- First Name
- Last Name
- Professional Name
- Street Address 1
Musicologie Lewis Center
- Street Address 2
8468 Cotter Street
- Zip Code
- Email Address 1
- Level of Professionalism
- Biographical Information
American baritone Justin T. Swain holds both the Master of Music in Vocal Performance and the Master of Arts in Vocal Pedagogy from The Ohio State University where he studied in the studios of both Dr. Scott McCoy and Dr. Robin Rice. Mr. Swain also holds the Bachelor’s of Music degree in Vocal Performance from The Ohio State University where he studied in the studios of both Dr. Errik Hood and Dr. Robin Rice and regularly coaches with, and has performed several recitals accompanied by collaborative pianist and Assistant Professor Edward Bak.
A Columbus native, Justin has been featured in the Columbus Italian Festival, in concert with Harmony Project Columbus, the New Albany Symphony Orchestra, Opera Project Columbus, has given a number of public and private recitals, has performed four world premiere works, and has performed numerous times with Opera Columbus as a chorister, on the main stage, as a member of their touring Education Outreach program for two seasons, as a member of The Voice of Freedom, as well as their popular Opera On The Edge production of La Bohème in which he performed the role of Marcello, as well as served as a Teaching Artist directing and leading a youth choir on behalf of the organization.
On the stage, Justin recently performed the roles of Maximilian and Ship Captain in Leonard Bernstein’s Candide at the Ohio State University, debuted the role of Aedeta in the first public performance of Cadman’s historic opera, Ramala: Land of Misty Water, and also the role of Maestro Spinelloccio with Opera Project Columbus. Additionally, he has performed two roles with Opera Columbus’ Education Outreach Program (Papageno & Mr. BigBad) and recently performed the role of Baron Duophol in Verdi’s La Traviata, in which he was noted by Columbus Underground magazine to be “a promising young talent,” in addition to being a chorister for the company’s recent production of La Bohème. Most recently, Justin performed the role of Marcello in Opera Columbus’ popular, Opera on the Edge production of La Bohème. In addition to performing, Justin has participated in masterclasses conducted by Randall Scarlata, Emilio Pons, Falko Hönisch, Robin Rice, and Ed Bak.
A strong advocate of the art of the song recital, Justin has performed several solo recitals and is a champion of the vocal music of Afro-English composer, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.
As an academic, Justin owns and maintains the free database of phonetic transcriptions, IPA Resource Center, and has contributed the full breadth of digital transcriptions of vocalises for Dr. Robin Rice’s book, “Great Teachers on Great Singing,”available through Inside View Press.
Mr. Swain maintains an active performance career in the Central Ohio region and maintains a studio of approximately 50 voice and piano students at his studio, Musicologie Lewis Center.
- Teaching Settings
- Teaching, Mentoring or Workshop Facilitating Philosophy
I am a firm believer that there is more than one path toward developing a healthy and beautiful voice. Through my teaching I discovered early on that there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” approach when it comes to singing. While, yes, I am classically trained myself, I find it highly beneficial to learn to sing in various styles to develop a versatile technique that allows for cross-over between vocal genres and styles. Very few people who study voice start out loving classical vocal music (e.g. opera) and must learn how to make the particular sounds associated with that style of singing with their voice, however, many people (myself included) grew up listening instead to pop, R&B, jazz, rap/hip-hop, rock, or musical theater, and have sung in a way that mimics what we’re accustomed to.
I believe it’s important to first develop an understanding of how the voice works, how to healthily use one’s unique instrument, and build vocal technique in a manner that allows for flexibility of the voice and can withstand the demands of multiple genres of music. Where many classically trained singers often times cringe at the term “belting,” I have learned to embrace it and am comfortable both belting myself, as well as teaching it to my students. I do teach from a classical approach, however, branch out far beyond just teaching a “classical sound.”
I realize that everyone comes from a diverse and unique background, and the importance to honor each student’s specific interests. Every individual is unique and brings with them into the studio aesthetic tastes and a unique sound that is their own. I say it often, I do not believe in fussing with a singer’s natural sound, and I respect the interests goals of each student who walks into my studio. I enjoy working with a diverse body of students with musical tastes just as diverse as they are. Whether you want to sing pop or R&B, classical or musical theater, work towards auditioning for an ensemble or production, prepare for college auditions, or just for the fun of singing, I encourage healthy singing and achieving a functional and versatile technique that will allow students to express themselves artistically through their music, no matter the genre. To aid that effort, I frequently refer to Estill figures and other contemporary pedagogy methods with students of voice in my teaching.