Texas vocal coach Brian Schexnayder made his performing debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Silvio in Pagliacci. He sang many roles in subsequent Metropolitan seasons, including Enrico in La Bohème, Lescaut in Manon Lescaut, Mercutio in Roméo and Juliette, the Theatre Director in Les Mamelles de Tirésias, Guglielmo in Cosi fan Tutte, Ping in Turandot, Germont in La Traviata, Sharpless in Madama Butterfly, Valentin in Faust, Posa in Don Carlos, and many more.
Born in Port Arthur, Texas and raised in Louisiana, Texas vocal coach Brian Schexnayder earned his Bachelor of Music from the University of Southwest Louisiana and his Master of Music Performance at Julliard. As a member of the Julliard School of music’s American Opera Center, he appeared in productions of La Traviata, Madama Butterfly, and Un Ballo in Maschera. Brian has also starred in many international opera and performing companies, including the Paris Opera, Nice Opera, Hamburg State Opera, Bonn, Frankfurt, San Francisco Opera, New Orleans Opera, Edmonton Opera, Winnepeg, Calgary, Cincinnati Opera, Santiago, Caracas, Cagliari, and Sardenia. Through his tenure as a soloist, Brian’s performances were lauded as “vocalized and characterized to near perfection, which stopped a show that is hard to stop.”
During his performing career, Brian gained insights that he felt moved to share with other vocalists who wanted to work hard to achieve vocal excellence. He opened the Brian Schexnayder Vocal Studio in 2000 to help vocal students achieve immeasurable success and derive invaluable satisfaction from singing at their best. He offers the best voice lessons in DFW to share the knowledge he has acquired.
Brian's Singing Philosophy
There are many different approaches to good vocal technique. No matter what vocal training one receives, the expected result should be to sing with better control to achieve a benchmark of excellence in the genre and style in which one aspires to sing.
I have observed through my teaching experience that singers who have a stringent focus on technique are generally lacking in interpretation or expression. Applying emotion to the vocal exercises builds a foundation for the singer always to approach everything they sing from a perspective of interpretation. I have taught singers from different walks of life from novices to experienced artist. The musicians who excel are the ones who understand the importance of integrating emotion into the singing experience. A seemingly obvious point, most singers believe they are incorporating enough emotion into their performance when it is far below what the type of singing requires.
Technique & Commitment
Beyond this significant issue, often amplified in beginning lessons, we must then focus on placement or resonance, registration and formant, vocal and physical posture, support (destroying the myth of using your diaphragm for support), idiomatic expression as well as other issues. A singer with the goal to “learn how to sing” lacks clarity. Only exceptional musicians have realized the need to work diligently to improve their skill to reach their goal. There is a significant difference between ability and skill. Average singers believe they are talented enough to achieve their goal simply because of ability. I have witnessed many musicians with limited talent attain lofty singing and performing goals by working diligently and persistently on their craft.
To compare the vocal instrument to any other instrument, the most notable difference is how the voice is affected physiologically. You can physically improve your vocal instrument by exercise but cannot improve the physical function of your piano by exercise. Your nervous system directly impacts your voice by how you feel. Your guitar doesn’t feel any different regardless of how you feel. You can get sick physically; your trumpet cannot get sick physically and can be taken up by someone else and has the same possibility of making the same sounds. If you damage your voice/instrument by unhealthy singing technique, you can’t go out to the nearest music store and purchase a new instrument to replace it.
I am often asked the questions: “Can I do something with my voice?” or “Can I make it?” My answer is always the same. It ultimately comes down to an individuals perseverance, diligence and willingness to receive what I can share with them. Are you the person who is willing to work to the best of your ability to improve your skill? If so, you are a good candidate for singing and performing.
Education - Service - Teaching
Undergraduate: University of Southwestern Louisiana (the University of Louisiana at Lafayette) Bachelor Degree of Music – Graduated 1976
Graduate: Juilliard School of Music NYC – full scholarship 1976-1980
Served on the Board of Directors for The American Guild of Musical Artist 1987 - 1989.
Since 1997 through present time - owner of private voice studio providing vocal instruction to clients in genres including classical, Broadway, jazz, pop, and country.