Spencer is a Certified Master Teacher and one of North America’s premier vocal coaches, often hired to prepare recording artists and actors for studio, concert, theatre and film work. He is a teacher of teachers, training and certifying singing instructors world-wide.
My parents pushed me onstage with a ukelele at age five, and bingo, I was hooked! By age 16, I was getting gigs playing keyboards and singing background vocals. Eventually I got out from behind the piano and starting singing leads. I’ve even been known to bust a move occasionally, which is something if you know how little rhythm these feet have.
Over the last 20 years, I’ve toured North, South America and Europe, performing and recording with CCM artists like Rhythm & News and Carolyn Arends. I’ve also done session vocal work on a lot of recordings, hired by artists such as the legendary Randy Bachman and Juno-winner Brian Doerksen.
From 1997-2013, I was a certified Seth Riggs’ Speech Level Singing instructor, reaching Level 5 (the highest possible.) Seth Riggs is arguably the most successful vocal coach in Hollywood, having taught icons like Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and Prince, among 120+ other Grammy winners. For the last five years, I was one of seven SLS Master Teachers personally chosen by Seth Riggs to train and certify teachers worldwide. In 2013, I left in order to become a founding director of the Institute for Vocal Advancement (IVA), an international certification program for singing instructors worldwide.
Now as the Director of Education for IVA, I design the curriculum that voice teachers in 23 countries around the world study in order to achieve certification. Add in a full vocal studio here in Vancouver and my travel schedule of masterclasses and teacher training, and I’m a busy guy.
My mom forced me to take accordion lessons. No seriously, she did. Finally as a teenager, I moved up to studying classical, jazz and commercial piano. I also majored in composition in jazz studies at Capilano University.
I love one-on-one lessons, but I also travel part of the year presenting teacher training workshops and public master classes about vocal technique and application.
So far I’ve travelled to the US, UK, most of Europe, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Brazil, Argentina and Australia to lecture about voice and train teachers. I also teach voice lessons over the internet using Skype. I think I have students on every continent now except Antarctica (which is fine because I hear penguins are tone deaf anyways.)
Actually a few. I’ve worked with artists signed to Universal, Interscope, Nettwerk, Capitol and Integrity Hosanna. I have also coached actors for film & TV projects. I recently worked with Patrick Warburton for the Netflix series A Series of Unfortunate Events, and with Legends of Tomorrow’s Victor Garber. When Adele Live 2016 stopped in Vancouver, I was honoured to work with her background singer Katie Holmes-Smith.
Other clients have included Juno-winners Brian Doerksen and Greg Sczebel, My Name is Kay produced by Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic, Cris Crippin of Hedley, Shaun Verreault of Wide Mouth Mason, and Trish Klein of The Be Good Tanyas.
I look at every lesson as a unique experience personalized to your needs and aspirations. I’m not interested in building voices that all sound the same, cookie cutter style. So I would approach your voice listening for what makes it uniquely you, and then giving you tools and techniques to help you do what you do, just better.
The vocal technique I teach (IVA) is not style-specific, so it really can be applied to any vocal genre. My clients range from opera to progressive metal to musical theatre (and anything in between!) That being said, my personal performance background has been in RnB, pop, rock, and jazz.
Between my teaching schedule, traveling, and keeping up with my two young daughters, my life’s pretty full. Every once in a while, I’ll sneak on stage to scratch that singing itch. I still do studio session work occasionally, laying down background vocals or piano tracks if it’s a cool project.
Well again, those two girls pretty much sum up my extracurricular life, but I’m also a big fan of surfing, skiing, camping, documentary films, and pretty much anything fitness related.