Teaching subjects: Voice, Songwriting, Musicianship
Styles: Classical, Musical Theater, Contemporary, Experimental
Specialties: Beginner, intermediate, and advanced technique; Audition and performance preparation; Voice rehabilitation; Musicianship
Justin Anthony Spenner is known throughout the Twin Cities as a “Wild and anxious ride” (Star Tribune). At home with Schubert, as he is with Stockhausen, Justin’s appearances run the gamut from recital and oratorio staples to world premieres of experimental music. Recent stage credits include Trevor (In the Midst of Things); Man’s Voice (The Sky Where You Are) and John Sorel (The Consul) with An Opera Theatre; Schaunard (La Bohème) with Theater Latte Da; Father (The Golden Ass/World Premiere) with 113 Composers Collective; Joey (The Most Happy Fella) and Guglielmo (Cosi fan tutte) with Skylark Opera Theatre; Morales/Dancaïro (Carmen) with Pine Mountain Music Festival; and 2nd Priest/Armored Man (Die Zauberflöte) with LAMF. Soloist credits include his solo recital Like Sun Through Eyelids; Das Fliegenpapier and Strange Autumn (Steven Takasugi) and Maulwerke (Dietrich Schnebel) with 113 Composers Collective; Coffee Cantata (Bach) and Apollo e Dafne (Handel) with Le Grande Bande; Niccolai Messe/Coronation Mass/The Messiah (Haydn/Mozart/Handel) with St. John’s Lutheran Music Series; Choral Fantasy (Beethoven) with St. John’s University; and Ein Deutsches Requiem (Brahms) with South Metro Chorale. His self-produced work focuses on normalizing conversations about mental illness/trauma and destigmatizing mental health treatment (I Enter as A Stranger; A Winter’s Journey). In addition to performing, Justin keeps an active private studio, develops Opera Immersion classes, and works as a grant writer/consultant for various Twin Cities non-profits and individual artists. He is the host of Is This Music?!?!, a podcast featuring conversations with composers and performers of experimental music.
My teaching focuses on discovery, creative process, and physiology. Singers in my studio learn to craft their own technique by exploring and studying the vocal process while applying it to music.
I believe that technique shouldn’t be defined as a measure of how good a person is at what they do. It is simply the list of things that are automatic in our performance of something. In short: technique is always in service to the creative and artistic process. Someone working with me should expect a great amount of detail regarding the technical aspects of singing. But, more important to me is the ability to express emotion and intention. And, more important than that is the ability to articulate why and how you were able to express yourself so beautifully.
I specialize in Classical, Experimental, Music Theater, and General Pop styles. These are the styles I most regularly perform. I also have extensive experience working with songwriters to work out vocal snares in existing songs and crafting new songs to fit your vocal instrument.
Single Lessons – Paid at Lesson:
30 min. – $37.50
45 min. – $47.50
60 min. – $62.50
Lessons – Paid in Advance (Save $2.50 per Lesson):
30 min. – $35
45 min. – $45
60 min. – $60
There will be pianist fees for recitals and workshops. This ensures the experience of having a professional collaborator for each performance.
Students will be, from time to time, be expected to purchase either individual copies of music or anthologies.
Cash, Check, CC, Venmo, or online invoice.
Credit Card and Online payments are subject to a 3% service fee.
Cancellations without at least 24 hours’ notice must still be paid in full. Those paying monthly will forfeit that lesson credit. Exceptions: health, severe weather, emergency.
Individual lesson payment is due at the lesson. Missed payment is subject to a $10 late fee, at instructor’s discretion.
Monthly invoices are sent on the 1st or 15th of the month and must be paid within 10 days. Late payments are subject to a $10 late fee per unpaid lesson (lessons that have occurred prior to late payment).
Please contact for availability.
"My work with Justin has humbled me in my practice of singing but also strengthened my long-term confidence in my own abilities.
When I started taking lessons from him two years ago I had no background to speak of. I had joined an improv troupe recently that performed singing structures and I thought that any training that could help make singing an asset of mine would benefit the troupe.
Being someone that I considered to always have a natural acumen for performing, learning to control my singing voice was a shockwave of reality, hence the mention of being 'humbled'. I was not very good at this.
Justin made me realize that a few lessons simply wouldn't transform me into a great singer; I would have to leverage every ounce of advice he gave me from week-to-week by practicing in my MVPU (motorized vehicle practice unit aka my car), at home and also at work to the misfortune of my co-workers.
I became ok with rooting out the old way I sang with the new Justin-improved method. Admittedly, I may have gotten worse for a little while until I got better.
Once I did get better though, it was noticeable. Noticed by my cast mates, noticed by my director and noticed my me. That feeling of growth is really something I cherish. Justin helped me to realize that with guidance and my own effort I have a wonderful singing voice, and there was an equal realization that I had the ability the whole time. Potential doesn't get you too far though on it's own!"
"I was a total beginner when I started my singing lessons over a year ago. When I went looking for a singing lesson teacher, I had no criteria to go from. After a year with Justin, I know that he’s the kind of teacher one finds in a rare blue moon.
First things first, HE KNOWS HIS STUFF! I have never met a more versatile musical individual. He can play multiple instruments, train various musical styles, and still bring everything into context for all ranges of minds. Second, he is patient. I knew nothing when I started and it was hard figuring out the path I wanted to take musically. Justin was great because he let me try all types of genres, he waited for me to build confidence in my singing, and when I was frustrated with myself he helped get me through it. He knows the struggle of not reaching that high note, but he walks you through it again and again until finally that high note is a breeze. Third, he gets you!! Everyone’s brains work in a different way, but Justin has a talent for understanding what you’re trying to explain even if you don’t know the technical terms. He learned I had a more analytical brain and he came up with examples and exercises that made sense to me and I heard the same thing from his other students.
All in all, Justin is an amazing teacher! I loved going to lessons and I would recommend anyone to go to Justin, beginner or veteran. He will be make you better and you’ll have fun doing it!" - Bre
"I have been working with Justin for about a year now, and he still has me surprising myself. When we started I was a total rookie: a 23 year-old who had no previous instruction, but was someone who liked to sing and play guitar. Justin patiently took me through the all the basics of pitch, breathing, and the anatomy of the voice, and encouraged me every step. We have constantly made small goals from week to week, working toward larger goals that we have set together. I have enjoyed it more than I ever thought.
The best part about Justin is that he obviously really loves to teach, which makes him great at it. He has been receptive, encouraging, super knowledgeable, and really friendly. I am always impressed at how much he understands the anatomy of singing.
And though I sing more folk-style tunes and he is a trained (and awesome) opera singer, the principles and challenges of singing are the same. And Justin doesn't just sing opera. He used to front a metal band, recently collaborated with a house music guy for a show, and is a pretty good guitarist.
I would recommend Justin to anyone. I am a huge fan and looking forward to what we will be doing next."
"I have wanted to sing well all my life but I never knew how to go about it until I met Justin. He is the greatest teacher! So patient and very very professional. He is always studying up on new techniques and ways to improve your voice. I always thought I might be too old to take lessons and change my voice but that turned out not to be the case. Now I’m beginning to see improvement and I’m so excited to continue on with my lessons. Thank you Justin for all your hard work and encouragement and for never cringing when I hit the wrong note." - Mary Ann Marlow, Student
"I have been a vocal student of Justin's for the past 5 years and it has been a great learning experience. Over the years I have learnt the importance of right breathing techniques, effective vocal exercises and finding ways to improvise my singing style each lesson. Justin is a patient and flexible teacher. I love to learn different genres of music and Justin has helped me with each request. Justin doesn't just teach you. He knows what you need to help take your vocal capabilities to the next level." - Anisha Corrie