November Masterclass: "Circle of Fifths Explained" with Tara Palmer


Sat, Nov 10th

“Circle of Fifths Explained” with Tara Palmer

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October Masterclass: "All-State Audition Prep"

Fall 2018 Masterclass Series: October

“ALL-STATE AUDITION PREP” with vocalist and coach, Alexandria Carmon Skinner

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Alexandria Carmon Skinner

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is a Texas native who currently resides in Edmond and is pursuing two master’s degrees, one in Vocal Pedagogy and the other in Vocal Performance from the University of Central Oklahoma. She is a singer, teacher, and vocal scientist with a passion for educating and helping students grow and reach their musical goals.

She moved to Oklahoma in 2012, where she achieved her bachelor’s degree in Vocal Performance from Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva, Oklahoma. In 2016 she was cast in her first professional opera, performing the role of Mercedes in Bizet’s Carmen with the Enid Symphony Orchestra. Since then, she has performed various roles in shows with Painted Sky Opera, Red River Lyric Opera, and the University of Central Oklahoma. As a growing Lyric Soprano, she is studying roles from major operas such as Puccini’s La Bohème, Bizet’s Carmen, Mozart’s Così fan Tutte, and Floyd’s Susannah under the tutelage of Dr. Barbara Fox DeMaio.

As a teacher she works to instill a firm basis of technique in her voice, piano, and music students. She believes that establishing a foundation of healthy music making is the key to developing a lifelong interest in music in either a casual or professional setting. Alexandria’s method varies from student to student and adapts to the way they learn best. Though she performs mostly opera, she teaches all styles from musical theatre to contemporary commercial music. All styles are based on learning music fundamentals such as posture, breathing, warmups and cool downs, reading notes and rhythms, pitch matching and musical terminology.

Alexandria is an assistant teacher of vocal and elementary music at Cashion Public Schools and the Educational Outreach Coordinator for Painted Sky Opera where works to establish an appreciation of the arts in school-aged children. She also co-manages the Oklahoma City chapter of Opera on Tap with her friend and colleague, Danielle L Herrington, and works hard to make opera a more accessible art form for those who have never been exposed to it.

YouTube Skills: Gear and Equipment

Hey, Lesson House— Tara here!

Last week’s “Intro to Youtube Skills” masterclass was one of my favorites we’ve done so far. If you missed it, don’t worry- I will most definitely host another. And for those who came to this Intro class, I’m putting together a Level 2 class for you so we can learn even more and dig in deeper!

We spent most of our time practicing framing and lighting shots that look well thought-out and professional. (Getting the exposure right is crucial!) We worked with our phones and a few different pieces of simple equipment.

Here are some links to the devices we used in the masterclass, and a few others you might want to invest in when you’re ready to take your video production to the next level!

As always, I’m here for anything you need or questions you may have. You can always reach me at Light and love,



Selfie Light w/ Phone Clamp and Universal Arm: *option w/remote!

Table Mount:

Clamp Flex Mount:

Mini Tripod w/ Bluetooth Remote:

Tripod w/ Selfie Light:

50” Tripod:

Shutter Remote:

LED Panel Light:

Umbrella Light:

USB Microphones: (record directly into your phone!)

Blue Snowball:

Condenser “Studio” Mic:

Condenser “Studio” Mic w/ Filter:

OTG (on-the-go) Adapter:


Open Camera allows your device (phone) to use external audio from a USB mic.

iMovie is one of the best and most streamlined video editing apps. You can use the software program on your Macintosh computer or download the device-friendly app!

August masterclass brings Bobbi Holliday to TLH!


"Songwriting" with singer/songwriter and vocal coach Bobbi Holliday 

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Bobbi Holliday is a singer. songwriter. and dreamer, based in Woodward, Oklahoma. For all of her 26 years music has been part of her being. She has been on the stage since she was 3 years old and wrote her first song at the age of 7. Bobbi has had her songs on the radio, written theme songs for award winning indie films, Performed for the likes of Duck Dynasty Stars Phil and Kay Robertson, The Oklahoma City Thunder and many more. Her strong family connection has continued throughout her career as she claims her favorite performances are when her husband, Nathan and brother, Chris are playing beside her. Grounded in her faith and propelled by a desire to entertain, Bobbi Holliday is ready for the here and now. The question is - are you ready for Bobbi Holliday? 

Have you ever wondered how to take your finished song and turn it into a successful product? How to build great co-write relationships? The secret to writing a hit song? In this months Masterclass, Bobbi will answer all these questions and more as she covers everything from the creative side of songwriting to the business side. Enroll below! 


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Hey, Lesson House! Tara here. :)

Recently I've had some adults and fellow musicians ask about booking lessons, so I decided to do a promotion for the month of June! If you've been wanting to turn it up a notch with your music but you're not sure how or what that means for you- come see me. Your first lesson is FREE! Click HERE to book your lesson and let's make some music.

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April Masterclass brings Emily McCumber to TLH!

Spring 2018 Masterclass Series: April

"Stage Performance" with singer/songwriter and vocal coach Emily McCumber

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Emily is a vocal coach at Maughan Studios School of Music in Oklahoma City. Emily’s performance experience began at an early age singing at festivals and community events in the Oklahoma City area. She has entertained at the State Capital, the Governor’s Mansion, ACM rocks Bricktown, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, the Rodeo Opry, The Poncan Opry (Ponca City), the Oklahoma Opry, Johnnie High”s Country Music Revue (Ft. Worth, TX), Sac & Fox Casinos (Shawnee/Stroud), Koma Fan Jam, Grape Ranch (Okemah), Festival of Arts, Integris Health’s road shows at various hospitals in Oklahoma, and many other venues around the state.

Emily currently performs with the Royal Dukes cover band at private parties and corporate events, and she is also half of an acoustic duo called “ME” with her friend Matt Cowell. ME performs weekly at Hensleys’s Top Shelf Grill in Yukon.
In addition to singing, Emily is an aspiring actress. She has appeared in local and national TV commercials, industrial films, and print ads. She was chosen for a role in a video and state-wide billboard campaign sponsored by Oklahoma State Board of Regents for Higher Education.

The stage should feel like your home away from home. You should walk into any environment and feel confident and composed- but this takes time, practice, and experience. At the Stage Performance Workshop, you will learn various methods and techniques that will take your stage presence to the next level. You will gain insight on how to present yourself authentically, how to connect with your audience, and tips and tricks on how to enhance your overall performance. 

Students will be expected to prepare one song to perform at the workshop with Emily. (Bonus points if you prepare two songs in contrasting styles!) This is a great time to pull out that song you'll be performing in the Spring Recital, Arts Festival, or the school musical! 

Limited spots available. Sign up under the "Events" tab to reserve your spot! 

  • Saturday, April 7th
  • 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM
  • Rosenbalm Academy of Music
  • $25 per student/FREE with House Membership Package

2018 OKC Festival of the arts

We are thrilled to announce that The Lesson House has once again been selected by the Oklahoma Arts Council to participate in the 2018 Festival of the Arts! 

The show will be on Saturday, April 28th at 6:00 pm on the Main Stage. We have a limited time slot, so not all students will be able to perform. We will be holding auditions via video submissions. PLEASE check your calendar and make sure you can commit to attending this event before you send in your audition. To audition, you will be required to submit a video of yourself performing a full song. All videos must be submitted to by Friday, March 23rd at 9:00 pm. 


Audition videos are something every performer needs to learn! Self-tape auditioning streamlines the casting process and will only become more common in music, film, and television casting. Casting directors look at hundreds of audition tapes a year, so a performer should do anything they can to make their audition stand out.

Learning to produce a good self-tape auditions can make all the difference in future casting decisions. By informing yourself and using the best possible practices, you can put yourself ahead of the pack and nail your next self-tape audition. And what better place to learn than at home with The Lesson House! 

Here are some tips to make sure you nail your audition video:

1. Record your audition with a clean, neutral background like a plain wall that receives plenty of natural light. Or in a room where you can control the light. (soft lighting is best, no fluorescents!) In general, make sure you can be seen and heard clearly and easily. 

2. Frame yourself in a medium shot, so your torso and head are the focus. 

3. Slate/Introduction. Looking at the camera, introduce yourself and the song you will be singing. Use this time to show off your personality! 

4. Select your outfit wisely. Don't wear anything too busy or bright and avoid prints. Remember, this is an audition. You may be in your house, but dress like you would for any live audition. General rules: NO flip flops, NO sweatpants/activewear, NO hats that cover your face.

5. Have someone there to cue up your music for you and help with recording. If you have a tripod to keep the camera steady-awesome! If not, get an experienced selfie taker to help you get creative with keeping the camera still and steady.

6. Most importantly- have FUN! 

As always, if you have any questions we are here to guide you. Ask your instructor if you are unsure about your audition video. We're here to help! 

Good luck! 


One Minute Monologues

Hello! We are SO excited for the students who will be joining us for the Acting 101 masterclass this weekend! We've talked a little bit about what to prepare:

- Please prepare a one minute monologue from a stage play. If you are unfamiliar with where to find the best material for you, first of all, we're glad you're coming to the class! Mr. Dema will take some time addressing just that. If you can't find a monologue from a stage play, any monologue from film or TV will do. Just be sure to choose something that is suitable for your age. 

If you are new to this, THAT IS OKAY! Something you'll learn is that acting techniques for film and television can be very different when it comes to acting for the stage. So, working with the right material is important. Take a look at this post from Stage Agent to read some recommended monologues from reputable playwrights!

Make sure to have your monologue memorized so that you can make the most of your coaching time with Mr. Dema!


February Masterclass brings Andi Dema to TLH!

Spring 2018 Masterclass Series: February

"Acting 101" with actor and director Andi Dema


Andi Dema is an Albanian-American actor who has been working professionally-- locally, and around the country-- for the past decade. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting from Oklahoma City University and is currently the Theatre Director at Casady School.

Some of Dema's favorite past roles include Fred in A Christmas Carol and Ali Hakim in Oklahoma! with Lyric Theatre, Adam in Cmplt Wrks of WllmShkspre (Abridged) and Cloten in Cymbeline  with Texas Shakespeare Festival, and Jack Worthing in The Importance of Being Earnest with Oklahoma City Repertory Theatre. 


Is your headshot really that important?

...YES! Your headshot is a crucial part of your package- in fact, it’s the front cover! We always say that your audition starts as soon as you walk in the room; but your headshot is what gets you in the room in the first place. It’s the single most important marketing tool for a performer. Don’t cut corners! When that little headshot jpeg pops up on a casting director’s computer or placed in a stack in front of them, you want them to say, “Yes, bring that person in!” Not “Yikes, that kid kinda scares me.” Make sure your first impression sets you up for success!

You want to be seen as a pro, not an amateur, so the way you present yourself in your picture is everything. If you want people to take you seriously, you must have a current (within the last year), high quality, killer headshot. Not an iPhone pic, not an instagram photo of you outside with the wind gently blowing your hair, and not a JCPenney glamour shot with palm trees in the background that you printed at Walgreens. Save those for Nanna's mantel. :)

Here are some great tips from Piyali Syam at

Make sure it looks like you. 

Casting directors expect you to look just like your headshot, and will not be happy when you show up looking totally different, or 10 years older. It’s not about looking pretty, it’s about representing your type, age wrinkles included. Girls, be yourself, do your hair the way you would for every audition. You should have at least two to three looks. It’s standard to have a theatrical, more serious shot, and a smiling commercial shot showing your teeth. 

Yes, lots can be done with retouching. There is no need to put on tons of makeup. You want to look like yourself on your best day- not look like you tried too hard. It should look like you as you are now. It’s not about the type you want to be, it’s the type you are. Your headshot should show casting directors both the intangibles and tangibles of you as an actor: how you look on camera/stage, your essence, your energy and personality. Casting directors want to see who you are, what you bring to the table, and why you’re worth bringing in for an audition.


Simplicity is key for headshot wardrobe: the focus in your headshot should be squarely on you: not your clothes. Busy patterns and large, distracting jewelry are a no-go. Bright jewel tones are best: red, blue, green, yellow...any solid, primary color. You know what looks best on you: pick colors that bring out your eyes and compliment your skin tone. Layers are a good way to give a second "look." Stay away from white (which can wash you out) and black (which can give the illusion of absorbing light from the rest of the photo).

We are thrilled to have portrait photographer, Tony Dillard, offer this opportunity to students of The Lesson House. Tony says, "Anything I can do to help young performers get their names out there!" 

Saturday, January 20th

  • 2 looks (1 outfit change)
  • 10-15 images (sent digitally, formatted 8x10) 
  • $75.00 / 15% off for House Members! 

Tony Dillard is a Oklahoma-based portrait photographer and documentarian. A lover of new places and things, Tony's storytelling extends across 12 different countries, and counting. His resume includes work with dozens of local directors, businesses and churches. Tony's desire to serve and yearning curiosity for the new have already led him to some beautifully troubled places, but his appetite for exposure keeps him going, striving toward new opportunities. "I want to see everything and go everywhere and do everything. I want to leave the world a little better than I found it."

To read more about Tony's adventures and see more of his work, visit

Join us in giving this Christmas!

This year we are partnering with the Tulsa Dream Center to provide toys and coats for children in need this Christmas! We will be collecting donations at The Lesson House Christmas Showcase on Monday, December 11th at the UCO Jazz Lab. If you are planning to attend the show, we would love for you to contribute to the cause by bringing an unwrapped toy (ages 0-17) or a new or gently used coat (all ages) as a form of admission. Make sure you share with any friends and family that are attending! THANK YOU in advance for making this possible. Giving is so so good, isn't it? Merry Christmas!


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christmas at the jazz lab

This holiday showcase features music from The Lesson House voice and piano students of Amy Gillett and Tara Palmer.

Merry Christmas, all! This year's student performances will be divided into two shows on the night of Monday, December 11th. Guests are welcome to come for the entire evening of music! We have been so impressed with the enthusiasm, heart, and talent of our students this semester! We can't wait for them to showcase how much they've grown.  -Amy + Tara

TLH 2017 Christmas Showcase at UCO Jazz Lab

100 E. 5th St. Edmond, OK 73034

Monday, December 11th

6:00 pm - SHOWCASE A

7:00 pm - 7:20 pm -- INTERMISSION with guest artist

7:30 pm - SHOWCASE B


Presenting the FIRST-EVER "Edmond Shines On the Stars in Our City" Talent Show! This talent show is a city-wide event showcasing the talent in the Edmond community, hosted by Edmond Family Counseling. The goal is to bring together all ages, individuals and groups to compete for the top honor. There will be 3 finalists in each of the 4 age categories.

  • Anyone 5 years of age or over can participate
  • All participants must live in the attendance area for Edmond Public Schools, work primarily in Edmond or participate / take lessons from an organization in Edmond. (That's you, Lesson House!) 

Come show us how you shine! Click HERE to submit your audition!



Edmond Family Counseling is committed to strengthening families and our community by championing mental health through prevention, education, and counseling. See our website for more information. 


On-Camera Acting Masterclass

We are so excited about the launch of our Masterclass Series! Each month we will be hosting a masterclass where our students can challenge and refine their skills- and maybe even try something new :) This is a studio-wide series at Rosenbalm Academy, so students will be learning from different teachers throughout the semester on various topics.

Our first masterclass, "On-Camera Acting," will be held on Saturday, October 7th and taught by our very own Tara Dillard Palmer. Tara worked as the head Casting Assistant for Oklahoma's largest casting agency, Freihofer Casting. There she managed the agency's commercial and movie projects, taught acting classes to young actors, and gained skills and experience in front of, as well as behind the camera. (Rudderless, 2014) 

If you have ever thought about acting for TV of film, you will love this class! Reservation Required.

*All Masterclasses are FREE with a House Membership! See our "Events" page to register!


2017 Auditions & Performances

Hello Lesson House! 

It's great to have you back! We are two weeks into the Fall 2017 session and we have loved setting new goals with you and diving into some great music. At The Lesson House we believe it's important for our students to be active participants in the local music community, so we have put together a list of local audition and performance opportunities. We strongly recommend taking advantage of these opportunities as they come up in order to gain experience singing and performing in front of an audience. (With experience comes confidence!) Oklahoma City has a thriving and growing music culture with everything from the Theater to the Opry! Don't be afraid to try something new this semester! After all, being a well rounded musician means exploring music in all its forms. Talk to your instructor about preparing for your auditions this week.

The Sooner Theatre

Lyric Theatre Of Oklahoma 

Upstage Theatre

Rodeo Opry 

OKC Thunder National Anthem 

The Lesson House Christmas Showcase