My philosophy of teaching is to find the natural balance of each individual: that balance where the voice functions easily, with strength but without tension, and at its most beautiful. As a teacher, my goal is to truly listen: to empathize with students in the creation of their sound and to coach them toward their best, vocally, without imposing a superficial technique on them.
I take an individually tailored, holistic approach to each student. I believe I should teach my students autonomy. My aim is to teach them how to think independently. They should learn to think critically and understand the general principles of healthy voice function; learn how their individual instrument functions at its best; and know how their voice may function differently from others. Without these skills, one cannot successfully make the transition from student to professional.
Brenda Holleman received her bachelor’s of music at Illinois State University and her master’s in music from the University of Illinois, Urbana.
From 1992-2001, Professor Holleman taught at the Sydney Conservatorium, University of Sydney, where she acted as head of Vocal Studies and Opera. Her students won major competitions in Australia and abroad, including the Met Auditions, the Mathy Award ($25,000), The Sun-Herald Aria ($30,000), and the Joan Sutherland Vocal Award. Her students have successful careers in opera and Music Theater, and include artists with Opera Australia, Sydney Theater Company, Theatre of the Imagination, and OzOpera.
Professor Holleman joined the faculty of Oklahoma City University in 2001. At OCU Ms. Holleman teaches vocal performance and music theater majors, as well as Advanced Vocal Pedagogy. Her OCU students have seen success in National Tours, off-Broadway and in regional companies in both opera and Music Theater. They include winners of the Regional Met Auditions, the MET Young Singers Encouragement Award, the Blevins/Thrower Award, the Stephen Dickson Award and the Texoma Regional NATS.
Professor Holleman is a Priddy IV Fellow, a learning community whose mission is scholarly pursuit of excellence in teaching and learning, advocating arts integration across the curriculum through the exploration of new and alternative methods of course design and disciplinary expertise.