functional Voice Lessons

Refine your vocal technique.

Michael Hanko is a gifted voice instructor; the effects of his precise work are immediate.
— Alexis Martin, soprano (Met Opera National Council Regional Winner)
I’ve been to many voice teachers, but only Michael has helped me explore the full expressive potential with my voice.
— David Dodini, heavy metal singer/songwriter
THANK YOU for giving me my voice back.
— Leah Curney, musical theater performer, former node sufferer
Singing with Joanna Fanizza during a voice lesson

Singing with Joanna Fanizza during a voice lesson

My work with singers is based on time-tested principles of the bel canto tradition as developed by brilliant vocal pedagogue Cornelius Reid. I was lucky enough to study both singing and teaching with Mr. Reid for many years until two weeks before his death in 2008 at the age of 97.

Because every singer is unique in physical make-up, temperament, and experience, I customize the particulars of each lesson to your individual needs. I will listen to your voice and analyze, from moment to moment, what is going right and wrong in your technique. I'll propose exercises likely to produce immediate improvements in the functioning of your vocal mechanism. In your lessons, we'll follow what is happening in each moment, as the results of each exercise suggest how we might proceed with vocal experimentation. Every lesson is different and unpredictable—in a word, fun!

You’ll learn to

  • Coordinate the action of your vocal registers for a healthy, free technique
  • Increase your vocal range & agility
  • Sing throughout your entire range with ease—at any volume
  • Cultivate your unique sound
  • Prevent / alleviate nodes and other vocal maladies

For detailed information about the science and psychology behind my teaching, you may read an article written by Cornelius Reid [PDF 136 kB] or my webpage on how I teach voice.

Cornelius Reid defined functional voice training in his book Psyche and Soma:

Functional vocal training is founded on the belief that a correct technique must be an extension of free organic movement; that such movement is the expression of a life process subject to nature’s laws; and that training procedures adopted must be based upon principles which conform to those laws.  This premise is not widely accepted, most training methods preferring to concentrate on functional effects, rather than functional causes.  This error has led to another misjudgment, even more serious: confusing the process of learning to sing with the art of singing.  Procedures designed to restructure a faulty vocal technique, therefore, cannot have validity until a clear distinction is made between art, aesthetics and function.




I am in awe of Michael's knowledge of the human voice and how he is immediately able to diagnose the problems and concerns of the pupil and to proceed to offer suggestions and demonstrations to address these problems.  I know how unique each person's voice is and what it takes to be able to help one to achieve his goals.  

—Mary Schatkowski, Church Organist/Choir Director


Michael Hanko is a gifted voice instructor, combining thorough technical knowledge with a keen ear for efficient and easeful singing.  His words and guidance are clear, and the effects of his precise work are immediate.  

—Alexis Martin, Soprano, Met Opera Nat’l Council Regional Winner


Thank you for helping me discover my big voice!  Each lesson is so much fun; also I am making such new and beautiful sounds. THANK YOU for giving me my voice back.  

—Leah Curney, Musical Theater Performer, former node sufferer


My work with Michael has allowed me to sing with a level of ease and consistency I had never thought possible.  His teaching is clear, practical, and flexible.  I have greatly benefitted from working with this insightful and patient technician.  

—Noah Lethbridge, Tenor