Lauren Verhel graduated from McNally Smith College of Music magna cum laude in 2011 with a bachelors in vocal performance. She played everywhere from Duluth. Minnesota to Lima, Peru: sharing the stage with artists as diverse as Andres Prado and Judi Donaghy. In addition to her McNally Smith Degree, Lauren received master classes from Bobby McFerrin and the New York Voices. Passionate about giving back to the community, Lauren instructed voice and piano students at the Urban Hub, a community center for inner city youth in Minneapolis MN. She spent the last 6 months of 2011 as an instructor at Jazz Jaus in Lima, Peru. As of 2012 she is located in St. Louis, MO.
I am a/an admirer, musician, instructor, student, daughter, sister, nanny, friend, traveler, believer, entrepreneur, artist, designer, giver, receiver, explorer—girl. I am Lauren Verhel.
Growing up in Duluth Minnesota, I am equipped with many survival techniques. I can operate a tractor, burrow under five feet of snow bank to exit my front door, put aside the stilettos and trek through mucky pastures, and navigate with only one windshield wiper working. Nature aside my most resourceful survival technique is the healing power of art. Ask anyone who lives in the frozen tundra over half of every year and they will tell you it is essential to have a pastime. I am very blessed to call my favorite pastime, music, my profession.
I began singing alongside every other kindergartener. It wasn’t until the third grade, when I would day-dream outside making up nonsense songs about “some guys wearing kiss me signs” that I realized I really enjoyed writing music. I was fortunate to find an inspiring group of musicians at age fourteen who wanted to start a band and to this day we are called Thereby Fire. We write original tunes and I contribute lyrics based on life lessons I’ve witnessed and gone through myself. Sharing personal stories is an intimately powerful gift. If but one person is positively affected by a song I have written I have succeeded.
Just like so many children, I learned to play piano from a color-coordinated series of books with the essentials. I would plunk through the assignments and memorize my tunes like a good student, but never understood the theory behind what I played or sang. Nearly five years ago I was in the middle of a piano lesson and finally—answers. This lesson stands out vividly in my fifteen years of music study. After years of being told what to do, I finally was told why! This epiphany began my desire to pursue music as a career. I find a deep passion for understanding the root of theory. Six years ago I gave my first piano lesson and fell in love with teaching. Two years ago I began teaching beginner piano and voice for all ages at the Hub part of Urban Ventures. And I now am on my way to Lima, Peru to be an instructor at Jazz Jaus. My goal is for every student to want to come to lessons and to desire to practice because they feel good making music.
Please feel free to email me at LaurenVerhel@gmail.com