Stephanie Bruce began teaching music in the early 1980’s with private students, and in 1985 began the Singer’s Performance Workshop, one of the first vocal performance classes of its kind in the Bay Area. She taught for five years at the Blue Bear School of American Music in San Francisco before joining Berkeley’s Jazzschool faculty in 1997 where she taught numerous classes for nine years. In 2002 she taught at Jazzcamp West and has been a faculty member of the Sierra Jazz Society Jazz Camp every summer since 2003. She is currently teaching a variety of classes as well as private lessons in her own studio, all ages, beginning to advanced levels.
Areas of specialty in vocal instruction: vocal technique, musicianship/theory, charts, repertoire development, arranging, songwriting, improvising, performance, developing personal style, accompaniment, jazz, folk, pop, original music.
“My goal is to help the student first, define what it is that is driving them toward the pursuit of music, and secondly, to achieve results that will serve to actualize the ideas the student has envisioned. Sometimes this is a long process, and sometimes the student comes to instruction with a natural aptitude and desire that takes on a life of its own. In any case, my job as a teacher is to keep providing the tools that will move the student forward, to keep challenging and encouraging, so the student will experience discovery in his/her own process.
I respect the personal nature of artistic expression. When students are stuck I have many ways of nudging them into action, but try to keep tossing the ball back to them so they learn to make up their own minds. It takes patience and imagination to maintain rigorous musical standards while celebrating the milestones of progress. At the heart of my feeling about teaching music is that it should be fun. When it’s fun, the learning comes more easily.”
“Stephanie Bruce’s performance classes are a unique experience for the vocal student. Always pushing the envelope, she encourages singers to try new things and stretch their own personal limits, often with surprising and wonderful results. As a teacher she is a one-stop-shop; she is not only a wonderful singing teacher, as well as performance coach, but she is an really great pianist and arranger, which makes taking a lesson from her extremely productive. She knows what vocalists need to learn and she will get you there.”
“I came to Stephanie after several decades of not singing at all, and my only prior experience had been as a classical vocalist. I had a dream of singing a jazz concert to celebrate my 60th birthday. It was a major life challenge for me, and Stephanie was the perfect teacher to help this dream get realized. She was supportive and tough at the same time. Her knowledge of the voice is deep and it transcended my non-jazz training. She helped me gain both knowledge and courage. The whole experience of singing with Stephanie has opened me to a love of the jazz standards that brings me joy every day. She is an inspiring teacher.”
“I hope you know how highly I value your skills, both as teacher and as killer musician. As a teacher, I marvel at your patience, your positivity, and your ability to draw the best out of each of your students. As a musician, your ability to wrap lovely music around any of the gawd-awful wierdness we may drag in front of you is a souce of delight and inspiration. That you offer us such expressive, truly beautiful music in the context of a beginner’s workshop amazes and inspires me.”
“There are so many things I appreciate about working with you that it's hard to know where to begin. You have the ability to work me hard without making it seem like hard work. There's a real professionalism and dedication to what we're there for, and at the same time it's fun! You bring a critical ear, but your words are always encouraging. It's rare to find someone who's a great performer who's also a great teacher, and I think that you are both. It's a joy working with you.”