Tom Schilling

Vocal Coach

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A New Philosophy of Singing

The express purpose of Vocalway is to present a new philosophy of singing based on Natural Law and common sense. Singing must make sense. There is an end to the confusion once the conscious mind understands the process. The job is to finally give it over to the unconscious mind and make it a part of our body integrated with the emotions and intellect. Tom Schilling has been guiding singers in this process for over 40 years.


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By email or by calling and speaking to Tom in person.


About Tom Schilling

Son of a school teacher, Tom was born in 1938 in rural Ohio.
Despite being raised in a largely non-musical environment, he had access to and learned to play his grandmother’s piano.
An initial attempt to follow the advice of his elders and embark on a career in banking didn’t last long. He soon abandoned that for music and studied to be a concert pianist. Tom graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree in piano performance from the College-Conservatory of Music of the University of Cincinnati.

After spending three years in England with the US Army, Tom returned to the US and discovered that accompanying was his real calling. He toured as accompanist with the Norman Luboff Choir for the next three years. (

Another six years of frequently playing recitals for singers on the Community Concert series under the auspices of Columbia Artists in NYC took him to all the states of the USA, and many provinces in Canada.

He has played recitals in Town Hall, Alice Tully Hall, Fisher Hall, and many in Carnegie Recital Hall. Playing for auditions has led him to the stages of Carnegie Hall, City Opera, Fisher Hall, Julliard recital hall, and the Metropolitan Opera House.

New York

Settling in NYC permanently, accompanying and touring with singers and eventually finding his niche as a vocal coach, he played for many voice studios. Finally he played exclusively for the studio of Winifred Cecil, a voice teacher based in New York in the 1970s and 80s, from whom he learned his trade. Winifred worked with international opera stars such Catherine Reiner, a Hungarian Soprano.

Continuing his piano studies with German Diez, he began to understand that the truths in piano playing and the truths in singing were the same.

After touring days ended, he opened his own coaching studio and began a 10 year period as official pianist for Winifred Cecil’s “Joy in Singing” held in the Bruno Walter auditorium at Lincoln Center.
Through his work with Cecil and Diez he developed an unusual ear for sound. This led to a very productive period of coaching singers—to aid them in finding their connected sound. Opera singers, Broadway singers, jazz singers, singer/songwriters, were all guided with the goal in mind of discovering their own unique sound.

He worked with the late Diane Curry, Mezzo-Soprano opera singer as her voice coach.
He also worked as a Voice coach to other Opera students in Frankfurt, Germany, Kiel, Germany.  San Francisco Opera, Chicago Opera, and Metropolitan Opera in New York and with Musical theater leads—Broadway lead in “Nine”, “ Phantom of the Opera” leads in Frankfurt, Germany and a touring company across Canada.


After 40 years in NYC, Tom brought this ear to Canada. Those who are searching for their true sound can benefit from his expertise in this daunting task of learning to sing powerfully and freely.

Tom now lives in Hamilton, Ontario, one hour from Toronto in the trendy Corktown district of downtown Hamilton, a block from restaurants and pubs and only two blocks from the bus station.

 His skill as a voice coach is valued across Canada and internationally. He has students who travel to Hamilton for lessons not only from New York, Yellowknife, Toronto, Ottawa and elsewhere in Ontario and across Canada, but from as far away as Hong Kong.  He travels from time to time to places as diverse as New York, Japan, Hong Kong, Nova Scotia, Yellowknife and North Bay, by invitation, to share his knowledge and teaching skills.


Would you like your voice to be able to soar effortlessly to be heard above an orchestra without strain or damage and to last well into old age? You can still do this in certain venues, such as old churches and concert halls devoid of electronic aids.

One of a dying breed of voice coaches Tom teaches the rapidly disappearing art of Bel Canto, a method of vocal production used by such icons as Joan Sutherland and Luciano Pavarotti.

Instead of using scientific explanations, Tom appeals to the imagination of the singers, utilizing an entertaining collection of verbal and visual images to put them at ease and guide them on a musical journey of discovery to find their true voice and use it correctly.

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Canadian singer, Tonia Szkurhan, is based in Rome, Italy. She has sung in many high profile cabarets and concerts in Canada, Italy and the UK, including performances for the United Nations and events at the Canadian and American Embassies in Rome. Tonia was a finalist in the Italian singing competition, Il Cantagiro with Mondecarlo Productions and has also competed at the prestigious 20th International Gaetano Zinetti Festival. When she is not performing, Tonia is busy in the studio recording demos and working as a vocal and diction coach with various Italian singers and bands.

Tom Schilling is one of the best voice teachers I have trained with. He is highly qualified and knowledgeable, but most importantly, he is extremely caring and compassionate. When I first started training with Tom, my voice was like a diamond in the rough, but now it sparkles and shines. I would never be the singer I am today if it weren’t for Tom. He gave me both the skills I needed to improve my singing and the courage and belief I needed to go forth and pursue a career as a singer.
— Tonia Szkurhan