top of page

The Studio of Phoebe Gildea

Teaching Philosophy

Music can be a deeply personal and vulnerable expression of humanity. The voice is the only instrument that requires a musician to create the music out of their own body, and learn to be both instrument and player, making it even more vulnerable. My ultimate goals as a teacher are to create a safe space for exploration, nurture healthy technique that can support a lifetime of singing, build performance skills, and inspire curiosity about music theory and history at the appropriate level.

I come from a background of classical voice and piano technique, including a bachelor of music in performance. I am an active professional performer in opera, oratorio, and theater (both musical and non). My speciality is voice, and I can teach singers at every level. I have also played piano for 30 years, and can teach beginning to intermediate piano students. My teaching style is positive and fun, with high standards for those who want to pursue music as a career. I believe in compassionate honesty with equal emphasis on both words. I affirm and support my trans and queer students.

I am a student-led teacher, meaning that I prefer to meet students where they are and work on what most interests them, rather than following the same set curriculum with every student.

My lessons can include elements of the following, depending on the student's needs and interests:

  • Technique: Every musician needs a solid understanding of breathing, resonance, alignment, and articulation.

  • Crossover vocal styles: I specialize in classical and musical theater styles, and especially singers who want to do both; these styles also work for most pop and folk music.

  • Musicianship: We can practice reading music, ear training, piano skills for singers, music theory, sight reading, music history, and other topics that enhance your music-making.

  • Body Mapping: I am a Licensed Body Mapping Educator, which means I am qualified to teach the class "What Every Musician Needs to Know About the Body," and to incorporate functional anatomy for musicians into my lessons.

  • Acting and storytelling: All music has an element of emotional expression, and every song has a story to tell. Singers will practice character work, connecting acting and vocal choices, physicality, and gesture choices. Pianists will apply similar principles in different ways.

  • Stage Fright Survival Skills: Performance anxiety is completely normal, and I still feel it every time I get on stage. You don't have to just power through it! We can practice specific strategies to help you enjoy your time on stage even when you're nervous. If you want more intense help with this specific challenge, check out my online course Say Goodbye to Stage Fright.


I am here for late-bloomers and misfits. I was overlooked and told I wasn’t good enough when I was a teenager. I didn’t know that I needed different tools, rather than to try harder at the same tools that worked for others but consistently failed me. I have a large voice in a small body and I spent years trying to squash my voice to fit what people expected of me. I want to empower my students to find what they want and feel, and to let go of the expectations of others.


I teach students in person in Portland, OR, and virtually all over the world.

I am certified by the OperaWorks teaching artist program (levels 1&2), and am a full member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and a licensed member of the Association for Body Mapping Education.

The Studio of Phoebe Gildea is currently accepting new students. Limited space is available.

To request a trial lesson, click the button below.

"We cannot say enough good things about Phoebe and her voice lessons.  My daughter loves her voice lessons with Phoebe.  She is almost always tired and low energy when she goes into her lessons (as they’re after a long day and week at school), and invariably she comes out recharged, energized, big smile on her face, and happy about life. Phoebe has helped my daughter liberate, develop, and strengthen her voice.  And she has given her an expansive array of techniques for dealing with performance anxiety and stage fright. Phoebe gives her confidence, courage, and really helpful tools for being an empowered young woman in today’s challenging times."

- Rebecca, parent

I have been taking voice lessons from Phoebe for almost two years. Going into lessons I was initially really scared and had terrible stage fright. I can’t tell you that after a week I was singing on broadway, but I definitely got far more than I expected. Phoebe is warm and welcoming; even in the first weeks I felt totally comfortable singing my heart out. She uses a collection of tricks, tips, and weird poses (including squats, wavy air motions, and much more) to help you engage all the right parts of your body. Despite the sometimes ridiculous themes in broadway songs, she has never let me sing, “He doesn’t act as tho he cares, but deep inside I know he cares, ” without telling me that I should demand more than that. Furthermore, her witty humor and playful personality means I am laughing all the way through class. Phoebe has been helping me overcome my stage fright. Even when I forget every single word and turn beet red on stage she is in the first row mouthing my next line. Phoebe is not only a great teacher, but also a role model and friend to all of her students.”

- Althea, 18

"It’s nice to find a teacher so passionate about teaching teenagers.  Phoebe understands not only the unique vocal needs of a teenager's changing instrument but also the social challenges they face daily.   My daughter started lessons with Phoebe over a year ago.   She’s learning vocal technique, aural training, and sight reading along with coping strategies for nervousness and breathing techniques.  My daughter's skill and confidence get stronger every session.  It brings tears to my eyes to hear my daughter sing, she’s learned so much, but most important - she loves to sing and Phoebe has nurtured her love for music."

- Sara, parent

"One aspect of our lessons that I greatly enjoy and appreciate is your knowledge of the science and physicality of using our voices. I like how you point out the very useful and practical details of breathing, posture, and how the vocal folds are working while I’m singing, the way to open the inside back of my mouth to allow the right sound to come out, how my skeleton is functioning (“You have a tailbone!”), and many other physical details that allow me to make the sounds I want to make. It is a real privilege to work with someone who is so aware of (and still curious and learning about) how our bodies do what they do. Thank you for sharing what you know to help make more music in the world!"

-Lisa, adult student

Untitled design (1).jpg
bottom of page