Driven by a passion for teaching and learning, coupled with a love and reverence for all things artsy and musical, Shelby Rollins has a lot to offer anyone who wants to deliver his or her voice to its fullest potential.
Through her experience as a live performer in New York City, recording artist in Nashville, church choir coach, composer, and musician (piano, guitar), coupled with a B.A. in Theatre from Florida State University, this Brett Manning Associate brings a keen understanding and heightened perspective to her teaching that can bring out the best in anyone from the shiest, knee-shaking newbie to the confident seasoned performer looking to refine and enhance their skills.
“I really love every single voice I hear,” she said. “My goal is to make that unique voice of each of my students the very best it can be.”
She’s Been There
The native Floridian looks at each student with fresh eyes and ears, taking into account differences in personality, life experience, how they learn, and what they’ve learned about singing as Shelby engages her very first lesson. And, she understands issues faced by those that have studied methods that are so different from what Brett Manning teaches because she’s been there herself. She helps you piece things together because she has so many disciplines to draw from.
“I was classically trained for the most part; plus I did a lot of reading and research on my own,” she said. “Most of what I’d learned was the Alexander method. It deals a lot with breathing and lifting the soft palate. So, I developed a great deal of knowledge about anatomy, but it really wasn’t much help for me as a singer.”
From Classical To Magical
She’s found that many of her students with a background in classical training come in with preconceived notions that cause them to initially resist and judge what’s being taught with Brett’s method.
“What I teach flies in the face of classical training,” she said. “You make a strange sound or an ugly noise to get that perfect coordination, but there’s resistance because it doesn’t sound pretty. Judging hinders progress.”
She’s found a similar situation with some seasoned performers, especially those that have a strong sense of personal style. They may have a hard time with just letting go to find a coordination. But Shelby wins them over once they understand that her goal is not to change their style but to enhance what they already do. She works with them to make things more readily accessible so that they’re free to do whatever they want with their voice.
Another potential stumbling block she finds in students comes with shyness. That creates a resistance to letting go, getting aggressive, and just having fun exploring. But, Shelby’s been been there, too. She understands what it feels like to struggle with holding back and has even faced a few battles with confidence.
After moving to New York right after graduation from FSU, Shelby gained a lot of live performance experience as a singer-songwriter playing out on the lower East side, with a few gigs in Brooklyn. Shelby also has four albums to her credit as a performer, with two of those showcasing her singer-songwriter pop styling with a few cover tunes. It was in New York that she also met her soon to be husband, Tanner Rollins, at the church she attended.
The Brett Connection
While navigating the professional pressures and pleasures of the New York scene as a performer and teacher, Shelby personally struggled to find her mix, to understand how to relate to her students. So she still had issues with opening up as a singer and teacher. But that all changed once she was introduced to Brett Manning through Kevin Singleton, the Worship Leader at her church in New York City.
“Kevin would keep mentioning Brett to the worship team,” she said. “Six months before approaching Brett for certification, Kevin planted the bug that I meet with Brett since I was already teaching. So, Kevin and I came here to Nashville in July 08.”
That First Breakthrough Revelation
“I watched Brett teach for two days,” she said. “I thought, oh my gosh, I can’t believe he made that singer do that in an hour. I’d look at that and say it took me six months to get a student to do what he just did in fifty minutes. I realized I was making it harder than it is. What he’s teaching gets results so much faster.”