Frequently Asked Questions

Learn in-person or on Zoom!

As with anything that involves coordination, how long you study depends on your goals, needs, and budget. Some performers and athletes have challenging goals and need to function at an elite level of coordination, so they study on an ongoing basis. Other people with coordination, vocal health, or pain issues study for whatever duration continues to bring them improvement. For time and budget reasons, most people choose to study once a week as they work towards their goals.

You should consult with your physician, physical therapist, or speech language pathologist about this, but usually, yes.

Because these are not therapies or treatments, insurance usually does not cover this form of study, but there have been students whose physicians prescribed lessons. These students paid me directly and had their insurance companies reimburse them for the cost of lessons.

  • Private Lessons: Ardmore, PA.
  • Private Lessons On Site: For an additional fee, I can travel to teach you at your business, organization, theater, educational
    institution, or home.
  • Groups: If you have a few friends or a group of people who are interested in studying together, I would be happy to teach you as a group.
  • Classes: I teach at Temple University, Arcadia University, and Westminster College of the Arts (Westminster Choir College)

If you cancel a lesson less than 24 hours ahead of your lesson, you are financially responsible for the time slot you booked.

Fill out the form on the Contact page for an individual consultation to get feedback about what would best address your needs and situation. Describe your situation and I’ll tell you if and how I might be able to help you. Many people find it useful to set up a trial lesson to see whether this style of learning suits their tastes and need.

The Alexander Technique is a way of working with yourself during activities in which you are engaged.  The Technique can be applied in real time to improve the effectiveness of everything you do. Much of the Technique involves un-learning unconscious physical and mental habits that are causing undue strain on your muscles and joints and are interfering with your body’s natural coordination. Alexander Technique brings unconscious habits to consciousness, and gives you choices based on the principles of free movement.

The Alexander Technique relates the function of each body part to the use of the relationship of the head neck back and pelvis. This vital coordinating relationship is called the Primary Control. If the Primary Control is organized freely, then your entire body will move with more ease and effectiveness. The Alexander Technique perspective on movement is that the function of your individual body parts improves as an increasingly well-organized primary control better coordinates the function of the whole self.

The Feldenkrais Method® is a system of self-improvement through experiential comparisons of movement options. Through a series of movement experiments, you discover how your individual body parts can work together to move with increasing ease. Then when you are involved in an activity in your day-to-day life, your nervous system automatically recalls the easy way to do that movement based on the experiences and discoveries you made in the movement sequences. The Feldenkrais® perspective on movement is that the interrelated coordination of the parts is what coordinates the whole.

Which is better, the Alexander Technique or the Feldenkrais Method®? That is like asking, “Which is more useful  – a hammer or a screwdriver?” Try hammering a nail with a screwdriver – you could do it, but why? Both methods of working are useful and which you use depends on your circumstances and needs.

  • Similarities and Benefits: each of these methods has distinct properties and benefits. Both are kinesthetically and musically based because they originated from singing. Both use familiar experiences to teach people to recognize the sensations and various coordination options of healthy voice use. Both can increase vocal health, resonance, power, range, and expressive options.

  • Applications: Lessac primarily been applied to train the speaking voice, but it can also develop the male singing voice and the female belt. Arthur Lessac used to say, ”all speech is singing but not all singing is speech” Estill Voice Training® has traditionally been used in voice therapy and training the singing voice, but it can be effectively applied to vocal health and character choices in the speaking voice.

  • Aesthetic Bias: Estill® has no aesthetic bias and teaches powerful uses of the voice (such as opera and belt), as well as how to healthily produce character voices, and singing styles that can only be heard with microphones. The Lessac System primarily develops a powerful, resonant, and expressive speaking voice for presentations, teaching, and performing on stage, onscreen, and in the recording studio.

  • Text Work, Articulation, and Script Interpretation: The Lessac System works with language, and has methods of working with sound patterns within the text to uncover subtext and emotional connection. Estill™ Voice Training does not have a script interpretation or articulation component. The Lessac System has a highly developed and musical method of using consonants to increase intelligibility.

  • Voice and Body Training: Lessac is a holistic voice and body training in which the physical and vocal performing instruments are trained together. Estill® is a method of training the voice in which the body supports the voice but is not extensively trained.

  • Scientific Research: Estill Voice Training® was founded upon scientific research. Individual vocal co-ordinations are specifically trained in ways that can be scientifically measured, applied, and combined to produce specific results. The Lessac System was developed through trial and error by working with stage actors on Broadway and in actor training programs. It has proven itself to be effective onstage and is currently being studied and measured scientifically.

  • Technique, Craft, and Artistry: Lessac System is a creative and innovative learning method that is designed to stimulate a performer’s imagination and ability to make kinesthetically informed artistic choices. With Lessac, technique and aesthetic artistry are taught and developed together. Estill Voice Training® is a craft-focused study in which technique is developed through concrete muscular and skill training that makes future artistic choices possible.

People study the Alexander Technique, Feldenkrais® Method, Estill Voice Training®, The Lessac System of Voice and Body Training, and Performance Skills for different reasons; for some the situation is urgent – they are experiencing pain, injury, stress, physical deterioration or vocal symptoms that need to be addressed. These people study because they want their lives back. For others, their careers or hobbies require a high level of functioning. They want to increase their ease and skill so they can pursue artistic or athletic excellence, avoid injury, and do what they love for as long as possible. And there are people who are interested in self-discovery, enhanced well-being, and a deeper relationship with their body, voice, and creativity. Whatever your motivation is for taking lessons, study is an opportunity to develop your potential and improve your quality of life.

  • Hour-long lessons
  • Individual Attention
  • A gentle and practical approach
  • In-depth examination of what you want to do and exploration of options to make that activity more successful
  • Monologues, songs, playing an instrument, sports activities etc.… can be a welcome part of your lesson
  • When appropriate, you may lie on your back on a table as I help you release habitual tensions outside of activity
  • Lesson times are Mondays through Fridays daytimes and early evenings, and some Saturdays
  • Payment is accepted in the form of cash, check, or PayPal 
  • 24-hour cancellation policy

No special clothing is required for these lessons. I recommend that you wear comfortable street clothes in which you can comfortably sit, bend, and lie down. If you are working on a specific activity such as dance, running, singing in high heels, etc.… you may wish to bring shoes or gear that are appropriate for that activity.

If you are hoarse or experiencing vocal difficulty before a performance, there are techniques that address your vocal health while making the most of your current vocal capacity. More often than not, these techniques result in access to the majority of vocal function. In an Emergency Vocal Coaching, I will listen to your voice, work with you, and give you an honest assessment of how to healthfully proceed. If you are experiencing vocal distress and you need to perform, consider contacting me for an Emergency Vocal Coaching.

  • Learning is tailored to a group’s interests, time frame, size, and budget.
  • Skills are learned in an upbeat, participatory, and engaging atmosphere.
  • The format is designed to meet your group’s needs.

You can select classes, individual lessons or a combination.

  • Choose a time frame that works for you. Workshops generally are one hour to multi-hour experiences. Residencies can last from a couple of days to a few weeks.
  • Groups have used workshops and residencies to learn new skills, enhance existing skills, gain tools for self-care, acquire continuing education credits, and work towards specific projects.
  • Fees depend on the nature of the workshop, the size of group, and the time demands of the workshop or residency.
  • Organizations that have had workshops include secondary schools, colleges and universities, corporations, medical schools, equestrian academies, clubs and medical support groups.

Sample Topics of Past Workshops and Residencies:

  • Accent Reduction for ESL
  • Developing The Actor’s Instrument: Body Awareness and Choice in Actor Training
  • Playing Brass Instruments with expressiveness, power, and ease
  • Playing String instruments with expressiveness, power, and ease
  • Toxic Thoughts: What to Think and What to Do to Avoid Performance Anxiety
  • The Duality of Postural Use and Breath Support in the Classical Singing Voice
  • Vocal Ease: Power without Pain, Strength without Strain
  • Audition and Recital Preparation
  • Creating Characters through Physical Choices
  • Avoiding Repetitive Stress Injury at Work
  • Preparing a Presentation: Presentation Skills for Professional Conferences
  • Self-care for Vocal Health Professionals
  • The Alexander Technique: working with yourself and Fibromyalgia
  • Avoiding Neck and Back Injury while examining and caring for patients
  • Back Care for Healthy Lifting
  • Jumping: Using your Body to Effectively Communicate with the Horse
"Diane Gaary is a superb practitioner… she clearly has command of group dynamics and can communicate the meaning of this work verbally and by demonstration in ways that everyone can grasp"
Jan Hammer
College Music Professor, Swarthmore College
“(Diane) is an inspiring coach and teacher, taking special care to develop a personal and trusting bond with her students, assuring them that they will have access to her throughout a project or class but not coddling or pampering them. Diane knows how to methodically raise the bar and coax her subjects into applying their best efforts to the work at hand.”
Doug Wager
Artistic Director for Temple Theaters/former Artistic Director of the Arena stage in Washington, DC
"Her patience, presence, and knowledge of the voice were truly wonderful!"
Richard Brennan
Director of The Alexander Technique Training Center, Galway, Ireland, author
"We brought Diane Gaary to campus to work with the cast of The Wind in the Willows… I wish we could … for every cast!"
Monica Hayes
Professor of Theatre, Head of Performance, The University of Southern Mississippi
"Students who work with Diane are able to move ahead much more quickly and with greater long-term success.
On several occasions, I have invited Diane to address my students as a group (studio class)…This is a highly valuable use of class time, as many of these students are inspired and begin to recognize more clearly, the relationship between the approach to body management and choices of technique while singing."
Elem Eley
Baritone, Professor of Voice, Westminster Choir College of Rider University