The Singing Success program generates positive results for students of all ages. Those results are viewed by many as life-changing, and the impact is realized by friends and family.
For Jennifer Metcalf, a high school history teacher in New Jersey, that positive impact has been further enhanced by the gifts and unique bond that Deborah “Zuke” Smith (Brett Manning Associate) has formed with Jennifer’s young daughter, Sophia. Jennifer and Sophia found out about Zuke and made the switch from a frustrating experience with a teacher affiliated with a prominent local establishment to a powerful, nurturing relationship with Zuke.
“Sophia is a confident, hard working 13 year old young lady,” Jennifer said. “First discovering her passion for the dramatic arts before age seven, Sophia entered voice lessons with a local teacher at age nine…but both of us found frustration with her lack of coaching.”
A Perfect Match
At the very first lesson with Zuke, Jennifer (and Sophia) knew they had made the right decision. Sophia told Zuke about her former teacher, describing her as an accompanist.
“Zuke, by comparison, was engaged, body and soul in the development of my child,” Jennifer said. “Sophia left her first lesson with a list of practice sounds. I left her first lesson with a strong background of head voice and vocal chord development. By the time we reached home, we had received an emailed MP3 file of scales. Who could ask for more?”
Above And Beyond
It didn’t take long before Jennifer realized that there was more to come from Sophia’s coach and that not only could more be asked, it was encouraged. Jennifer was amazed that Zuke was not only was incredibly accommodating with the busy schedule of her talented 13 year-old daughter, Zuke would give advice and counsel over the internet about song choices and tonal qualities.
Zuke also encourages support and input from the parent as she engages their child and helps them strengthen their voice.
“I invite all parents to sit in, but while the parent is there I look at the student and ask if it’s ok,” Zuke said. “This way, the student knows I hold their feelings in a special place. Many parents who stay often will cry during the lesson. It is unconditional love for their child when they see the most vulnerable side of them shine.”
Develop The Whole Person
Jennifer found Zuke’s interest in developing the whole person and not just the voice as a quality she seeks in both friends and teachers.
“… Zuke sponsored an evening which featured her voice students singing their own personally scripted songs,” Jennifer said. “Kids at the age of seven sang about Roller-coasters, and kids at age of 15 sang about broken hearts. The whole evening was rounded out by Deb’s personal connections with local professional musicians, her husband included. Deb went on to sponsor a second talent night at a local restaurant, featuring karaoke style singing for the local diners. She was asking her students to take risks with performing, while fully supporting their preparation and presentation.”
More than anything Jennifer is amazed by Sophia’s growth under Zuke’s guidance. In terms of Sophia’s growth under Zuke’s tutelage, Jennifer recalls one confidence-busting day for her young teenage daughter. She immediately called Zuke to see if a lesson could be scheduled right away to boost her spirits and get her positively focused.
“She said, sure, seeming to sense the desperation of a guardian-lion parent,” Jennifer said. “After a hearty vocal workout, Sophia emerged as the strong, talented girl I know her to be. Another indicative story involves a local play. While Sophia was not the lead in the play, it was her voice that seemed to sail through the company’s chorus. Her vocal power has grown under the umbrella of Deb’s guidance, encouragement and care.”
More On Zuke
Zuke brings her own unique style and nurturing nature to the Singing Success program. The breast cancer survivor who feared the worst when she lost her singing voice during chemotherapy believes in the program because she knows it works.
“I subscribed to his Singing Success Online videos and started doing the exercises that were demonstrated,” Zuke said. “Within one week I added and extra half octave to my range. Within a few months I was singing higher and stronger than I had before cancer. I found my vocal geek and wanted more. The guidance and instruction I am receiving from Brett and all of the Associates in Nashville is an overwhelmingly beautiful gift.”
Zuke counts Sophia Metcalf and her mother, Jennifer, as being among the beautiful gifts of being a Brett Manning Associate for Singing Success. Visit www.myspace.com/zuketunes for more on Deborah “Zuke” Smith.