Cindy Shadrick believes that every voice deserves to be heard.
For the past 10 years, she’s been helping make that possible through Cindy Shadrick Voice Studio, or CSVS for short, where she offers in-person and online voice lessons to a variety of students of different ages.
“Each student takes voice lessons for different reasons and I develop ways to help them reach their goals,” she said.
While some students have gone on to become performers or educators, other students use voice lesson as a version of therapy and self-care.
“Most are music lovers who want to explore and develop their skills. If you have ever considered taking voice lessons but were too scared of judgment, do it anyway,” Shadrick said.
“Your voice was created to be beautiful.”
Shadrick has been singing since age seven, and said she always knew she wanted to be a voice teacher.
“I love the way the instrument works, the way a voice can shape text and really create an emotional response to the sound,” she said. “I love helping singers find their own voices and encouraging their love of singing to grow.”
For a student’s last lesson, before she or he leaves for college, Shadrick likes to dig out the recording from the student’s first lesson and play it.
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“It’s amazing to see the look in their eye when they realize all the little incremental adjustments we’ve made over the years adds up to some pretty major changes,” she said.
Growing up in Northwest Iowa, Shadrick started gigging at age 10 and recorded her first album — a compilation of jazz standards, musical theater literature and a Dolly Parton song — at 12 years old.
She earned a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance degree from Minnesota State University-Mankato and then a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Northern Iowa.
She taught as a graduate student at University of Northern Iowa and at the Warner Theatre Center for Arts Education in Connecticut.
“When I moved to Cedar Rapids 10 years ago, I saw a thriving arts and music community that I wanted to be a part of,” she recalled.
Now as the owner of her own studio and its sole employee, she stays plenty busy.
“I’m a part-time bookkeeper, scheduler, janitor, mentor, therapist, video editor, photographer, audio engineer and a full-time voice teacher. Each day is different and usually involves me in front of a pile of Google Docs organizing my student’s materials, recordings and music.”
Like many entrepreneurs, Shadrick said she is always aiming to find balance.
“Between the logistics of running the business, actually teaching the students, being a mom to two kids and a wife to my husband, and maintaining a performing career, there are always plates spinning and lists to be made,” she said.
The pandemic has forced Shadrick to get creative. All lessons were moved online — which wasn’t a huge learning curve as she works with students all over the country via the internet — and her annual student showcase recital had to be delivered digitally this year.
But Shadrick was pleasantly surprised.
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“It far exceeded my expectations, but it was a huge endeavor to move it online,” she said, noting that each student came in individually and recorded music, creating 61 videos in all and which now are uploaded to her YouTube page.
“The spring recital is a real highlight of the year. It’s what all my students’ work is aiming toward and they finally get to perform for their friends and family,” she said.
Shadrick said she looks forward to getting back to a new normal in the studio.
“I’ve rearranged my studio for social distancing, implemented strict cleaning procedures, and put up acrylic guards between me and my students.”
It will allow her to continue sharing her passion and bringing other voices to life.
“The ability to help students and mentor them to find their own voice is truly a gift,” she said.
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At a glance
• Owner: Cindy Shadrick
• Business: Cindy Shadrick Voice Studio
• Address: Cedar Rapids
• Phone: (319) 214-0456
• Website: cindyshadrick.com