August 11, 2020

Voice Instructors: Lesly de Groot

Lesly de Groot

What has been your role with Riverdale Rising Stars so far?

I recently had the pleasure of assisting Laurie Walton and Greg Kantor with the Riverdale Rising Stars Jr production of “Oklahoma!”.  My critics (well, my two children) gave it not one, not two, but FOUR thumbs up!

What NEW venture will you be taking on with RRS now?  

I am thrilled to be joining the vocal coaching staff.

We know you have been busy lately with your creative side. What exactly have you been up to when not working with RRS? 

As a re-newed member of AGMA I have access to Actor’s Equity auditions and I feel like a kid in a candy store!  This past week alone I’ve joyously bellowed 16 bars for the casting directors of Wicked and Phantom of the Opera.  Afterwards, my face hurt from smiling.

Thanks to my teaching position in Harlem, I am working with an amazing team of Kindergarten educators to write micro-mini musicals.  We are utilizing either popular story texts or poems featuring refrain-like aspects and turning them into musical pieces.  A teacher or performer performs the narration followed by the children chiming in with the refrains either in rhythmic chant or melodic refrain.  Composition is relatively new to me and I’m amazed at how easily it comes to kids!

How did you find your way into teaching voice?

Luckily, numerous musical mentors have encouraged parents of young singers to give me an “audition”.  However, I recently joined the music faculty of Horace Mann after a ten year private teaching hiatus followed by one very lucky interview.

What do you find most rewarding about teaching voice?  

Watching a student realize they accomplished a goal, big or small, is exciting but even more so if you’ve been instrumental in the process.

How would you say your style is different than other voice teachers?  

I don’t know a lot of other voice teachers but I do know that when I was a kid I couldn’t find a teacher.  There were always prerequisites I could not meet.  “She’s too young, she needs piano lessons, she can wait until she’s fully grown,  etc etc etc.”  As a result, I always try to focus on the individual more than the subject matter.  If I can discover how the individual student thinks, how they are inspired, what type of music is preferred and how it moves them…then we can accomplish almost anything with time, positive attitude and dedication.

What TV shows are you watching now?

Downton Abbey!  Are there others?!

What was the last show you saw?  

“Oklahoma!” …only five times though

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