Jill Knapp: Vocal Coach

Award-winning singer Jill Knapp, a familiar face in the Wilmington music and theater scene, is selectively accepting new students (ages 15+) for her vocal studio in Wilmington, Delaware. A veteran music director, vocal coach, and public school music teacher, Jill holds a BA in Music Education and has over 65 theatrical productions to her credit. As a member of the Music Educators National Conference, she has served as an adjudicator for choral and vocal competitions across the country. She regularly tours the US and Europe with Los Angeles' 17-piece big band The Industrial Jazz Group, and she performs regionally with her acoustic dork-rock power duo Hot Breakfast!, where they have opened for The Dead Milkmen several times to sold-out audiences. Jill also serves as a studio musician for several studios in New Jersey and Delaware, she had the honor of providing backing vocals for Whitney Houston in the mid-90s, and prior to that she was the Tenor 1 section leader for the North Jersey Region Chorus (yes really; tenor), and also participated in NJ All State Chorus as well as the prestigious MENC All-Eastern Chorus of 1989. During college, she was a voice major with a concentration on Early Music, and received her Music Education degree in 1996 after taking some time off during college to record and tour professionally.   Fast forward to 2013 and again in 2016, she won a Homey Award for "Best Lead Singer," and she can help you sound your best, too.

Her comfortable studio is just moments away from The Arden Gild Hall, New Candlelight Dinner Theater, and The Wilmington Drama League.  Leverage Jill's experience and knowledge, and hear what a difference just a few lessons can make!

UPDATE: I apologize, but I'm not currently accepting new students; my 2018 teaching and performing schedules are full.

But however:


If you are looking for regular (weekly, bi-weekly) lessons, I highly, highly recommend either of these three teachers. These folks are full-time working musicians, making a living off of teaching and performing music.

Based in Newark, Delaware, Ms. Erin Kelsey is a graduate of the University of Delaware with a degree in Music Education and Vocal Performance. She is a classically-trained vocalist and multi-instrumentalist (violin, piano, guitar, ukulele, and she can help students of all ages and abilities develop the skills they need to enjoy a lifetime of a healthy, reliable, smooth singing voice. Erin performs as one-half of acoustic folk duo The Honey Badgers, and I have had the honor of working with Erin (and her husband/musical partner Michael Natrin) on stage on many occasions. If you are interested in opera, classical, folk, pop, Broadway musicals and other showtunes, or even choral singing or working on your own music, Erin is not only an absolutely wonderful singer with a voice like velvet, but she is a very sensitive, thoughtful, careful, passionate and dedicated musician as well. (There is a very distinct and important difference between being a singer/instrumentalist and a musician. Erin is both.) To learn more about Erin or to contact her about possibly starting lessons, please visit her website. You can tell her that you found her through my website.

Mr. Steven Weatherman is a graduate of the prestigious Westminster Choir College, and has been the Director of Music at St. David's Church for almost 20 years. Steven is also a professional chorister with the Opera Company of Philadelphia, an accomplished character actor, and music director for countless musical theater productions throughout the region. You've probably seen him playing his signature role of "King Herod" in Jesus Christ Superstar at theaters across the United States, and if you have, you've probably given him a standing ovation along with the rest of the audience. Steven is a true professional; be prepared to work hard; you will have fun and you will sound your best whether you sing choral music, opera, Broadway, R&B, Gospel, or pop. Steven teaches out of his studio in north Wilmington, and he can be reached via phone (texting is preferred so as not to interrupt lessons) at 302-528-9987 or via email at trinity223 at aol.com. Please tell him that I referred you.

Ms. Judith Kay is a world-class performer, educator, composer, recording artist, and jazz guitar virtuoso, with seven albums to her credit. She has toured the world performing her own bossa-nova-inspired style of music called "TastyJazz." Judith's voice is crystal-clear, accurate, and passionate; she will not only teach you to sing well, but she will teach you to be a good musician. She will build your musical knowledge, vocabularly and repertoire using standards from The Great American Songbook. Ella Fitzgerald, Cole Porter, Duke Ellington; these legends were legends for a reason. You want to sing today's music? You've got to know your history. Ms. Kay will not coddle you; you will work hard, and the results will be so, so worth it. You will never have more fun working so hard. She teaches out of her gorgeous studio in the North Wilmington arts community of Arden. Please refer to Judith's website for her contact information, and please let her know that I referred you. Thank you!

Another teacher is Lynne Claire Morse, and she earned her Masters in Vocal Performance from UD, and she teaches in Hockessin/Yorklyn at CCArts. She is a full-time musician and voice teacher, just like the other teachers on this list. She specializes in "classical, pop, rock, musical theater, in pre-teens, teens, and young adults." Her email address is lynne.claire.morse@mac.com and her website is lynneclairemorse.com, and her number is 302-307-3321. She has the skills and training to handle all styles. (Full disclosure: I admit I have not had the opportunity to perform with Ms. Morse, but some other people I respect say she is great. I would not list her here if I did not believe she was solid.)

Choosing a Voice Teacher | Audition Assistance | Long-Term Voice Lessons | Short-Term Lessons | Ensemble Coaching

Attention Directors and Music Directors | Recording Studio Vocal Coach

What to Expect During a Lesson | Rates | Please Keep in Mind... | Contact Information

Choosing a Voice Teacher
Unsure about how to choose a voice teacher? That's normal!
Choosing a voice teacher is similar to choosing a massage therapist. You have to be comfortable with each other, and willing to talk about what your body is telling you, what things feel like, etc. It's a very personal thing, and it's important for you to shop around until you find a voice teacher who can not only help you achieve your vocal goals, but also has a teaching style that works with your learning style. Some students prefer their teachers to sugar-coat their words; other students want the Simon Cowell treatment!

Your first voice lesson is actually a two-way audition. You are auditioning for me so I can decide if I can help you achieve your goals; but I am also auditioning to be your teacher as well. You should be evaluating if my teaching and communication style works for you! I'm always happy to recommend other voice teachers in the area if I think they can serve your needs better. Other teachers refer their students to me as well-- this is one of the benefits to working with a teacher who is part of a network of other music teachers. There is never any pressure obligation to stay affiliated with a voice teacher. The only obligation is that no matter who you work with, you will work hard, you will try new things, and you will practice, practice, practice.

Audition Assistance
Have a big audition coming up for theater or college? Need just a few lessons so you can sing at a special occasion?
Auditioning for a musical theater production? I can help you select a piece that best fits your vocal range, type and character. I can also help polish that song you've been using for years, giving you new interpretations and ideas to help keep your audition fresh and convincing.

Are you a high school student auditioning to be a music major in college? I can help you choose appropriate repetoire and help you with your foreign language requirement, too.

No matter what you're auditioning for, I can help you:

  •  Choose vocal selections directors want to hear
  •  Sing with conviction and confidence
  •  Look comfortable even if youíre not
  •  Pronounce your words clearly without sounding stuffy or rigid
  •  Choose interesting pieces which show off your best range
  •  Survive an audition when you have a cold

    Long-Term (Weekly/Bi-Weekly) Voice Lessons
    Want to brush up your vocal technique? Looking for a disciplined approach to singing? I offer long-term lessons, where you'll come in on a set weekly (or bi-weekly) schedule.

  •  Free your singing voice to smooth over vocal breaks
  •  Learn and utilize effective warm up techniques that cater to your vocal needs
  •  Work up new repertoire
  •  Understand the body/mind connection and sing with intention
  •  Learn to belt with minimal strain to your voice

    Short-Term Lessons
    Do you have a special occasion coming up where you'd like to sing? Come in for an evaluation, and we'll decide how many lessons you'll need for you to reach your short-term goal.

  •  Learn to sing through the jitters
  •  Learn relaxation techniques so you can sing with conviction and confidence
  •  Look comfortable even if youíre not
  •  Pronounce your words clearly without sounding stuffy or rigid

    Ensemble Work and Coaching
    Belong to a vocal ensemble, and need help learning that tricky harmony?

  •  Understand how your part fits in with the other voice parts of a piece
  •  Blend with other voices with ease
  •  Hone your listening skills
  •  Learn to sing in tune and correct pitch issues on the fly

    Attention Directors and Music Directors!
    Whether you need an extra set of ears or someone to bang out some obscure alto parts for your chorus rehearsals, I can be the dependable help you need during the rehearsal process. Let me:

  •  Work with actors one-on-one to become more comfortable singing on stage
  •  Make your chorus sound like an ensemble (and drill obscure alto parts into their heads)
  •  Teach your belters to blend, and teach your blenders to sing out
  •  Help that tenor who just canít quite get that one high note

    Opening night is always hectic, and you invariably need to be in 3 places at once. On the night of the show, hire me to:

  •  Focus, center and psyche up your cast before a performance
  •  Warm up your cast so you can warm up the pit orchestra
  •  Warm up your orchestra so you can warm up the cast
  •  Be the extra set of ears to assist in your sound check.

    In-Studio Vocal Coach
    Are you a singer in a band and working on a recording? Not quite getting the vocals to sound the way you want?
    Hire me to come to the recording studio with you, and we'll work together in the vocal booth to capture your best performance. Good singers shouldn't have to rely on pitch-correcting tools like Auto-Tune, and with the help of a vocal coach in the studio with you, you'll sing with passion, power, musicality, and control-- exactly what your band needs you to be!

    Coming to a Lesson: What to Expect
    Your first lesson will be mostly discussion, to understand and document your musical/vocal goals, and to get a sense of what kind of instruction works best for you.   A short, non-written musical test will be given to get a sense of where you are, skills-wise.  We'll also test your vocal range, and we'll decide if we want to move forward. I'll ask some questions:

  •  How often do you want to come in?
  •  Is there an end-date you have in mind (an audition or an event, for example), or will these be continuous lessons?
  •  Do you have a certain vocal style you like?
  •  Who are your favorite singers?
  •  Have you ever had lessons before?

    Subsequent lessons are divided roughly in half. The first half is spent on technique-- through discussion and exercises. The last 20 minutes of the lesson is typically spent on repertoire-- this is where we apply what we've learned to actual pieces of music we've selected.

  •  Lessons are 50 minutes in length. Please make every attempt to be on time, and call ahead if you are running behind.
  •  All lesson end-times are firm, even if it started late. (Other artists use the studio space, and we must be respectful of their schedules.)
  •  Refunds will not be given if the student is late, and lesson times may not be extended to make up lost time.


  •   Initial Lessons (evaluations) / single lessons are $60.
  •   Subsequent lessons are 50 minutes in length, and cost $50. (Monthly rates are available for students signing up for weekly lessons.)
  •   Sheet music can be purchased through me, or you can purchase it from your favorite sheet music store. Students are responsible for paying for their own sheet music.
  •   Payment is due at the start of each lesson. I accept checks, cash, PayPal, and credit and debit cards.

    Please Keep In Mind...

  •   I'm a working musician, and staying healthy is important to me being able to perform and earn a living.   Please don't come to a lesson if you're sick, or if you think you're coming down with something. I promise to give you the same courtesy if I'm feeling under the weather.
  •   All lessons begin on the hour, and end at the :50 minute mark. If you arrive late, your lesson will still end at the regular time so I can prepare for my next student.
  •   I will do my best to give you a regular lesson schedule, but sometimes we'll have to juggle days to accomodate my travel schedule with my bands.

    Contact Information
    So how do we get started? Email me at

    (Yes, I know my email address looks funny with the plus-sign in there. Just type it as you see it; it's fine. :) )

    In your email, please include:

    1. Your name
    2. Your age (or the age of the student)
    3. The general type of lessons you're looking for (Singing or public speaking)
    4. The reason you're seeking lessons (Examples: You're singing for your friend's wedding and need just a few lessons to help you learn or polish the song; you sing in a band and want weekly or bi-weekly lessons to help you sound better and reduce fatigue; you have an audition coming up and need a lesson or two to polish your song; you just got a part in a musical and want to work on your songs so you nail them; you've always loved to sing and now you want to take lessons; you want to be rich and famous (lol); etc.)
    5. How often you'd like to come in (Examples: one-time coaching session, one-time recording studio coaching, ongoing weekly/bi-weekly lessons, etc.)
    6. and if anyone referred you to me.

    Thank you! I'm looking forward to meeting you.
    In the meantime, if you'd like to come hear me perform live, come check out my band Hot Breakfast!, performing regionally, and also throughout the United States.

    Last updated May 26, 2016, 8:16pm EST.