Sandy Cressman's continuing work as a performer and studio vocalist (see Bio & Discography) has enriched her approach to vocal education towards developing the sounds and skills necessary for today’s vocalists. Cressman was trained in both Bel Canto and Speech Level Singing, and continues to explore technique, integrating the principles of Flow Phonation. After finding that all of the available techniques lacked essential elements for application to jazz and popular music, Ms. Cressman created her own method of vocal training, ConnectedVoice. This method unites the development of a “mix” voice with ear training for the complex melodies of jazz and Brazilian music, and focuses on the application of vocal technique to performance. Ms. Cressman is an Adjunct Professor at the California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley, CA, and an Artist in Residence at the Nueva School. She has taught vocal technique, vocal jazz and Brazilian singing at:
Cressman teaches private lessons in voice and vocal technique at the California Jazz Conservatory in Berkeley, CA, at her home studio in San Francisco, as well as via Skype.
Upcoming Masterclasses and Educational Events:
Sandy will be teaching a new section of her Canta Brasil 10 week courses(plus a performance), as well as a Vocal Technique class, starting Tuesday January 7:
This class will explore various genres of Brazilian songs, including samba, bossa nova, choro, baião and frevo. We will learn a song from each genre and its historical and regional roots. We will study the unique rhythmic feels and phrasing of each genre, incorporating some simple percussion instruments while preparing songs for the end-of-quarter student performance.
Tuesdays 6:30 – 8 pm
Jazz singers need a technique that will allow them to express their vocal interpretations and promote the health and longevity of their voices. Sandy Cressman's Vocal Technique combines principles of Bel Canto, Flow Phonation, breathing and support, vocal health connected with ear training for jazz singing. Students will learn warmup and voice-building exercises and how to apply them to their songs.
Tuesdays 4:45- 6:00 pm
June 20-27, 2019
JazzCampWest is an amazing week long music and dance camp focusing on all styles of Jazz. It is a life-changing experience. Sandy will be teaching two Brazilian Music classes, and Jeff will be teaching trombone. For adults and highly motivated/experienced Teens. Click JazzCampWest for details.
Sandy Cressman calls her vocal technique Connected Voice. Her approach to teaching begins with this healthy technique, based on her extensive training in Bel Canto and Flow Phonation technique, To this she adds her extensive performing and touring experience to coaching on style and performance technique in Jazz, Pop, Brazilian and Latin styles. Sandy teaches in French and Portuguese as well.
Sandy Can help you prepare for Auditions, Concert performances, recordings, and College pre-screening.
Sandy's students have performed at:
Broadway Production World Tour of "West Side Story"
Baz Luhrman's "La Boheme' on Broadway;
African American Shakespeare Company
Lorraine Hansbury Theater Company
Cutting Ball Theater Company
San Jose Stage Company
as well as concert venues in the U.S. and in Europe.
Sandy teaches students who sing jazz, latin, musical theatre, pop, dance, and some classical music. Her students range from those who enjoy singing with more ease for enjoyment, to some who record CDs for independent labels and perform in major theatre companies, such as American ConservatoryTheatre, Billy Elliot's Chicago Cast, and Baz Luhrman's "La Boheme on Broadway", to name a few.
Here are some quotes from Sandy's Students:
I am not a singer per se, but an actor who sings. When a major musical film production was auditioning in San Francisco, I wanted to audition for an actor part but, if I recall correctly, they wanted all to sing because of something to do with the chorus, and so an actor/musical director friend offered me two suggestions.
His first suggestion was that I audition for the film. I was not a surprised when I was not cast but the experience sparked something in me. His second suggestion was that I take class with Sandy Cressman.
"Sandy teaches a technique that incorporates “spoken attack” to song that altered my idea of singing. It exposed why my singing voice so often publicly betrayed me. Sandy is the voice of reason that cuts through my insecurity about singing. Sandy has helped me to discover my own voice and given me a working approach to song. She is amazingly talented! Sandy is a phenomenal singer and musician who is extraordinarily patient, and consistently honest without brutality. She can teach! Sandy is my teacher and I have come to trust her guidance and direction unequivocally."
David Wesley Skillman, actor and singer, San Francisco
"I had lost a great deal of my vocal ability after undergoing jaw surgery and an emergency tracheotomy. I decided to reach out to my former teacher, Sandy Cressman, in the hopes that she might be able to help me locate a speech level coach here in the Washington DC area. I was thrilled at her suggestion that we use Skype to work together over the Internet! It worked really well. Over the course of a few months we were able to get my voice back on track and today it's better than it was before the surgical trauma. Thanks Sandy - for thinking outside of the box, and as always, for your great coaching help!"
Mark Bentkower, Washington, D.C.
"As a jazz vocalist whose repertory includes challenging bebop melodies and vocalese, I have found Sandy's Connected Voice approach to vocal technique enormously empowering. Working with Sandy has increased my vocal flexibility, range, and stamina, and given me the tools to take on complex and wide-ranging material with confidence."
Andrea Claiburn, Jazz Vocalist and student, the JazzSchool Institute
I’ve been studying with Sandy for about a year and a half now. The progress
I’ve made in that time is amazing to me. I have more consistency throughout
my range. I now have the confidence to sing notes that I could only dream of
before! Sandy’s focus on technique has given me a new confidence in my
singing. But, she does not teach technique in isolation. Sandy truly
teaches how to really incorporate that technique into songs.
Sandy is such an amazing musician, who has really helped me to stretch with
my own musicianship. She is always incorporating ear training and jazz
scales into lessons and making up new exercises in the middle of songs to
help work through rough spots. I can’t say enough about what a great,
creative teacher she is!
Debbie Faigenbaum, Jazz Singer, San Francisco
Sandy's got an ear that discerns, a mind that analyzes, and a manner that encourages. Her instruction is clear, efficient, and tailored to her students' needs. She's one of the best teachers I've ever encountered, and she's helped me to find my voice."
Brad Bunnin - Berkeley
I'm twenty-three years old and study theatre at the American Conservatory Theatre, as well as piano and guitar at Blue Bear School of American Music. Sandy Cressman has broadened my vocal from a thought-to-be alto to a full range soprano. She has taught me voice control and given me the confidence to sing high range pieces. SandyCressman has changed my vocal technique forever and I could never thank her enough for doing so. Thank you Sandy!"
"Working with Sandy gave me more confidence and a very different approach to singing. Her fluency in French made it also very comfortable for me and she was able to understand exactly where I was coming from and what my needs were."
Anabelle Lombard-Varma Paris
"Sandy taught me allot of great exercises and was fun, efficient and clear to work with! I highly recommend her!"
"I have been studying with Sandy for over a year now. My voice has improved and changed significantly. I have a technical understanding now of voice I never knew existed. I have found my chest voice and can nowmaneuver better between head and chest. I can really tell the difference when I sing songs that challenged me my entire life. Sandy’s breadth of knowledge, patience and focus is a blessing, and she is a joy to work with."
Joanne Brion, 45
Novice but passionate singer – lover of music,Urban Economist by day.
Sandy has been a great coach and mentor over the past 3 years. I was very close to giving up on singing since I had vocal health issues (nodules) and had not been happy with past instructors.
Connected-Voice singing has been the only answer and is, I feel, the best way to obtain a healthy, trained voice with much greater range and movement.
Sandy has worked diligently with me to help me reach a much more comfortable level of singing and one I feel confident with during performances. She has opened up a broad range of songs to me. In the past I would not approach certain songs, now I feel confident and ready to tackle any tune. Her approach allows for a much greater range and substance to the whole voice.
Sandy is a performer and has recorded a number of CD's so her expertise in these areas always come in handy. Her patience and encouragement have been extremely helpful!! I highly recommend her!!!
Tess Totte, Portola Valley, CA
"Sandy has helped me achieve a vocal balance that has increased my range, broadened my tonal options, and strengthened my physical support. I have greater endurance and confidence, and don't get hoarse anymore after hours of recording or weeks of touring. Sandy's techniques for narrowing vowel sounds have helped me sing difficult parts with greater ease. She has given me invaluable tools that are second nature to me now such as: visualizing the notes before I sing them, relaxing my posture, and breathing techniques. I have studied with Sandy for - wow- nine years! I would not be the singer I am today without her coaching. Irecommend Sandy as a voice teacher to all singers, whether they are professional or just beginning!"
essence, recording artist, vocalist, songwriter
"Since I have been studying with Sandy, I have improved in the following areas: tone quality, focus of sound, extended range, expressiveness, and I am more relaxed and confident. Sandy exposed me to new singers (for me) and great repertoire. (Not the usual standards that are sung to death) I learned new ways to interpret a song that work for me. I have never seen any other teacher pack so much into a half hour time slot. I always learned new things and had plenty of tunes and technique to work on between lessons."
Liz Klute, Oakland, CA
"Sandy is truly an exceptional voice teacher. She teaches solid technique and facility with the voice in a very supportive and patient way, She'ssensitive to and supportive of her student's artistry and expression. A rare combination of qualities in the world of voice teaching. She has my highest recommendation!"
Julia Lau, Vocalist and Instructor, Oakland, CA
"Studying privately with Sandy has had a significant impact on my musical career. Her patient and nurturing teaching style in combination with her technical and aesthetic expertise of the voice has allowed me to reach a more advanced level of singing. On many occasions I have approached her with material from various traditions and languages. In every case she quickly adapted her teaching to suite my specific needs. In my experience the SERIOUS instructors are equally versed in performance as they are in teaching skills. Sandy is an incredible artist in both realms,one in the art of vocal performance and the other in the art of teaching. She possesses all the qualities that sum up a great educator and I am grateful that she is my teacher."
Sarine Balian, San Francisco, CA
"I started studying with Sandy over a year ago. Classically trained as a violinist, I was a novice in certain areas of vocal technique, jazz/popular phrasing, and improvisation while being extremely advanced in other areas. Through a balanced approach of building up my vocal abilities while working on a variety of song types, I have grown a great deal in a year. Sandy is a great artist in her own right, and with her help andsuggestions, she has shown me how to find my voice as both a singerand an interpreter."
Julia Ogrydziak, Oakland, CA