Metropolis Profile: Voice Teacher Tiffany Gates

January 12, 2011 § Leave a comment

Tell me how you decided to begin your career in music – how old were you, and how did you know you wanted this path? Was there a defining moment, or was it a longer process of internal recognition?

I knew that I wanted to be “a singer” from the moment I could talk! I never even had a thought about anything else I wanted to be, music was it and has been it my entire life. Because of my interest in music, my Mother took me to a local community theater to see a youth production. I fell in love with the thought and spectacle of theater. I remember seeing the child actors in the lobby after the performance and I just thought they were like famous people. At age seven I auditioned for my first play and got the part of “Dori” the dwarf in a musical version of “The Hobbit”.

What is your favorite thing about your instrument?

I think that the human voice in general is amazing. Each voice is different and can do different things in different ways. I love that singing is such a personal experience and each voice is unique to each person.

What is the most interesting place you’ve ever visited as a result of your career – whether traveling for a performance, a teaching gig or for schooling?

In college, I performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland.

What do you say to students that are taking lessons, enjoy playing, but can’t see themselves pursuing music performance in college or pursuing it as a career after college?

I think that being a musician at any level is great! You don’t have to be Pavarotti to be classified as a singer. But, I say that if a person had interest to take private lessons at some point, music should be a part of one’s life always.

What sacrifices have you made in order to have the career that you now have?

Well, I certainly don’t have a “normal” schedule and late nights are the norm. While in High School and College, I didn’t have much time for TV or movies, so I’m a little behind in the pop culture aspect of life and I get made fun of for it. But, I wouldn’t change that for anything. I love the fact that I was able to study my craft and gain a lot of skills that I use everyday.

What about your career could you do without?

The competitive nature of the theater and classical voice worlds. I think that we all have our unique gifts and skills and singers should be more focused on their own personal growth instead of what everyone else is doing, getting cast in, or what organization they are singing with/for.

What about your career can you not get enough of?

I really can’t think of a thing! I feel like I get to do everything that I love at some level on a daily basis.

What music do you listen to in your downtime?

I know this sounds like a generic answer, but anything and everything – except country.

What other artistic endeavor do you spend time on?

I own my own business called Harmonious Horizons where I teach an internationally recognized early childhood music and movement program called Music Together®. We have classes in Glenview, Northbrook, Skokie, and Wilmette. I really love teaching this program and being a business owner. I get to tap into the business side of myself that I didn’t really know was there.

What is your favorite field in the arts that you spend the most time appreciating (Painting? Theatre? Reading?)

Well, Music first, but then I would have to say Literature would be second. As an adult, I have really come to appreciate a well-written book.

What is your favorite piece of advice related to being a musician that you give? And have received?

To really love your craft and the voice you have been given. As singers, we have an advantage over other instruments in that we have the gift of language to add to the story of a song. The lyrics are so important and the way a singer shapes those words is the difference between a mediocre and spectacular performance.

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