​Professional Issues:


Transitioning from Legit to Contemporary & Pop Singing

Current Broadway shows are brimming with pop music!  New contemporary movie-based shows, scores written by radio singers and songwriters and shows featuring musical catalogues of pop performers are everywhere you turn.  It’s more crucial than ever to have a solid grasp of healthy contemporary technique and an audition book full of pop/rock songs that are right for you.

Michelle - trained as a legit soprano herself - has a great deal of experience navigating the technical transition from legit technique to contemporary in a healthy way.  Students learn to develop more awareness in their mask, lift placement and focus, modify vowels, manage straight tone and learn stylistic nuances of contemporary style among other objectives.  She works with each student to compile an audition repertoire of contemporary and pop songs that fit each student's own unique vocal qualities, strengths and capabilities that they actually like and feel good about singing!

About Lessons

  • Voice-Body Connection 
  • Healthy Voice Preparation
  • Expansion of Range 
  • Breath Support 
  • Building Audition Book Repertoire 
  • Legit vs Contemporary and Pop Technique
  • Audition Prep 
  • Audition Technique
  • Performance Technique
  • Ear Training ​ 
  • Reading Music 
  • Various Music Styles and Era-Specific Vocal Style

Michelle creates highly customized lesson plans centered around your individual voice and goals.  Her pedagogy is based on developing awareness, understanding and control of the vocal instrument.  Thus, students are better able to assess and approach singing problems.  Building on the confidence gained by understanding the "how"s of sound production, lessons turn to issues such as overcoming psychological barriers, understanding how to musically express personal interpretations and singing with your own authentic voice.

​Focus is always placed on vocal technique and healthy sound production but your objectives may vary:

Who Does Michelle Teach?


Michelle Shuttleworth Towler Voice Studio

* Vocal professionals in musical theater and performers in other musical genres 

* Actors, dancers and performers who want to improve their vocal skills

* Teen students preparing for performing arts school auditions and shows and looking to develop solid vocal technique

* Students (including remote learners and homeschoolers) looking for high quality online training

* Amateurs/Beginners interested in singing for self improvement and the love of music

Singing for Dancers 

 Dancers have their own unique understanding of physiology, and learn voice from a different perspective than the average singer.  Michelle uses innovative techniques especially for dancers.  Drawing knowledge from teaching many dancers, interviewing dancers and dance educators, observing medical professionals and her own dance background, Michelle relies upon kinesthetic voice exercises to maximize body-voice connection.   


Through physio-vocal exercises, Michelle capitalizes on a dancer's best asset in singing - superb body awareness and connection!  Students are taught with a familiar physical approach that places their body in positions and motions that are most conducive to healthy sound production.  This first helps to differentiate the "up-and-in" abdominal core of dancing with the "down-and-out" abdominal breathing technique of singing.   It then functions to centralize the abdomen as the active "engine," energy and support of sound while maintaining a relaxed upper body and vocal tract to avoid tension and strain in the voice.  This allows the body to properly generate sound and clears the way to more traditional lessons in singing like sound placement, vowel and consonant formation, flexibility, etc. 


Dancer Specific Topics Include:


  • Dancing vs. Singing Breathing Technique
  • Vocal and Respiratory Anatomy
  • Reconciling Dance Physicality with Singing Physicality
  • Efficient Vocal Warm Ups and Exercises
  • Maintaining Vocal Health
  • Selecting and Preparing Audition Songs
  • How to Cut and Mark Audition Music
  • Singing Audition Etiquette
  • Acting through Song

Singing for Actors              
Actors are already vocal artists!  They have fantastic instincts when it comes to song interpretation, point of view and how they would like to craft a piece.  But often, they have difficulty transferring the acting skills they use in speech to singing.  They feel the need to act around the music rather than through it.  As a result, singing can become tight, strained and pushed as an actor tries to use the inflection and speech patterns he/she typically uses in performance, and musicality is diminished.  Other times, the singing voice is "put on" or not the actor's true voice.  We always try to find colors and characters while staying true to your own instrument.

Michelle aims to expand the actor’s understanding of their vocal instrument and musical technique.  By providing a broader set of vocal skills and comprehension of musical options, an actor can express his/her interpretation of a song much more freely and with more varied artistic choices.

Actor Specific Goals Include:

  • Musical Interpretation of Song
  • Singing for Character Actors
  • Prep for Singing Calls
  • Authenticity of the Singing Voice
  • Vocal Placement
  • Vowel Modification
  • Expansion of Range
  • Tension Management