Testimonials from Students of Lee Hoffman

"I met Lee Hoffman by chance, searching for professional feedback as I prepared auditions for graduate programs in Historical Voice. Although my time studying with Lee was brief, it was also incredibly enlightening, and I would not exchange the experience for anything.

Lee was wonderfully insightful and personable; it seemed she only needed half a lesson to understand my instrument and how she could assist in my professional musical journey. She was specific yet supportive, and while previous instructors had beaten me down with comments that my unusual vocal technique was in dire need of fixing, Lee encouraged me to keep what I had and simply “add more colors to the toolbox.” She encouraged me every step of the way, even texting me wise insights when I felt I had made a mess of my prescreening recordings.

Finally, she added some incredibly fun and crucial pieces to my repertoire, including Purcell’s Sweeter than Roses, which got me into Boston University, McGill University, Peabody Conservatory, and the final round of Yale University’s prestigious early voice program, which only accepts one person of each voice type a year. Lee lent me a kind expert’s hand during a crucial part of my professional journey, and to great success. I am extremely honored to have worked with her, and I firmly believe she is the type of instructor anyone can learn from, while enjoying themselves immensely."

- Mira H., soprano

"I was fortunate to study under Professor Lee Hoffman during the last three years of my collegiate career, In that time span, I observed and worked with Professor Hoffman as she fulfilled numerous capacities, including instructor of applied lessons and pedagogy, academic advisor, and Opera Workshop director as well as piano accompanist and vocal artist.

Professor Hoffman exhibits an intuitive command of vocal pedagogy and that knowledge is reflected in her students, particularly her skillful approach to breathing. Professor Hoffman blends that knowledge with a constant high-enthusiasm and plenty of personality, creating a unique, focused lesson experience that any serious musician appreciates.

Professor Hoffman’s masterful understanding of planning, constant pursuit of vocal artistry and overall giddy eagerness for the voice are a palette of qualities that students can pull from and emulate to cook up a strong sound and professional success. These strong characteristics permeate every capacity that I have witnessed her fill, showing her consistency and dedication to voice in professionalism and voice students.

Under the instruction of Professor Hoffman, I experienced evident growth in my vocal development. Her approach to fine tuning my technique sparked a great interest in vocal pedagogy, which added to my understanding about vocal development. I acquired a stronger grasp of technique which allowed me to focus more on developing musicianship and working more intensely on creating art with her. As a result, my confidence as a performer grew immensely and inspired me to get involved in professional, off-campus performance opportunities.

Studying with Professor Hoffman has also prepared me for my endeavors that followed Commencement. As a student, she encouraged me to utilize my growing knowledge of vocal pedagogy through teaching private lessons more regularly and, from this, I was able to acquire my current position as an instructor of voice at Stivers School for the Arts one full semester before Commencement. Since then, my students have been successful, acquiring nine superior and excellent ratings at the Ohio Music Education Association’s District 12 Solo and Ensemble Contest this year and Third Place Prize in the Opera Guild of Dayton’s High School Vocal Competition; I attribute this success to the instruction and guidance of Professor Lee Hoffman.

As a performer, I have been successful in acquiring opportunities in numerous venues, including being invited back to give a full recital at the musically prestigious Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago in February, 2013. As I pursue a teaching licensure and, now, a master’s degree in music at Miami University, I am comfortable with my preparation because of teaching experience and the excellent instruction of Professor Hoffman.

On May 5th, 2011, I gave final remarks to the audience of the Central State University Chorus’ Ebony and Ivory Banquet, remarking that one of the best things that Central State did for me was to hire Professor Hoffman. Her insight, sound instruction, well-needed professionalism, artistry, and love for good singing attest to her high quality."

~ Christopher S., tenor

"While attending Central State University, Professor Hoffman greatly influenced my musical and artistic development through challenges that truly brought out my creative niche. Having more performance opportunities than ever during my last year as a student, I was able to get through them all with a level of musicianship achieved with practice and weekly lessons to help track my growth.

Her endless support and patience helped me to develop a solid foundation before graduating from Central State University. It was hard work, but well worth it. She also took interest in what I wanted to do after gradation.  Knowing my personal goals, she introduced me to other professionals who were on their way to becoming what I aspire to be.  Having met them and getting an opportunity to talk with them about their journey really opened my eyes to what I may face in the near future.  Opportunities like that are priceless and because of them I have been able to mold my career path to get the best and most out of the positions I’ve held."

~ Joy B., soprano

"I am beyond lucky to be a student of Lee Hoffman because her focus on the singer as a human being is transformative. I LOVE that her teaching is holistic. There's a combination of technical, soulful, personal development, and musicality instead of only focusing ONLY on 'fixing' students.

It is so magical that by just being transparent, being oneself and 'congruent' as a teacher, the student's sense of self-worth and pride increases. I cannot wait to apply this in my own teaching!"

- Julianne N., mezzo-soprano

"Ms. Hoffman is very passionate and dedicated to her craft of being a professional vocalist and teacher of voice. I first met Ms. Hoffman in her interview/audition for the professorship at Central State University.

Ms. Hoffman’s voice was gorgeous; as she was singing one particular song, it seemed as if her voice just traveled through the air like a double edge sword, captivating us with emotion and passion, which was conveyed through her artistry.  At that moment, I knew that I wanted Ms. Hoffman to teach voice at Central and also study under her tutelage.

The following year I was granted the privilege to be in her studio, to pull and absorb everything that had to do with the development as a well-rounded musician, artist and performer. During Ms. Hoffman’s first year at Central State University, she reintroduced students to the (N)ational (A)ssociation (T)eachers of (S)inging auditions. In preparations for NATS, Ms. Hoffman assisted in my vocal and artistic development, as well as in my confidence as a performer. This not only helped me to win the NATS audition, but also prepare me for my graduate audition into the University of Illinois Music program.

In addition to preparation for music professionalism, Ms. Hoffman has challenged me, musically, by giving me assignments to learn music in a certain time frame, breaking the music down linguistically, rhythmically, and melodically to help me to fully comprehend and to convey the music in an efficient and artist manner. With the above-mentioned elements, I was able to apply them to my first professional solo performance in the G. F. Handel’s Messiah.

Ms. Hoffman continues to impress me with her knowledge, skill and dedication to her work. It is my desire to impart into my students and future performances what I have learned from her."

~ Davion W., tenor

"Professor Hoffman’s passion for teaching is one that is both inspiring and captivating. Her work ethic and musicianship is that of superior standards.

Professor Hoffman and I met in the fall of September 2008 when she became my principal applied voice professor.  Although we were only allotted one year to work with each other (I graduated later that year in May 2009) her training had a great impact on me as a student and as a musician. Throughout that year, my vocal range and breath support increased greatly due to the vocal exercises she shared with me.

Furthermore, observing musicianship (the amount of time she practiced, the amount of time she spent making herself knowledgeable about her repertoire) inspired me to take my preparation time more seriously and up to the next level.

There are “golden nuggets” that I learned from her that I take into consideration even now when I perform. One of those “nuggets” that I use today is what I call “outward listening.” No matter what venue I perform in, I always arrive early so that I can see what my voice sounds like in that atmosphere and focus on what I it sounds like outwardly by placing my hands in front of my ears. This exercise has helped many of my performances be successful.

If there is one aspect of Professor Hoffman’s teaching style that has had the greatest influence on me as a student it would be her compassion and sincerity that she shares for her students. It is that concern that helped me become more confident in whom I was as a singer and more importantly, a person. In today’s society, compassion has become a lost trait in educators. But with Professor Hoffman, you can tell that she genuinely cares and is just not there for a check."

~ Michael W., tenor

"I studied under Ms. Hoffman for four years and learned numerous vocal techniques, as well as life lessons with her.  Ms. Hoffman helped me develop many vocal techniques, as I was a timid vocalist coming into Central State.

One of the major techniques she helped me to develop and become comfortable with was breath support. As my vocal instructor, she supported me with many activities and warm-ups which enabled me to develop proper breath support. I know that many of her students can recall their love/hate relationship with her infamous “Office Belt,” that she used to help us learn how to properly breathe. Ms. Hoffman would wrap that belt around my rib cage and work with me, day in and day out, until I grasped the concept of proper breathing. For this and many other things, I am truly grateful for her.

As for my artistic and musicianship development, Professor Hoffman opened my eyes to a world of new vocal music. For years, I loved Broadway show tunes, but felt as if my voice wasn’t strong enough to perform them. Ms. Hoffman assured me that was not the case and diligently worked with me to develop the artistic abilities and confidence to fulfill my dream performing show tunes.

One specific example of this is Ms. Hoffman’s ability to choose a pieces that connected to a personal life situation I was encountering. Ms. Hoffman sat me down, allowed me to open up about life and helped me connect my experiences to the emotion of the piece. To this day, “Far From the Home I Love” from Fiddler on the Roof is my favorite vocal piece to perform.

As far as musical accuracy, I thought I understood the concept of solfege, but I was quickly made aware that I had a problem connecting the concept into my solo vocal pieces. Ms. Hoffman saw this and shared with me numerous techniques to solve this problem. We took many lessons and solely worked on sight-singing, as well as she introduced me to websites that would help me gain the understanding of the concept.

Ms. Hoffman is very dedicated to seeing her students succeed in school and after graduation. In fact, towards the end of my senior year, she introduced me to a friend of hers who works in musical theatre. This woman was able to give me some ways to get into theatre.

All and all, working with Ms. Hoffman was one of the most rewarding and satisfying experiences of my life. Her meticulousness and thoroughness with my voice and with me, as an individual, assisted me in gaining the skills and poise necessary to be a successful vocalist."

~ Courtney D., soprano

"Lee Hoffman is the most impactful music teacher I've ever worked with. My post undergraduate journey was filled with indecision and self doubt. However, thanks to Lee's specific technical knowledge explained in a holistic, humanist manner, she not only helped me develop a vocal skillset enough to audition for graduate school, but came away with the confidence to be a smarter, more thoughtful musician and person. Her ability to understand a person's core of being and adapt her teaching methods to them is an invaluable experience."

- Sean A., baritone

"Professor Hoffman has been pivotal in my development as a singer and as a person. I first met Professor Hoffman when she began teaching in August 2001 at the University of Dayton, OH. Being a relatively inexperienced music student, I provided Professor Hoffman with a nontrivial challenge. As a young singer, the bond I created with my first teacher was strong. However, Professor Hoffman, or Lee, calmed my fears of building a new bond with her infectious enthusiasm for learning, an excellence and respect for the music itself, and an unparalleled care and interest in the development of all of her new students.

My lessons with Lee always began with vocalises specifically chosen to prepare me for the repertoire we were to undertake during my lesson, repertoire that Lee initially suggested until, with her guidance, I became sufficiently confident and knowledgeable to choose my own vocal repertoire. The trust Lee inspired in me in selecting repertoire helps me even today as an artist in knowing my own voice and finding works that show me at my very best. I understood Lee’s well-considered and pedagogically-sound instruction when she said, “I can’t wait to see you as Cherubino” or “perhaps Cenerentola is not for you right now, but some day!”

Lee recognized in me a combination of vocal talent and an earnestness to learn and simultaneously nurtured the two. I would not have received such enthusiastic and tireless encouragement from any other teacher when I made the suggestion to study the interpretively challenging “L’Horizon Chimerique” or the vastly varied “A Charm of Lullabies”, and certainly not the technical beast of “Parto, Parto!” I even recall some hesitation from Lee over Parto, Parto!, but  I embraced it as an opportunity to challenge myself, to prove to her that I was capable, and to ultimately make it worthy enough to receive a place on the University of Dayton Honors Recital.

I first learned the joy of collaboration from witnessing Lee Hoffman, as she joined together various members of the faculty in projects that were both musically inspiring and utterly delightful to behold. With such an example, how could I not also want to participate in such artistically rewarding relationships with my peers?

I also found great benefit to studying a course in musical theater taught by Professor Hoffman, which exposed me to yet another area of repertoire that was little known to me. In this exploration in particular, I gained the experience necessary to feel comfortable in my own body while performing in staged productions, which resulted in more authentic character portrayals.

As I approached my senior year, and second year of studying with Professor Hoffman, I experienced some looming questions about my future beyond the protective walls of UD. I was then enrolled in the Music Therapy Bachelor of Music program. However, my extracurricular activities as a budding new voice teacher and the discoveries I was making as a singer were increasingly inspirational to me. Studying with Lee, I believed I could have a professional career as a singer and voice instructor. I was on fire with this prospect. Lee saw my enthusiasm and advised and supported me as I worked through the administrative hoops of switching degree programs.

Once my path was decided, Professor Hoffman did everything in her power to help me prepare for my Masters, including establishing a connection with CCM instructor Karen Lykes and vocal coach Kenneth Griffiths. She provided me with my first professional gig in a choir for High Holy Days at a temple in Cincinnati, OH.  Lee coached me through preparations for my Dayton Opera debut with the opera chorus of Aida. She also suggested the benefits of becoming involved in the Dayton Symphony Chorus and the Bach Society of Dayton as professional experiences to help strengthen my skills in sight-reading, collaborative singing, vocal consistency, and networking in the music industry, all invaluable lessons for my next phase of learning.

Professor Hoffman was helpful in my selection of a graduate school that would take the skills I had begun cultivating under her tutelage and bring them to a level of professional mastery. Lee provided me with a letter of recommendation that conveyed both professionalism and sincere interest and investment in seeing me through to my next level of studies; she listened to my accounts of the audition experience, and ultimately helping me settle on the school and voice teacher that “put the fire in (my) belly”- The Longy School of Music in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where I began my studies with Jayne West in Fall 2004.

While I studied at Longy for both my Masters in Vocal Performance and a Graduate Performance Diploma in Opera Performance, I would check in with Lee, seeking her wisdom and good-natured perspectives on my trials and triumphs of graduate studies. I valued her thoughtful personal reflections, her encouragement to stay in touch with my own instincts about professional and musical decisions, and her genuine interest in my professional and personal development. She cheered me on as my life experiences broadened, as a member of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, a participant in various opera and musical theater productions in and around the Greater Boston area, or as co-founder of the professional female a cappella quartet, Anthology, with whom I have had four and a half years of professional performances and the self-production of our first album.

My experience with Lee, while certainly foundational to my own character and musical development, is not unique. She challenges every one of her students to seek out their best voice, their best intellectual mind, and their most valuable musical experiences. Lee Hoffman offers students more than just a first-class education in the voice studio: she will undoubtedly give them the confidence, vision, and guidance that they need to excel in whatever direction they take in life."

~ Michelle V., mezzo-soprano