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Sound of Music

09/01/2015 11:12PM ● Published by Nancy Babin

The Sound of Music

I can’t think of one person I know who doesn’t like music. Music has been around since the beginning of time. How different cultures throughout the years created these sounds may have varied, but people have been making, singing and listening to music for thousands of years. They may not have known why they sang and played what they did but with science today, we now know that music actually has many health benefits that can’t be disregarded.  To name just a few, studies have shown it helps to reduce pain, elevate mood, decrease stress and anxiety, enhance brain function regarding mathematics and reading skills and increase athletic performance. 

And music, similar to beauty, is in the eyes, oops, ears of the listener.  I have my favorites, but I love listening to many types of music. I have a playlist of pop and hip hop workout music, inspirational worship music, jazz, R&B and even a country list when feel like kicking up my heels. The reason I have so many is because each affects my mood and energy in different ways. Some excite and energize me while others have a calming effect and help me to de-stress.  I also have my least favorites such as heavy metal. I’m not trying to give this genre a bad rap but can I just say that hearing it makes me want to claw my eyeballs out? Now that is a mood you wouldn’t want to be around for. 

As I mentioned earlier, music is very personal to each person. And while musically-untalented people like myself can only listen and choose the music we desire to hear, I am so thankful for the ones who create it, like my son, so that I may enjoy. He is so musically gifted. He has learned to play the guitar, drums, and keyboard. He also loves songwriting and singing. But with any gift or talent, training and proper instruction are vital to developing and fine-tuning your skill.

This is why I am also so thankful for the ones who use their talent and training to teach, nurture and bring out the gift in others.   Growing up in a small town, I had few options for qualified instructors even if I had wanted to learn to sing or play an instrument.  But that is certainly not the case for this small but rich-in-talent area On the Coast. We are so blessed to have so many options available to students both young and older who wish to enrich their lives by learning to sing and perform or play an instrument. 

So I thought I would briefly highlight just a few that would love to help you find your voice in all the Sounds of Music!

Dreamcather’s Vocal Performance Studio – Destin

Caroline Majure

(770) 330-6964

Caroline has been working with my son for a little over a year and I have to say he loves it and her. He thinks she is just the coolest, and she is. She meets each student right where they are and embraces their personal style as if it were her own. “It is performing and being comfortable singing whatever type of music speaks to your heart. I don’t always like the kind of music my students choose but I know it is important for them to do what moves them. I allow and encourage my students to do the music that speaks to their soul. Lots of music teachers call me out for that but I know in my soul that doing what is in your heart delivers across the stage much better than the alternative.” 

Caroline also believes in the A to Zs of knowing the industry. She emphasizes everything from the fundamentals of breathing technique to understanding how to set up and operate sound equipment.  She is classically trained with a major in music theory, but Caroline attributes the success of her students to the “street smart” knowledge gained through her many years of performing with different bands.  Still a part of the DeJaVu Band as well as The Village Belles, a military tribute, she keeps herself current with the industry and holds Make It Shine performances each fall at Harbor Walk where her students showcase what they have learned. I have been to one and they are actually quite fabulous. Her students range from age 5 to 64 and they perform not only in front of family and friends but whoever happens to be enjoying Harborwalk that evening. Her philosophy is the same for all ages,  “Sing all you can be," which she said means it takes more than just a good voice. It takes connecting with your audience as well.   “My goal,” said Caroline, “is to get their voices the best they can be and then get them out to the public so that the world can see what they have to offer!”

Studio 237 – Santa Rosa Beach

Ray and Lisa Cyr

(850) 231-3199

With students ranging from five years of age to adult, the Cyrs have a staff of ten instructors that teach from vocal performance to various instruments such as piano, guitar, drums, violin, cello, bass, ukulele, clarinet, trumpet, banjo and more. Ray and Lisa have spent the last several years building this incredible team of experienced instructors with backgrounds ranging from college degrees, performance experience and private instruction. Not only will you learn the desired skill but also you will be able to put it into practice by performing with about 50 other students in one or both of the two recitals offered during the year. "We have a passion for students to discover, develop and demonstrate music," they explain. You can view an example of the recitals on their website. 

Studio 237 is a very spacious facility offering six classrooms which means more class options to accommodate different schedules. Ray and Lisa aren’t stopping there. Their vision is to one day build a music education and performance complex in South Walton County. Their goal for Studio 237 is to educate each student to discover, develop and demonstrate music in a nurturing environment and to pass on the art and theory of music in Santa Rosa Beach and surrounding communities. 


5 Smooth Stones – Crestview/Niceville

Greg Brown

(850) 601-0750

Since he opened in 1997, Greg Brown has been training and instructing students from six years of age to 96 in piano and vocal performance in the Niceville and Crestview area. He holds one recital per year and his goal for every student is “on your worst lesson with me it should be 51% fun.  Music should be fun to play and fun to learn.  I structure everything that I do in class around the desires, ambition, and skill level of the student.”

Greg teaches traditional note-reading as well as improvisation and playing using music theory (playing by ear). “The NUMBER ONE thing I look for in every student taking lessons with me is the desire and passion to learn piano.  I don't care about talent.  I would never say that you should not force a child to take piano lessons; I believe that everyone is different and that in fact some children do need to be pushed into piano.  However I have stated emphatically over the years that if that is the case then I am not the teacher for you.  I look for desire first, talent second.”

Greg has a degree in vocal performance as well as a jazz piano performance major.  His professional experience ranges from rehearsal pianist for the Joffrey Ballet of New York City to vocal performance at Carnegie Hall.  He has even composed a soundtrack for a short film in Robert Redford's Sundance film festival.  

A Class Act Studio –Fort Walton Beach

Darla Briganti

(850) 803-2425

Most call her Miss Darla but she works with older students as well as the young. She worked with my middle son on a few vocal auditions that he submitted. I call her the “polisher” to the performance. As Caroline said, singing is more than just words; it’s about grabbing your audience and holding them. With 25 years professional musical theatre credits and 30 years as a professional acting coach, Darla can help you do just that. She teaches a unique system that empowers vocalists to reveal the story behind their songs by using proven techniques using eye-lines, body language, and overall presence.  She offers a vocal performance workshop (Acting for Singers) as well as video audition demos that are a great marketing tool for agents, casting sites, websites, and fan pages.  

Omar Sherif

(850) 376-2590

With all the options in this small area, Omar brings yet another element to this group of gifted instructors. Omar is an award-winning songwriter seeking talented artists to put a voice to his words and music. “I compose and produce songs and help develop local artists. I teach them to sing the song as I hear it and welcome their interpretation, advice and constructive criticism on the song as well. I provide them with a place to spotlight their vocals and brand on our website which is set to launch in the fall of 2015.” 

But as Caroline mentioned, it takes more than just a good voice. It takes an ability to perform and truly connect and capture your audience. Omar is looking for the “wow” factor and is constantly seeking venues to showcase his clients and his music.  He is currently working with Rena Marie, a local artist. He seeks artists like Rena because of his own passion: “Doctors examine your body when you’re sick, find out the problem and prescribe an anecdote. Dentists make your smile straight and brighter and extract teeth that cause you pain or problems. I write songs for the scars of relationships and the sweet spot of love, falling in love…it’s my way of prescribing medicine for the emotions and my way of making people smile and have brighter days.” 

Omar’s experience and education ranges from being a self-taught drummer as he watched and learned from some good old-fashioned gospel sensations to a B.A. degree from Greenville College, as well as music theory classes and a music education from NWFLC. Omar also teaches piano and drums to all ages at Destin School of Music and Dance. 


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Community acting Studio 237 Music School Emerald Coast Music Caroline Majure Greg Brown Darla Briganti Omar Sherif A Class Act Studio singing music lessons

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