My name is Chris Tondreau. After completing my Honours Degree in Music (classical guitar) at McMaster University, I became a certified teacher, getting my B. Ed. at Nipissing University, and my Honours Specialist through Queens University. I have been teaching in the public school system for over fifteen years now, including working with learners from Kindergarten to adult education programs.
Fifteen years ago, I began the most unlikely journey - to learn to sing. I describe it as an "unlikely" journey, because I was a truly terrible singer. How terrible? Well... I heard a recording of my voice in grade 7, and recognized right then that I should not be a singer. It wasn't that I wasn't used to hearing my own voice on tape, or because my changing voice was awkward. It was because it was horribly out of tune and it lacked everything that we associate with good singing - tone, resonance, range, control... everything. It was bad enough that this one experience discouraged me from singing for over ten years. You couldn't get me to sing for practically anything!
Frustrated by playing for years in bands and having difficulty finding singers, I threw my hands up in exasperation and resolved to learn to sing myself. After gaining some confidence through my own efforts and with the help of my friend, Aalia Kesari, I took advantage of the opportunity to sign up for lessons with Edward L. Johnson. He is important enough for his own section on this site.
It sounds funny, but I consider this part of my background to be an advantage to me as a teacher. First, I am living proof that anyone - no matter how incapable of singing they feel they might be - anyone can learn to sing. Secondly, I know better than practically anybody what it is like to struggle with and lack confidence to sing. My definition of 'a natural singer' is someone who can just sing well already without any training; where training only helps their technique. That is not me, by any means. The only reason I can sing anything at all is because I learned how to do it. As an extension of that, I brought in no bad habits or unnecessary baggage into the process - the only technique I know is the proper Bel Canto technique!
Ten years of weekly hour-long trips (each way!) back and forth between my home in Hamilton and Ed's home in Fergus, Ontario has turned me into someone who feels confident enough to describe himself as a singer, and with the encouragement of Edward and other associates, confident enough to begin sharing the technique with others through this site and through private instruction in my home.
Why didn't I just study with someone closer to home? Read the bit about Edward Johnson, and it will become obvious.
My other current musical endeavors include running my own home-based recording studio called Green Room Recording, and fronting an original hard rock band called Now-Here-This, who has made appearances at various clubs, main-stage slots at major area festivals, the Westside Concert Theatre, and has gained commercial media attention from CHTV and Y108. Recently, I have been playing guitar and doing some singing in a cover band.
Some examples of my singing can be found here:
-At my band website (including some live tracks)
-Oh Holy Night (a very hard song to sing)
-Better Man (Pearl Jam cover)
-Shine (Collective Soul cover)