No slackers allowed

David Conrad is serious about singing.

After years of building Kaua‘i High School’s choral department, conducting shows for the Kauai Community Players, the Hawaii Children’s Theatre and the Kauai Performing Arts Center, Conrad has decided to go back to teaching private voice lessons.

But he’s not taking in students who take singing lightly.

He wants students to sign up who want to focus on their voices.

“I hear kids singing things they don’t need to be singing for their age,” Conrad said. “I’m going to make time in my schedule to do this and, as a teacher, I can help them with their voices. I want to see where they want to take their voices.” Conrad said that singing in a chorus and learning choral music is completely different from doing a solo performance and singing the solo music. Practicing and studying works specifically for the solo performance, he said, is what needs to be enforced.

“It’s not razzle dazzle, here’s my dance. My goal is about voice-building,” he said.

“More and more kids are trying to get into schools that are performing-arts schools. I have a real academic approach to it. Particularly, they need to have the background, the language of the music; the Italian, the German.” Conrad recalled a time when he had to study those languages and linguistics as a part of the music curriculum.

“When they go to auditions, they’re going to sing those languages, and they need to experience in the language,” Conrad said.

This has been a long time coming for him, he said.

People have been asking him to go back to C1teaching for years. He said there aren’t too many out there who have the academic background and experience to be an affective vocal coach anymore.

“I have no one I can send my kids (at Kaua‘i High) to anymore,” he said.

Conrad holds a bachelor’s degree in music education from Morehead State University in Kentucky, and a master’s degree with a concentration in vocal performance and emphasis in voice physiology and solo literature from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa.

“I’m going to limit myself to having only 10 students,” he said. “I’m going to receive letters as to why they want to take vocal classes.” He said prospective students should send him letters of intent stating why they want to take classes with him, and what interests them.

“I want to prepare people who want to do well,” he said.

For more information, e-mail Conrad at

• Lanaly Cabalo, lifestyle writer, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or


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