and realise now that I have been getting into bad habits such as not having a correct posture (I am tall and inclined to bend my back) and not breathing properly to enable me to produce a strong even tone. Maria has taught me how to breathe correctly so that I can sustain notes for longer and have more control over my overall sound! I am also being encouraged to improve my diction, dynamics and producing different timbres (sounds) to add 'vocal colour' to my performances. Maria is a very good teacher as she explains things very clearly and demonstrates what she wants you to do and points out in a friendly way when you are doing things wrong and she also encourages you to take responsibility for yourself in improving the way you sing. She has encouraged me to sing some songs which I do not naturally feel comfortable with and not in my normal repertoire but which will stretch me and build my confidence. Lessons challenge me-but are great fun and I usually go away from them satisfied that I have made some more progress.
Lucy Gladwell Date: July 2014
5.> LUCY GLADWELL-Stoke Mandeville “I started singing lessons with Maria in the summer of 2007 because I wanted to strengthen my voice, expand my range and be able to pitch better to enable me to feel confident auditioning for principle roles in the theatre. Since I have been singing with Maria, I have performed in a professional pantomime starring Paul Daniels in which I was picked to record the ensembles backing track along with 5 chosen singers. I recently auditioned for a singing/performance part in My Fair Lady. Out of 400 competitors, I was given a place being the youngest to qualify for a singing part. From the lessons so far, I have learned how to cross bridges/breaks in my voice smoothly, how the voice works in detail, exercises that will develop my range and sustain notes and strengthen my diaphragm and upper-body muscles. I have learned new breathing/pitching/singing techniques, proper posture, performance skills, diction, tone colour, different styles/genres of music. My confidence has increased in my singing voice I can pitch better, hold longer notes and my range has increased so I can now produce 3 notes higher/clearer and 1 note lower/clearer than when I first started lessons)! Singing is much more fun and rewarding now”.
John Gregory Date: July 2014
4.> JOHN GREGORY, Age 26-Tring, Herts "I have been having singing lessons with Maria for over 6 months, at our home. I was quite nervous at the beginning, even sceptical as to what I would get from the lessons; however even in a short space of time my voice has really improved and I have had lots of fun at the same time. Maria is very knowledgeable, exceptionally friendly and full of enthusiasm. She is really understanding and prepared to go at whatever pace you feel comfortable with. From the lessons I have gained real knowledge of how my voice works, along with many techniques to improve it- the lessons are enjoyable and provide a great climate for learning/applying those techniques with modern pop and rock music; that I really like. I have got so much from starting my lessons with Maria and I look forward to carrying on with them, and developing my voice, well into the future. Since having lessons with Maria I have noticed a profound difference to my voice and self- confidence with singing. With her combined technical and practical approach to lessons she has taught me how we use the body to support our voice and what parts are crucial in the voice as an organ. This has not only been very interesting, but also incredibly advantageous in understanding how my voice works and ensuring I mastered the foundations of singing before moving on to more challenging development. The lesson summary sheets that Maria gives us after every lesson make it easy to remember what we’ve learned. Furthermore, she offers a CD with scales and exercises to develop your voice, so there’s no excuse not to improve! I would recommend Maria for fun and down to earth coaching regardless of your experience, age or level of singing, Maria will make you feel comfortable and help you to discover your own beautiful singing voice.
Elizabeth Browne Date: July 2014
3.> ELIZABETH BROWNE "I started having singing lessons with Maria in February 2008. I have learned how to warm up properly, valuable breath control/sound release, what the correct posture is, how to use my diaphragm, rhythm, note value, perfect pitch-using solfa-syllables. My confidence has really improved. We sing all sorts of songs from Musicals to Pop, Disney to Rock! Since my singing lessons started I have had the courage to go to an audition for the ‘’Youth’’ part in the performance of Elijah with the Choral Society. I am in the choir at school and have found I have improved due to help from Maria and consequently moving up to Senior Choir. I would really recommend having lessons with Maria because they are great fun and full of new things to learn.
Steph Buckle Date: July 2014
2.> STEPHANIE BUCKLE-Aged 15 Beaconsfield "Since starting singing lessons with Maria last year and I can see how much I have progressed and learnt. Singing isn’t as easy as it looks, that you just let out some noise and there it is! It takes regular practice, co-ordination of techniques and commitment to learn. I feel I have come along way. Maria has taught me how to warm up carefully and safely without damaging my vocal chords. By doing simple breathing techniques and different scales three times a day for five minutes it strengthens my diaphragm. I have learnt everything from vocal and physical warm ups to vocal placement (different sounds are made by the way my tongue, lips, teeth and jaw and inside of my mouth is placed). I have even recorded a song in a recording studio since having lessons with Maria. Maria has taught me that ‘’anyone can learn to sing’’ but it takes determination and hard work to get the very best out of your voice. I have learnt how the diaphragm, abdominal and intercostals muscles work to support my voice. I am on my way to achieving how to sing properly and I want to carry on learning and growing in confidence with Maria so I can achieve the best to my potential"
Chesham Theatre-Liz Glover Date: July 2014
1.>*CHESHAM THEATRE COMPANY DIRECTOR- (Liz Glover) "-"Maria is a wonderful singing coach – my range and technique have improved considerably and I have more confidence reaching notes I was finding tricky. I had limited myself to just being an alto, but I have now been able to improve my range as a mezzo soprano. I can glide up to my head voice now I understand how to open up my larynx thanks to Maria. I definitely listen to songs differently now and appreciate the whole performance, not just the notes. I am now doing my first leading role in 16 years as a result! Thank you for not giving up on me Maria". Liz.

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