Sara Sawyer's Voice, Acting and Piano Studio
Sara Sawyer has been trained by many vocal teachers throughout the years. Starting private voice lessons at age seven, she took lessons from Kristy Wisso, and Bruce Messer at the beginning, winning talent contests like The Minnesota State Fair Talent contest, all over the state of Minnesota even as young as ten years old. She started taking voice from Shannon Unger at MacPhail Center of Music in Minneapolis in high school and then took lessons from resident artists at The Minnesota Opera Company during her year long internship there in 2004. She then took private lessons during college in New York City from well-known opera singer Catherine Christensen. She currently is taking voice lessons from singer/teacher/director Courtney Crouse, who moved to Oklahoma to become professor of voice at the prestigious Oklahoma City University. She now skypes their lessons over the internet.
Sara's teaching includes all types of music; musical theater, opera, classical, pop, and folk. Any gender and any age are welcome to sing with Ms. Sawyer. She likes to focus on making the singer feel comfortable and confident in their own unique voice. She emphasizes breathing skills and getting back to the basics of filling the room with sound in a healthy way. Her way of reaching freedom in someones specific sound is by using physical and mental exercises to get sound fluid and moving breath through the body, and then working on a song, of the singer's or Sara's choice. She can also help with learning rhythm, sight reading, and harmony.
Piano came naturally to Miss Sawyer. She taught herself starting at age eleven when her cousin started taking lessons. She would sneak the books away and play for hours and hours. She worked her way through all the levels of piano by high school and now has the ability to teach! Piano students can look forward to an emphasis on music theory, rhythm and musicality when taking from Sara.
Sara's acting training mostly came from her time at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy, but she has also built up quite the performance resume filled with comedies and dramas. Past college she took workshops with The Actor's Green Room, and Actor's Connection in New York City, teaching artist training with an emphasis on drama therapy with Melanie Trimble, and private acting classes with Guy Stroman. Check down below at her teaching resume for even more training details.
Most recently Sara won a prestigious Innovate Award from her work at MN Opera in the year 2019 for launching an existing el sistema based after school program at a new school and modifying it for younger students.
If you would like to inquire about prices, book a lesson or have any questions whatsoever, please use the contact page. If in need of financial help, my mother Jane Sawyer has set up a scholarship fund for students deemed ambitious and dedicated enough to really benefit from lessons with me. She has agreed to put forward a percentage of your lesson fee, based on the level of need.
Reviews from Students on thumbtack.com, takelessons.com and reverblessons.com
"Sara is an outstanding vocal coach. It is obvious she has an extensive understanding of voice through years of training and performance. She is very knowledgeable and caters her lessons to the individual's needs! She is also lovely and energetic and takes meticulous care to track what exercises she is going through with you and what songs you should be working on."
"Sara is wonderful to work with! She is very professional and clearly knowledgeable in her field. As someone who is primarily a dancer, I was interested in taking voice lessons in order to feel confident and prepared for musical theater auditions. Sara did an incredible job making me feel relaxed and comfortable during the lesson, and offered many helpful tools and suggestions to help me practice on my own. I know she can help me get to where I want to be with my voice!"
"Sara's a great teacher! The potential in me is being awakened, guided and nurtured. And she encourages you to dream big! Exactly what I want from my teacher!"
"Sara's experience in vocal training allows her to identify what would benefit your voice. She has different warm ups and techniques that will aid you not just in the sound you are looking for but prepare you for all types of singing. What I really like about these lessons is that I have pinpointed the weaknesses in my technique, that I myself could not identify, and that I leave with the ability to work on those weaknesses . Sara is really cool and down to earth making it it a comfortable environment to work in. Lastly, she has a singing cat which you need to see...I kid you not."
"If you're looking to enhance all your singing skills look no further, Sara in the one who will undoubtedly be able to help as she helped me see magnificent progress as soon as we started,
Thank you Sara for continuing to bring out the best of me!!"
"Sarah was such a pleasure to work with! She was super sweet and understood that I was a beginner. I've been scared of singing and she was able to get that fear out. She made you feel comfortable :) Thank you!"
"Iris really loved her first lesson and can't wait to take more lessons."
"Sara greatly exceeded my expectations. This was my first voice lesson ever, but I really can't imagine that someone could be a better teacher than her. I feel very lucky to have chosen her to navigate me through this life journey!"
"So far, so good! Sara is a very knowledgeable teacher - she really knows what she's doing, it's natural. Totally comfortable from the get go. Looking forward to a lot more lessons!"
Minnehaha Academy (January 2015-Present) Mendota Heights, MN
*Private Voice Teacher
Escalate Dance and Theatre Studio (December 2015-Present) Osseo, MN
*Voice, Piano and Acting Teacher
Stages Theatre Company (June 2016-Present) Hopkins, MN
*Teaching Artist *Rehearsal Pianist *Camp Music Director
Children's Theatre Company (March 2016-Present) Minneapolis, MN
*TAT Teaching Artist *Audition Accompanist
Lundstrum Center (February 2016-Present) Minneapolis, MN
*Voice Instructor Substitute
Crescendo Music Program (December 2015-May 2017) Elk River, MN
*Voice and Piano Instructor
Minnesota Opera (November 2015-Present) Minneapolis, MN
*School programs Associate Manager
Laurel Arts Theater Camp (August 2015) Jennerstown, PA
Sara Sawyer's Private Voice, Piano and Acting Studio (June 2012-Present) New York, NY and Minneapolis, MN
*Voice, Piano and Acting Teacher
The Studio Performing Arts (June 2013-June 2015) New Canaan, CT
*Teacher of pop singing and musical theater classes *Private voice and acting instructor
Teaching artist training with American Alliance for Theater and Education
Professional development through The University of Minnesota on Social Emotional Learning
Teaching artist Training with Melanie Trimble
Private acting with Guy Stroman
Acting classes through Actors Connection and Actors Green Room
Private voice with Shannon Unger, Jason Sherbundy, Catherine Christensen,
Year long internship with The Minnesota Opera Company
Graduate of the integrated Program at The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in NYC
Alisa Magallon (Education Director at Houston Grand Opera) 1-713-474-6925
Lorah Haskins (The Studio) 203-966-7056
Courtney Crouse (Professor of Voice at Oklahoma City University) 646-434-9019
Over the years, students of Sara Sawyer have received many accolades, from leading roles in theater and talent contest awards to studying music at the university level, to becoming accomplished performers in their own right. Here is a list of recent or current students and their accomplishments:
Kate Spence: Kate has been seen in "Matilda" and "Cinderella" at Children's Theatre Company as well as "The Music Man" at Chanhassen dinner theater
Sara Bowman: Will be playing "Margot" in Bright Star at Maple Grove High School fall 2020
Anna Stenerson: Will be playing "Alice" in Bright Star at Maple Grove High School fall 2020. Anna was also accepted into the prestigious MN All-state honor choir for her junior and senior year.
In the fall of 2021 Anna will be able to decide between two prestigious music schools; Luther College and St. Olaf College with music scholarships to both!
Mackenzie Moe: Won the role of Tracy Turnblad in "Hairspray" in spring 2019, the lead role of Mabel in "Pirates of Penzance" in spring 2020 and the lead role of Esmerelda in "Hunchback of Notre Dame at Anoka High school in 2021.
In 2021 Mackenzie has already made it into four musical theater programs for her college career start; University of Minnesota Duluth, North Dakota State University, University of Wisconsin La Crosse and Eau Claire. Where will she choose?!
Mackenzie was also accepted into the prestigious MN All-state honor choir for her senior year.
Lainey Donoghue: Lainey won Industry network singer of the year in 2017. She was also a member of the children's chorus of "Das Rheingold" with the Minnesota Opera.. She won the Hennepin County talent contest in 2016, and then was runner-up in the State Fair Talent contest the same year. In 2018 she is a finalist in the Celebration of Music contest.
In 2019 Lainey was crowned Princess of America Miss Teen Minnesota winning senior talent as well!
In 2020 Lainey won the role of the Witch in Maple Grove High school's production of "Big Fish"
Lillian Kline: Lily is a member of the Minnehaha Madrigal singers and The prestigious Prelude program at MacPhail Center for Music.
Jackson Lyon: Jackson starred as Gaston in "Beauty and the Beast" at Stages Theatre Company fall and winter 2018 as well as performing in Madagascar and Mary Poppins in the summer.
In 2019 Jackson had the pleasure of playing the role of Spot Conlin in "Newsies" at University of Northwestern and will be playing Buddy in "Elf, the musical" at Stages Theatre Company this coming winter.
Morgan Peterson: Morgan performed in the children's chorus with the Minnesota Opera in "Das Rheingold".
Emma Highfield: Emma performed in "The Velveteen Rabbit" at Stages Theatre Company. She also won the supporting role of Brooke Windham in "Legally Blonde" in 2019 at Minnetonka High School.
Kennedy Lucas: She has been seen at the Children's Theater Company's "The Sneetches". Kennedy frequently performs with Stages Theatre Company. Shows she has been in there include, "Magic Treehouse", "Beauty and The Beast" and "The Nightingale". She also sang in the final number of the 2017 Ivey Award Ceremony. Upcoming for Kennedy is Children's Theater Company's "Last Stop on Market Street" this fall.
Greta Hallberg: Greta is a member of the Minnehaha Madrigal Singers and received a spotlight award for "Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role" for her performance in Minnehaha Academy's production of "Urinetown".