Master of Music from Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University
Margaret Izard, mezzo-soprano, performs regionally on the operatic stage and as a soloist with her art song company, Artful Song. As a teacher, Margaret believes that voice lessons should be a safe space to experiment with what our voices are capable of doing.
Outside of classical music, Ms. Izard enjoys volunteering with Sharing Notes, a non-profit organization in Chicago, Illinois. Sharing Notes brings music into hospitals throughout the city, providing the transformative power of intimate, interactive music for those who can benefit from it most.
Why do you sing?
I sing because I am my most honest and natural self when I sing. It is the medium through which I can help foster discussions and community building.
Why do you teach other people to sing?
I love teaching other people how to sing! I feel like singing is the most primal form of communication and because of life, all the "shoulds" that surround us, and the pressure to be whatever society has prescribed us to be, we lose that. Watching my students take away the excess that we all put into our singing and instead, facilitate and experience what our bodies naturally want to do is some of the most rewarding work I do.
How do you describe your lessons?
Hmmmm. I would say “work hard, play hard!" I love having fun in lessons and I strongly believe that there is power in playing. This is where we can learn about ourselves and our voices. That said, I grew up in a conservatory setting as a violinist so that work ethic is definitely present in my lesson room.
What do you do with a new student at their first lesson?
In a first lesson, I like to get a sense for my student’s voice, goals, and lifestyle. From there, I try to articulate the main things I would like to work on with my student and we start working away.
How do you practice?
My philosophy on practicing is this: quality over quantity. I would rather have 15 minutes of good, focused, intentional practicing than an hour of distracted, throw-away work. I begin my own practice sessions with some sun salutations because I believe that our whole bodies are a part of singing and therefore we have to warm up everything. Then, I do vocalizes to get my voice technically where I want it. These change depending on how my voice feels that day. From there, I try to break down whatever is on my list. I tend to practice several times a day in shorter increments so I don’t learn tired muscle memory.
Could you describe a pivotal moment in your musical development?
There is a laundry list of people I could put here, but I think my violin teacher of 11 years, Linda Fiore, was one of the most influential people in my musical life. She taught me to have an incredibly strong work ethic, how to practice, but also allowed me to have fun. FUN is so very important in music making!