Say hello to our newest certified instructor here at SWVS. Ko has 6 years of experience, but his intuitive style and attention to detail will make you think he’s been teaching for 20! He loves going the extra mile to see his students, young and old, succeed.
I was born and raised in Kyoto, Japan, until the age of 16 and moved to Victoria, BC, to attend high school. I was a unique kid, singing the soprano part in the school choir even after my voice had changed. I grew up with music and was blessed with a chance to be the lead singer in a band during university. However, being in that band made me realize how complex the world of music really was and how limited my vocal ability was at the time. Since then, I’ve been taking voice lessons at SWVS, and each lesson improved my voice qualities remarkably. Studying at SWVS inspired me to become a voice trainer.
I studied at the University of Victoria, majoring in Psychology from 2008-2011. I also took musicianship courses at the Music faculty during this time.
In 2011, I moved to Vancouver and became a pre-certified voice trainer in Speech Level Singing. It was a huge honour for me to learn from world-renowned voice teachers such as Spencer Welch, Greg Enriquez and Jeffery Skouson.
In 2013, I joined the Institute for Vocal Advancement and ever since, have taught a large number of students as a certified voice teacher.
I also studied Music Archetype Psychology with Edwin Coppard in Victoria, learning how music improves our human qualities. I play piano, guitar, and ukulele. I use these instruments to accompany my students during their lessons.
I would start by diagnosing your voice with the 5-tone AH scale. Once I know your vocal tendency, I’d design scales that would improve your voice based on the outcome of the diagnoses. For example, when my students have light and/or weak resonances in the lower range, I use a variety of vocalises to help them strengthen the lower part of their instrument. That makes a huge difference in their lower and upper ranges once they start singing songs.
Nothing in this world can be more rewarding than watching my student’s voices improve and their self-esteem grow.
I teach and play different styles of music, but Pop, Folk and R&B are genres I enjoy playing. I love teaching kids so I’m always looking for songs and activities to improve their musicianship.
The biggest struggle in my own voice was fixing my tendency to “pull” up my chest voice. I used to sing really heavy in the lower range and didn’t know how to connect my voice to the higher register. As a result, I had a big break around G4, and that wasn’t really cool. Taking lessons at SWVS enabled me to connect my voice from low to high register.
I was a member of a Japanese gospel choir in Vancouver around 2011. After the big Japan earthquake hit Fukushima in March of that same year, we participated in several charity events to support the tsunami victims. We’ve performed at various venues including the Queen Elizabeth Theatre and Nikkei Centre. Currently, I am the lead vocalist of a small acoustic local band.
I love hiking and being surrounded by the beautiful nature of British Columbia. Camping and snowboarding are my favourite things to do aside from music.
So far these classes have exceeded my expectations. I feel that Ko is able to target areas that I need to focus on and then walk me through exercises that by the end of the class, result in dramatic differences in the way that I have sang particular songs in the past.Rod Nikmaram (Student)
Book Lessons with Ko