vocal studio

Marisa is a sought-after voice teacher known for her grounded, deep-listening approach to helping people of any level sing with more skill, more truth, and more joy.


My perspective is grounded in the Szamosi® path (http://www.liberocanto.org). I have studied singing and singing pedagogy on this path for fifteen years and have taught lessons to hundreds of singers of all ages and levels, as well as to actors and dancers.

I work with singers across genres (opera, kirtan, rock, pop, folk, etc.), but my singular specialty – and what I am most known for – is helping Broadway and Musical Theatre singers find more freedom and artistry.

The path towards artistry must itself be creative, and so lessons are finely tuned in to your individual story and constellation. The process is one of intensive self-discovery and inner work. Through carefully crafted exercises we aim to release physical and emotional tensions, and through listening we develop your musical imagination.

The path is rigorous – we are aiming for virtuosity! You will discover more possibilities within your range and tone-color, while becoming more flexible and powerful.  The path is also one in which healing can occur – developing one’s body and voice goes hand in hand with psycho-emotional-physical-spiritual health in general.  Ultimately this path is meant to empower you to be your own teacher. Listen to yourself first!

Along with my private teaching in NYC, I have had the opportunity to teach workshops with the American Theater Wing, The Performing Arts Project (TPAP), Prospect Theater Company, Signature Theatre, Milikin University, the Goetheanum. And in these contexts I’ve worked with thousands of students one-on-one. I have also used this work with patients in a drug rehabilitation center to help them develop deeper self-awareness and find spiritual joy.

B.F.A from NYU (Tisch) in Musical Theatre. Competitive classical piano for 15 years. I won a grant to study Indian Hindustani singing in India for four months, I studied classical voice at Tanglewood. I am an active professional musician and a former yoga instructor. I’m in love with the Szamosi/Libero Canto path and passionate about sharing this work with others.

The use and training of the voice is at the center of my work as a composer and reaches into every corner of my artistic, intellectual, physio-emotional and spiritual life. Being in intimate relationship with singing is my life’s passion, encompassing all.

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“With Marisa by my side, I have watched and listened to my voice unfold over the last 8 years. Together we have revealed its subtleties, challenging what I had previously assumed about placement, and voice type. I feel my voice has been liberated! And I have never felt more confident.”  
Sepideh Moafi HBO's "The Deuce;" "Falling Water;" "One Thousand Nights and One Day"
"Marisa Michelson is a genius. I come from an opera background later pulled into musical theater and jazz, and this is my first time working with [someone] who is more interested in authenticity than anything else. She is somehow able to capture the purest form of music that erupts from an experience within our bodies and is never interested in imposing any sort of ideal sound on to the people with whom she collaborates. Her philosophy of music is unique, and it is a privilege to be in the same room with her."
“I’ve studied with several highly recommended voice teachers in New York City, but none have transformed my voice the way Marisa has.  In a short amount of time, she has inhibited several decades-old bad habits and consequently transformed the way I breathe and produce sound.  Her lessons are process, not product oriented, and as a result my voice has flourished for the first time in my life.  She’s intuitive, hand-on, holistically minded, and I couldn’t recommend her more.”  
“Voice work with Marisa is transformational.  I recommend Marisa Michelson for anyone interested in reclaiming their voice and their body as a vessel of beauty, breath and spirit. Muscles locked in fear for decades open to Marisa’s ridiculously effective exercises. My singing has improved in leaps and bounds and the process is liberating. Marisa is a gifted midwife of the human spirit.”
Ashley Bacon Frieda - "Orange is the New Black" || Actor
"Marisa focuses the artist on process rather than achievement; self awareness and relaxation instead of external validation and the clutches of self-control.  I came to her hoping to learn how to sing, but I ended up gaining insight about my own self worth, power, and the importance of breath."

"Studying with Marisa has taught me not just a vocal technique but a holistic practice of releasing tension, cultivating vulnerability, and seeking truth that has shifted and intensely deepened my approach to art making all together."

Theresa Burns Actress, Singer, Choreographer, Dancer, Joy-Seeker, Cat Lover
I started working with Marisa in 2014. Before then, my approach to singing had been very imitation based. I was trying to manufacture a specific "musical theatre" sound and trying to sing songs "the way they are supposed to sung" (whatever that means), by squishing my voice into a rigid container and putting a million filters and coats of paint on it. Because of this, I had no idea what I actually sounded like without any of that manufacturing. Marisa has gently and kindly helped me release so much of this, both physically and psychically. Now when I sing, I am singing. I am not micromanaging and bullying my voice into singing like someone else. And I am regularly surprised by what my voice is capable of. Working with Marisa has also changed how I think about auditioning and performing. When an audition comes up that involves learning new music, I honestly ask myself "Theresa, would you want to spend this entire contract fighting with your voice, managing and manufacturing every sound you make, so that you sound like what you're assuming the people behind the table want? Or would you want to spend this contract singing freely, as yourself?" The answer is always "I would want to spend this contract singing freely as myself." I was worried that this would mean fewer callbacks, but according to my audition spreadsheet my callback rate has improved. But more importantly, I am actually able to sing freely as myself.
Ako Dachs Throne of Blood, Tamar of the River, Kentucky
"When I arrived to NYC three decades ago from humid Japan, I lost my voice completely from stress and old bad habits. I studied with many vocal teachers and my voice somehow recovered, but not the way I wanted to. I met Marisa during the world premiere ‘Tamar of the River’ in 2013, and since then she has completely reconstructed my voice, leading me toward a kind of discovery of my "real voice" as opposed to always looking for a fabricated sound."
Anahi Chicaiza Jazz Singer, Berklee School of Music
I started to sing when I was 18 years old. Most of my voice teachers too, advised me to DO instead of dispose my body towards singing. When I began lessons with Marisa, I suddenly understood I had never held communication with my body before. This new mindset gave a big impulse to my daily practice, my singing and my musicianship, and I look forward to exploring all the possibilities that my instrument has to offer.
“Since studying with Marisa I have begun to feel that I am not just a singer but also a musician.  I regularly, when learning a new song now, count it out at different tempos, try new time signatures, or think about smaller sections (2-3 notes) at a time. It’s a very holistic approach to a song that makes me feel much more connected to and knowledgeable about the music.”  
Jillian Paige Actor, Singer, Personal Trainer, Certified Mermaid, Passionate Artist
Marisa has re-introduced the idea to me that we’re all born singing and that it’s the closest form of human expression to crying and laughing that we have.  Singing is an outburst of emotion and sometimes in learning the technical aspects of it, singers lose that.  Marisa has helped me blossom in my love of music despite the beat-downs of New York auditioning.’”
Ethan Paulini Award-Winning Director, Actor, Singer, Career Coach
“Studying with Marisa has completely revolutionized my approach to singing. Music no longer comes from my throat or mouth, it comes from my whole body. This body/voice connection has given me a level of confidence in singing that I didn’t realize was possible. My singing is stronger, efficient, and more rewarding. My singing now possesses an ease that I had long admired in other musicians, and never dreamed I could achieve.”
Jessica Grove Broadway’s A Little Night Music, Sunday in the Park With George, Thoroughly Modern Millie
“Marisa has helped me tremendously in releasing a lot of the tension that I carry in my jaw and neck. She uses bodywork to literally melt the tension away, in addition to using vocalizing techniques that help me to detach myself from the outcome of the sound. Marisa creates a safe environment where I can make mistakes and feel silly without feeling foolish!  
Tripp Pettigrew
“Marisa has, in my opinion, been the only teacher I’ve ever had that has given me the freedom to sing the way my body wants to sing. Each student is valuable to Marisa and I’ve even heard her refer to each lesson as a unique lifetime.  As a student, you can feel that care and compassion and know that you are uniquely being cared for and tended to. I would recommend Marisa as a teacher to anyone who wants to learn how to enjoy singing — either again or for the first time.”