By Sarah Flynn
Transcript of the video:
Julie Krugman (J)
Omolara Ojo (O)
Ryan Finneran-Gallagher (R)
N: The Worcester State Learning Resource Center. This is the building where our subject of the day, Julie Krugman, spends the majority of her time teaching. Julie is most recognized for her position as a private voice instructor, as well as an adjunct professor. As a WSU student, you may know of her from her courses of “Opera Appreciation” or, the relatively new first-year seminar, “Theatre Rocks!” However, no one knows her quite as well as those who work with her one-on-one: her voice students.
J: (off screen) Sorry! Ahhh! I can’t get the right key! Okay, okay…
O: (singing Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You) You’re just too good to be true, can’t take my eyes off of you. You’d be like heaven to touch, I wanna hold you so much. At long last love has arrived, and I thank God I’m alive. You’re just too good to be true…
N: This is Omolara Ojo, a student of Julie’s for what has been two consecutive years. The college senior was wary of taking on voice lessons at first, but the experience has come to be something she has never regretted.
J: This is the chorale, (singing) see, yes I do. It just feels like brrhh!
O: Don’t be afraid to, like, get weird (chuckles) because Julie is, like, a weird instructor, but everything she does is for the benefit of the student. So I know when I started working with her, I was just like, “who is this crazy lady” who’s kinda like, derpy all the time. But once you get more comfortable with her, everything she does starts to make sense.
O: When I first started working with Julie, I felt, like, a little awkward cause I’ve never, like I’ve always been singing, but I’ve never taken professional voice lessons before two years ago so, like, when I first worked with her, it was just, like, kinda weird (laughs) because I’ve never had these vocalization techniques or, like, how to sing words differently, so the sound comes out better. So I just learned to be more comfortable with my voice because growing up I didn’t really like my voice, even though people tell me it. But I learned to be more comfortable and, like, not be afraid to just kinda go there.
N: Before her time of teaching undergraduates, Julie spent her college career being the voice student at Indiana University. While confused and unsure of how to read music with no experience from high school, her exposure to the singing world on one faithful day became the deciding factor of where her future would go.
J: And one day I was just singing along with The Carpenters, which is an old seventies… (laughs) I used to listen to a lot of Carpenters and a lot of Barbra Streisand, and I was singing around my house, singing along with them. And my dad was like, “ya know, I think you have a really good voice, like, maybe you can sing,” and I was like, “I don’t know, maybe I can sing.” So, I just tried out for the musical, and I got the lead, so they were like, “oh, I guess you can sing!” So, I was in the musical for all those years of high school.
N: Julie knew that singing was what she wanted to pursue, and graduated Indiana University with a degree in fine arts. She then moved on to Northwestern University, making it into the the vocale master’s program, an organization that would help her reach the stages of opera singers she had so admired.
J: I was much more content just supporting the stars, like, being on the Lyric Opera Chicago Stage with the biggest stars in opera of the time doing the lead roles and me just being in the chorus in the background, I was totally down for that. I was like, “I am standing, like, right next to these history makers, these amazing artists that I can’t believe I get to stand on the same stage as.”
N: At Northwestern she would soon come to be involved in the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) with winning the Graduate Level Voice Competition of the Chicago Region. Now standing as a regional governor for the group of New England, it is her students who are taking the spotlight in the competitions.
R: (singing Serenade) From your window give me greeting, hear my eternal vow. Soft in the trees lies the echo of my longing while all around you my dreams of rapture throng…
N: A VPA major of the theatre concentration, Ryan Finneran-Gallagher has been working with Julie since his first semester of college two years ago, and says that it has truly helped him in developing his voice.
R: She’s helped me learn how to control my voice and my lyrics and smooth out my voice a lot.
N: In the NATS competition held on January 19th, Ryan won 2nd place, earning him a spot in the College Musical Theater Division.
R: (singing Serenade) …above while I pour out my love for you know through my life you are loved. Oh, hear my longing cry…
N: He explained that Julie tends to stop her students in the middle of singing, but for the sole purpose of seeing the potential in their voices and wanting to bring it out to the best of their ability.
R: She’s really fun. If you, if you get her, you’re gonna have a really good time.
N: With teaching at Worcester State, Julie also manages her own private studio for sixth through twelfth grade, a business that has flourished to point of receiving so many applicants that it has been waitlisted for an ongoing six years. Even so, she is always accepting new students at WSU for the semesters to come, so long as the student is prepared to commit as much as she does.
J: I do think that if they have a super drive, and they absolutely love musical theater and can’t live without it, okay, fine. Let’s prepare you, let’s get you in a great musical theater program for college.
N: To make the most out of her time with students is to instruct them through a method called cross-training, where students dabble in all types of music to expand their options following graduation. Her most important advice…?
J: You can audition as much as you can, keep getting out there and auditioning. But, ya know, you might not make The Voice. So then, what are you gonna do? Are you gonna give up? Maybe not. Work the bar scene, ya know, do those kind of things. But you have to, like, you have to be willing to work for it…no matter what. You cannot just sit back and be like, “when’s the next audition? I’m sure I’m gonna get discovered,” because it’s not gonna happen. So the co-job and working hard for yourself is key.
N: If you are interested in auditioning to work with Julie at WSU, visit the Worcester State University Website. When you search “applied music lessons,” you will be taken to the application form, which is submitted directly to the university’s VPA office. Additionally, you will be asked to upload a video showing an example of your musical experience, which can be anything from you performing at a competition to singing in your dorm. Openings will be coming with the next academic year, so don’t wait! You won’t want to miss out on what could be your best musical opportunity!
O: I just love Julie (laughs).