My name is Denise Guthrie and I am a professional singer and voice teacher in the northern Virginia area. I have been studying with David Troup for about six years. In just a few of those years David helped me go from being a tentative singer with a limited range to a confident and versatile professional.
David helps his students deconstruct all the elements that hinder proper singing technique, and he gets them involved in understanding what needs to be done to improve their technique. No other voice teacher has helped me to identify so concretely the difficulties in my singing and to develop techniques that bring about a more confident and uniform sound. I have studied with other decent teachers, but none of them were able to identify lasting solutions to my vocal challenges as clearly as David Troup has done.
These years of study with him have resulted in my ability to sing many styles of music beautifully every time. It is such a great gift to know that whatever and whenever the “gig,” I have the tools to do a great job. I’ve learned techniques to create a beautiful sound despite the physical effects of allergies or sickness. I have gained effective use of all of my range and can tailor my sound to fit many categories of vocal music. My lessons have also extended into learning how to create a business and earn income as a singer, a subject that is sadly missing from university classes nearly everywhere.
If you are looking for the tools to sing beautifully every time, do consider studying with David Troup. I value everything I have learned from him, and you will not regret your decision to work with him.
Recently, my singing teacher, David Troup, asked me to describe how I go about practicing at my home. I hope this will be of help to other singing students:
My lesson is on Monday, so I begin organized practice for the week by listening to the lesson CD while riding my exercise bike Tuesday morning. I select a couple of specific technique assignments to work on. My practice sessions take place in the basement, where I use a wall mirror to observe my “facial posture” as I sing. I also have a keyboard and an inexpensive digital voice recorder. The basement location muffles the sound somewhat so that I don’t start all of the dogs in the neighborhood (or my wife) howling in pain. My practice sessions begin with a warm-up, starting in the middle range and working upward and downward. I try to use a different vocal exercise each week, usually chosen from the most recent compact disc that David recorded during each lesson.
After my warm-up, I practice one or two technical points for about ten minutes, and then try singing a song or two, keeping in mind the technical points I just practiced. I don’t play the keyboard well, but I use it sparingly to keep myself generally on pitch. I use the recorder to capture brief stretches of my singing so that I can better analyze my progress. The sound quality is not great, but it gives truer feedback that can be obtained by trying to listen to myself while I’m singing. I try to practice three times a day, about twenty minutes each. That doesn’t always work out, but it’s my goal. I supplement my practice routine by singing whenever I am alone in the car, although I doubt the quality of that practice is very good, lacking as it does all of the tools I have at home.
I have been retired since 2006. I have a Ph.D. in biochemistry, and have enjoyed a long career at the National Institutes of Health. I first tried singing in the college glee club. I had no formal lessons, but I liked it a lot. After college, the intensity of graduate school, followed by career, marriage, and children, kept me from finding a way to keep up with singing. I didn’t get back to it until I retired. I auditioned for, and was accepted into, the National Philharmonic Chorale, which practices and performs at the Strathmore Performing Arts Center. I was surprised they accepted me, but I quickly realized that I needed some real vocal training if I was going to keep up. David Troup was recommended, and I’ve enjoyed over three years of singing lessons with him. I’m never going to be a great of singer, but I have a lot more confidence now, and I’m enjoying singing more than I ever have before!
“What kind of music do you sing?” David Troup asked me. We had met through a mutual friend, and singing had not been the connection. “I don’t sing,” I replied. “What do you mean you don’t sing?” I admitted to trying some classic rock and show tunes alone in the shower, but qualified it with: ”I was the kid at school whom the drama teacher directed, ‘You mouth the words, Helen... don’t sing.’”
David walked over to the piano, hit a note and asked, “Can you sing that note?” I guess I did because he then said, “I can teach you to sing.”
And thus I began an odyssey of lessons that have been wonderful, fun and, yes, have taught me to sing! I am not the best student: I work hard at my lessons but do not devote the time to practice, as I know I should. And I am unlikely to join a chorus or choir, which would help me a lot. But I am now able to sing along happily with others in a variety of settings with little self-consciousness and much pleasure. I always leave my lessons happy!
My voice lessons have let me access an area of my brain that, ordinarily, I seldom visit. In addition, the lessons have given me the expansive experience of doing something outside of my comfort zone in mid-life. I can’t imagine a better teacher than David Troup for this. He brings knowledge of music theory and Bel Canto technique, a wealth of professional entertaining experience and a wonderful sense of humor and play to his work. I recommend him highly.
Helen C. Epps, Ph.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
As a soon-to-graduate student at James Madison High School in Vienna, Virginia, I began to study singing with David Troup in the spring of 2009. My hope was that doing so would assist me in gaining membership to a higher-level chorus in college. The knowledge that I gained of singing from just the first lesson was phenomenal, and through the course of the next few months, my understanding of vocal technique was expanded profoundly. The most powerful motivation for my improvement was the prospect of receiving praise as a result of singing with proper techniques. As time progressed, I became increasingly more comfortable with my voice, and I gained even more confidence in my singing ability. Looking at the act of singing from this more in-depth perspective, I came to understand my own vocal flaws and to steadily rectify them each week. As the summer closed, and I prepared to enter my freshman year at William and Mary, I felt that my newfound knowledge of vocal technique, as well as my increased confidence with my singing ability, would undoubtedly aid me in reaching my summer goal.
Singing, for me, has always been a God-given talent. My earliest memories consist of my singing along to Disney cassettes and performing my mini-opera creations for my grandmother. When I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always replied, "A singing star!" Unfortunately, life has a way of polluting your dreams, and, over the years, I fooled myself into believing that a singing career was a fast track to nowhere.
As a result, I entered George Mason University in the fall of 2008 as a pre-med student. At the same time, I began studying voice with David Troup. In my first lesson with him, I began making the sounds I had only dreamed about. I floated out of his studio when that lesson was over!
As the year progressed, I began to reconsider a career in medicine and, with the approval of brave and supportive parents, I took a year off at GMU to completely dedicate myself to an intense study of vocal production, music theory, repertoire and performance with David Troup. It was the best decision I ever made, and his abilities as a teacher and performer have made it so.
David knows how to adapt his voice to many singing styles without compromising its quality. Through his guidance, I have learned to sing different genres of music ranging from jazz to opera with equal beauty, control, power and excitement. Moreover, I have gained a great amount of confidence in my solo performing, and I can now sing for an audience of people I have never met and love every minute of it!
In addition, David is a superb musician who seamlessly blends his knowledge of musicianship into each lesson. My sight-reading skills and understanding of music theory have improved exponentially under his guidance.
Furthermore, David has a natural ability to teach the art of singing. He formulates his explanations of vocal techniques in a fun and approachable manner, and he finds alternative ways to help you understand when a concept is not clear. Above all, David Troup's greatest gift as a teacher is his positive and encouraging nature with everyone he teaches.
I am about to release my first commercial CD project, featuring thirteen jazz arrangements from the 20th century's Great American Song Book, and David is co-producing it. Now in my third year of voice lessons with David, I am so thrilled to be building my career as a singer.
am a part-time gigging musician in a blues band, playing guitar and singing
lead vocals. I have been working with David to improve my singing
control, tone and appropriate "blues" diction. He has been very
supportive of my efforts and he acknowledges that I have no desire to be either
an opera singer or a Broadway singer. In fact, David is very comfortable with
my pursuit of the blues genre. My level of confidence and control with my
singing are much improved thanks to my voice lessons. I recommend David to other blues and rock band singers who
want to learn how to protect their vocal cords as well as how to sing with a
Glenn Mickelson, CFP®
Professional Financial Solutions, LLC
Here are a couple of "thank you" letters
from parents of students:
I just wanted to express my husband’s and my sincere appreciation for encouraging and teaching voice lessons to our son, John-Austin.
There is a noticeable difference between those who just teach and those who truly have a passion to see others learn and have a desire to share a love of their craft. Thanks for sharing your passion for music with our son and encouraging him to appreciate and love music. As my husband and I are somewhat musically challenged, mentoring for John-Austin is important for him to fully realize his potential. Your lessons go far beyond the voice. You are always encouraging him to learn and strive to be the best he can be. You make the lessons fun, and as a result, the learning just comes naturally.
His lesson CDs are a special gift for his Mom, when I get a chance to hear them. They are priceless and to be treasured. It is amazing to hear the development in his voice, even from week to week.
Your energy and enthusiasm is refreshing. The learning is rich and his vocal skills are rapidly maturing. But most importantly, he is enjoying his lessons, and he recognizes the many improvements he is making.
Thanks for all you do!
Lori (and Charlie) Haislip
I am sending this note to you to express thanks for all you do for Rachel! Thank you for not only the great voice and music instruction you impart, but also the greater wisdom you inject over the course of your lessons, particularly with Rachel's auditions and college plans on the horizon. I know all this probably comes quite naturally for you, due to your fine character, but Christine and I both are very grateful.
I should mention that the lesson CDs that she occasionally leaves in my car, are incredible gifts for us to hear. We've only listened to a couple, fearing we were intruding, but what a delight it is to listen to the productive repartee, and the voices... ah... the voices.
If she leaves the CD from today's lesson in the car, then it also is fair game!
David & Christine Slupe