Hello! My name is Mariam Tsimpris McFalls, and I have taught private voice and piano lessons for the last 20 years. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Voice from the University of Houston. I am originally from Wood River, IL (St. Louis area) and attended Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville for 2 years before relocating to Houston. I graduated from U of H in 1986. I studied voice with Ms. Jean Preston at U of H, and with Ms. Sarah Turner at SIU.
Through the years I’ve taken different career paths – I was a licensed Optician and Corporate Trainer for 15 years, I also managed an electronics engineering company, as well as tackling the financial world of corporate tax laws. However, music has always been my first love, my backbone, my saving grace. My happiest moments are with a student, guiding them on their musical journey, and seeing their face light up when they have accomplished a piece that they thought they would never be able to do.
My focus of teaching voice is classical in nature. I believe that the purpose of a voice teacher is to master the techniques of using the voice properly. The first 10 minutes of a voice lesson is devoted to vocal exercise, followed by a vocalise. The latter half of the lesson is devoted to readying songs for performance. My specialties are classical art songs and arias, and Broadway tunes.
My teaching is more traditional in nature, however, I am familiar with jazz/blues improvisation, and learning with lead sheets.
When teaching piano, I focus on five areas: Lesson, technique, theory, general musicianship skills (scales, chords, harmonization, improvisation, sightreading, & ear training), and project pieces from various eras of music (baroque, classical, romantic, contemporary, & jazz/pop/rock). Depending on time, I won’t always cover each area in a lesson, but will touch on all during the course of the year.
Some of the things we use in the studio to heighten the learning experience is technology. Students will have the opportunity to use such pedagogical programs as SmartMusic, Home Concert Xtreme, and Classroom Maestro to help develop musicality. For skype lessons, Internet MIDI is a great tool! Areas of focus: sightreading, transposition, scales & chord structure, harmonization, and creative composition. I relate these ideas in a non-stress yet motivating climate. In addition to musical skills, my “keys” to success are communication and fun!
- Music Teachers National Association
- Austin District Music Teachers Association
- Bay Area Music Teachers Association
- Wednesday Morning Music Club – National Federation of Music Clubs, Austin
- Gulf Coast Music Association – National Federation of Music Clubs, Clear Lake (gold cup) – President 2011-2015
- National Guild of Piano Teachers
- National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS)
- Choir Director, St. John the Theologian Greek Orthodox Church – 1998 to present
Festivals students may participate in:
- Jazz/Pop Festival – in the Fall
- State Theory Test (student affiliate members only) – in the Fall and Spring
- Contemporary/Baroque Repertoire Festival – January/February
- Gold Cup Festival – typically first Saturday in March
- Romantic/Sonatina Repertoire Festival – April
- Musicianship Repertoire Festival – late April
- Piano Guild – May
Additionally, I hold two recitals a year, in December, and late spring.