Jodi Jenkins Ainsworth

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In Their Own Words

"Most of my professional performance experience has been in a jazza cappella quintet, so I have a lot of experience with close harmony in jazz and a cappella. After singing in a five-part group, I also have experience in being vocally responsible for a groove, background, things of that nature."

"My focus is to give good technique across stylistic genres, even to the more aggressive forms of r&b and gospel where people tend to burn their cords out because they only use the lower half of their register. But I want my students to have longevity and to use their entire vocal range. So I teach a specific concept of mixing 'head voice' with belting that I had to learn to do myself in order to sing these styles and not burn myself out. I tell them that learning to belt in a mix of your head and your chest is not an easy process; it takes discipline and practice and a lot of effort to make this cross happen-and make it sound stylistically appropriate, because that's important, too."

"Students have a whole different respect for you as a teacher and take what you say more seriously when they see you gigging on the weekends. I can say, 'I'm 20-plus years into my career, and I'm not hoarse; I don't have vocal nodes; I still have good technique.' They see that and say, 'I can do that, too.'"

"It's very important for singers to know theory. I want my students to be well-rounded, balanced, and on top of their game. I want them to know how to count the band off, to know exactly what they're doing and how they're doing it, and to know how to ask for what they need in performances. So I push students to be well-rounded musically. If they can play an instrument, all the better for them."