Today we’d like to introduce you to Pat Whiteman.
Pat, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’ve always loved music. When I was little I used to dance around the living room and sing while my concert pianist father played the piano. I remember my Dad taking me to a production of The Sound of Music as a little girl and I just was so moved and cried. The lady sitting next to us was struck by this and said, “It’s amazing how much she feels the story and songs.” I didn’t realize how prophetic that statement was being a kid, but feeling music and other people’s stories deeply is part of who I am and now, part of what I do.
My love of music led me to singing in choir and then forming my own bands in high school and college. In my 20’s I sought out a voice teacher and she got me involved with a local theater company and I also found myself doing demos, voice work and jingles. That was also when I first started informally coaching other singers. I was living in Ohio at the time and got a lot of encouragement from people to take it to the next level. With much thought and more than a little angst, I sold everything I owned and move to California.
I had no grand plan but when I look back now I’m pretty amazed at how things have come together. I think one of the most pivotal things that happened to me when I got here was finding my voice teacher, Carolyn Mignini and taking her performance workshop. I had never seen anything like it before and was totally hooked. She was also the one to see the teacher in me and give me the opportunity to teach my first real voice students. I was also given the wonderful opportunity to teach the Finding Your Voice Workshop at UCLA Extension for four years.
Another critical element to the journey was being seen by Carol Hall, composer of the musical The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and having her recommend my acceptance to the Cabaret Conference at Yale. This was life-changing. I got to work with so many wonderful talents and performers who were my teachers there. One, in particular, was Jason Graae who I’ve known now for almost 10 years. He has directed two of my cabaret acts and become an incredible support for what I do as well as a very good friend.
In 2013, I started offering my own musical performance workshops and we’ve been doing them quarterly ever since. They are six-week workshops that end with a performance at a local club. I work with Ron Snyder who is the pianist for the class and we’ve taught hundreds of students and many have taken the workshop 5, 8 even 10 10 times.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Not at all. But then most things worth anything in life don’t have a smooth and steady path.
When I first came to California I was quite cultured shocked. I gave up a good job, a nice place to live and essentially who I was up until that point. I lost my identity for a while and literally felt like a fish out of water and didn’t know how I fit in this new place.
And, because I didn’t have a traditional path as a performer – i.e., going to college and getting an MFA or BFA or taking voice lessons from a young age – I questioned myself and my talent A LOT.
But I had support from the local creative community and my teachers that was very meaningful. Now, I find myself acquainted with as well as performing and teaching alongside people who were once my idols and that I admired greatly for their performance abilities and talent. It’s really quite surreal sometimes.
Pat Whiteman Voice Studio – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I’ve been up and running since 2005. I offer private lessons and performance workshops to all ages, ability levels and musical styles. I love working with actors and helping them incorporate singing into their craft. I also enjoy sharing tools with singers that they can use to become more effective and well-rounded performers. I specialize in working with people whose creative journey has been somewhat different, like mine, and those who are rusty, scared or blocked.
I think one of the most gratifying things is to see the bravery and courage that my students display. This work is not easy. It demands that we look internally and come face to face with parts of ourselves that we may not like or want to see. But, it is this knowledge that ultimately make us more authentic performers. This is truly transformative and magical work and I am humbled to be on the journey with my students.
What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I don’t think it’s one thing. It’s a lot of little quiet moments, really. Often times with students or audience members. I have had students tell me that their work with me opened and changed them. That they are different people with their friends, colleagues and loved ones now.
I can also remember one audience member who attended one of my shows who was recently diagnosed with cancer. He told me that he hadn’t wanted to go out recently because of his appearance and because he didn’t feel well. He wrote me after the show and said attending my show took him away from those worries for a small period of time and how grateful he was. Extraordinarily humbling.
- Address: Studio City, CA
- Website: www.patwhiteman.com
- Phone: 818-424-9343
- Email: email@example.com
- Facebook: Pat Whiteman Voice Studio
- Twitter: Pat Whiteman