"Circle Songs" faculty: Joey Blake, Judi Vinar, Rhiannon, Bobby McFerrin, David Worm

"Circle Songs" faculty: Joey Blake, Judi Vinar, Rhiannon, Bobby McFerrin, David Worm

Starting her professional career in 1983, Judi combined 4 years of classical voice training with previously self taught strategies to enter the world of pop, folk, musical theater and eventually jazz, gospel, and world music.  This journey quickly revealed that classical training is one style, and to manage a healthy instrument under the demands of other musical styles required further study.   Decades of singing and teaching led her to the Alexander Technique, Voice Science and most recently Feldenkrais Technique and Bio Mechanics.   Beyond the Sciences, Judi believes in a Mind – Body – Spirit approach to singing.  “Every voice has within it an unlimited potential for beauty, versatility, energy and power.”  When Judi works with a singer, she sees potential (often placed just behind the student’s perceptions of what singing is “supposed” to be.)  Judi partners with singers to help them find vocal freedom; unlimited and true to their unique expression of self.

Judi began teaching at Music Tech in Minneapolis in 1994.  She developed curricula for Vocal Study in Contemporary Styles, and was instrumental in helping the school garner accreditation with the National Association of Schools of Music, as well as move from a tech school to McNally Smith College of Music, a full degree granting program and candidate for Regional Accreditation.  Judi served as the Voice Department Head for 15 years. (Education: BM in Vocal Performance - University of Nebraska Lincoln, Masters of Education Music Emphasis - University of Minnesota Twin Cities)

Now a freelance vocal clinician, Judi gives Master Classes and Clinics on Vocal Improvisation, Efficient Vocal Techniques, Understanding Your Audience, and Ensemble Performance Strategies.  She is a faculty member for “Circlesongs”  a 7 day workshop on improvisation with Bobby McFerrin at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck NY.

Private lessons available via Skype/FaceTime, and Tuesday Vocal Workshops (St. Paul) with Lori Dokken.  Email Judivinar@gmail.com to get on the mailing list for workshops.

Judi directs the Unity Minneapolis Choir in Golden Valley, MN.  

Unity Minneapolis Choir   www.unityminneapolis.org

Unity Minneapolis Choir www.unityminneapolis.org

Quotes from former and current students...

From Kathy Mattea – 2 Time Grammy Award Winner, Platinum Recording Artist;

I met Judi at Circlesongs in 2013. I really enjoyed her teaching approach, and was knocked out by her singing.

Two years later, I hit a crisis in my own singing and needed to dig in. I tracked her down and asked if she would Skype lessons with me. That was in April of 2015.

 I have found her teaching transformative. Judi has a wonderful, innate balance of gentleness and firmness, which was exactly what I needed. She doesn't mince words, but is also able to create a safe space to take risks. This is the combination that continually inspires me to keep reaching for the next nuance, to keep uncovering hidden expression lying dormant in my own instrument. As a professional singer for 35-plus years, it's been like getting to know a familiar old friend in a new way--my own voice is starting to surprise me!

 From Vicki Genfan - Vanguard Recording Artist;

"I've taken voice lessons for many years with many different teachers and none of them have brought me to the place I'm approaching in my lessons with Judi. We've only been working (on Skype) for about 6 months, and I am so excited to be using parts of my voice I kept hidden, to have more confidence, to be working on my ear training skills and to really explore vocal improvisation! Thank you Judi!!!


From Maud Hixson;

"Judi is a natural teacher, and as a great singer, can also demonstrate what she teaches. She has been able to facilitate breakthroughs for me by sensing what I needed at just that moment in my development, both in master classes and working with her onstage in live performance. She has a strong ability to impart what she knows, which compounds the talent she has as an artist, a rare quality."


From Jeff Goldstein – pianist/songwriter (available on Spotify)

"I had literally never opened my mouth to sing before and in 3 short months Judi was able to get me to the point of performing an entire evening of music in public.  Each lesson was like taking a private Master Class.  Judi encouraged me to get out of my comfort zone, take chances and gave me a valuable tool box."

From Wendy Zaro;

Judi Vinar is an absolutely amazing versatile singer and teaching artist.  She has a warm and beautiful vocal instrument that has the ability to communicate the rich melodic lines of legato ballads as well as the complex acrobats of intricate jazz improvisation. Judi guided me through the delicate transition from classical singing into the world of musical theatre and jazz with intelligence, finesse and passion for her art. She is an excellent vocal pedagogue with the thorough understanding and knowledge of the vocal mechanism. In her eight-week vocal workshops I have observed Judi teach every level of singer from beginner to advanced.  She uses descriptions and clear detailed language tailored to each individual's learning style with successful results in a very short period of time.  I am proud to claim Judi as my mentor and guide and know that anyone lucky enough to study with her will be transformed as not only a singer but as a human as well."  

 Wendy Zaro, DMA, Associate Professor of Voice, The School of Music, UMN