To Rebecca Hayden, music has always been an important part of life. Hayden was born into a musical family, so singing was part of almost every aspect of her childhood.
“I had a very unusual childhood. I grew up at an alternative school that my parents founded and students lived with us. It was a boarding school, and we would do group singing every Sunday night,” Hayden said.
Through singing in the car in four-part harmonies and with thoughts of establishing a string trio with her two older brothers, Hayden found her passion for music and embarked on a journey to find her voice.
“I was not born with a naturally pretty voice; I had to really work on technique,” Hayden said. “It took me a long time to find a voice teacher who really opened up my voice.”
Hayden built an extensive repertoire full of different musical styles with her bright-yet-warm soprano. Her classically-trained voice carried her from musical theater to opera, all of which have enriched her life outside of school.
“One of my best performing experiences was with a very good friend of mine. We formed a vocal duet and did a lot of different programs for about a decade,” Hayden said. “My favorite one we did was something called ‘Music Builds Character,’ which was a range of songs that try to bring a person alive, like building a character.”
Hayden especially appreciates songs that effectively marry music and lyrics, and bring about smart and witty characters and phrases. George Gershwin, the great American composer of the 1920s, is a titan of this musical style. Her favorite song of his is “Love Is Here To Stay,” which has been sung by timeless artists such as Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra.
Teaching and singing have not always existed in separate spheres to Hayden. Hayden said her singing career enhances her life as a teacher and vice versa.
“Everybody should have something they do that’s just for themselves,” Hayden said. “The richer a life a teacher lives the better they’re going to be in the classroom and the composure that I have in the classroom has helped me get over my stage fright when performing.”