Styles: Classical, Sacred Music, Bluegrass, Folk, Pop, Rock, Blues, Musical Theatre, Country
Specialties: Energetics of voice, solfège and sight singing, Gregorian chant, bluegrass, choral studies.
Tom McNellis is a lifelong performer trained in Bel Canto singing, choral direction, and voice care. With a holistic approach to pedagogy, he employs principals of vocal energetics in empowering singers of all types. Tom is an active performer as the banjo player and co-lead of the Twin Cities folk band, Skunk Hollow. He also works as the tenor section leader and soloist at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Roseville, where he is also an occasional recitalist. Tom has worked as a conductor, coach, cantor, and emcee. He is a passionate student of American folk music, and he holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Vocal Performance from St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN.
I promote a mind-body understanding of singing and vocal care. My lessons are guided by individual student interest across genres while remaining grounded by fundamental Bel Canto technique. Vocal music is essentially driven by the will toward emotional expression. We will get to the core of your journey’s themes and unpack the messages you desire to share through song.
The energetics of voice provide a window into the whole person—physical, emotional, and spiritual. Singing deepens the connection to one’s most authentic self. Through the exploration of basic vocal functions and the advancement of your skills, we will align your ability to express your feelings with your life’s broader purpose.
The self-directed learner is at home in my studio. Vocalises are assigned according to each singer’s individual abilities and challenges, and repertoire is explored through the lens of the student’s passion. While the classical approach informs my pedagogy, I find great joy in exploring interests from pop and blues to country and folk.
Adult beginners will find an open and easy way forward in expanding their vocal skills with me. Whether you want to sing more skillfully in a band, at church, or for your own personal enjoyment, together we can design a path to meet your musical goals.
I welcome students as young as 8 years. Beginning music theory and basics of vocal function are essential to early singers. To that end, young students learn to differentiate themselves from their instrument and understand their voice as their most powerful tool.
$45/60 mins (hour lessons must be approved)
- Cancellation and rescheduling: 24 hour notice must be given to reschedule a missed lesson.
- You can expect punctuality and prompt communication from me.
- I expect my students to practice at home, hum around the house, listen back to recordings, and take good care of themselves.
- Warm up before your lesson. Every little bit helps!
- Be bold! Make noise and take chances.
Tom is a great voice teacher. He has a strong background in music theory, voice technique, and musical interpretation, and is able to share it all in an easily digestible way. He is stylistically flexible in the sense that he sings great in many different idioms, but always with a solid bel canto foundation, and can help others learn to do the same. His pedagogy is firmly rooted in good classical conservatory practice and he keeps up with current trends in voice pedagogy. Tom is an excellent diagnostician of impediments to strong singing and can quickly suggest exercises and practices to overcome them. He is very attentive to student concerns and offers good counsel; I feel as though my course of study has been closely tailored to my particular challenges and aspirations. He recognizes the importance of all of (1) a strict exercise regimen, (2) working on repertoire building and musical expressiveness, (3) clear and immediate helpfully critical feedback, and (4) taking musical chances and being nudged out of one's comfortable places and musical habits.