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So you think you can sing?

  • Written by Kristen Hamilton

Larry Bridges, Voice and Performance Coach for over 40 years, thinks you can and he’ll help you along the way.

Throughout the years, Bridges has taught students as young as 7 years old up to 84 years old.  As he thinks back on his career, he says, “Many of my friends are former students.”  He even married one of his students, Dorothy, over 32 years ago!

LB at pianoLarry Bridges (Courtesy photo)Bridges graduated with a B.M.E. in Music Education (vocal specialty) and a M.A. in Vocal Performance.  His teaching career started at the University of Denver (Colorado) where he taught voice for the theatre department.  While there he performed at the Country Dinner Playhouse in Denver to sold out crowds nightly.

From there it was off to Los Angeles where Bridges formed his own band.  The band did well for many years and opened for Barry Manilow, among others.  He continued to teach while in LA.  Here he would work with many professionals that are still in the business and quite successful.

Not one to toot his own horn, I asked him to share a few of his stories.

Bridges said, “About 20 years ago, I had a phone call from a former student. He told me I had been responsible for encouraging him to keep going in the film and music industry. I taught him for a few years at the beginning of his career.  His name is Mykelti Williamson (Bubba in ‘Forrest Gump’). He has been in over 100 movies, and held major roles in shows like ‘24’ and ‘Nashville.’  We keep in touch.”

Four years ago he helped a local fourth grader get ready for the Fifth Avenue Theatre auditions for “Oliver.”  He made it and is now realizing his dream as a regular on the Amazon series “The Dangerous Book for Boys.”

A high school student dreamed of being in the musical “Hairspray.”  Bridges worked with her and she ended up being cast in the world premier of the student edition at the International Thespian Festival.

FAMILY in the snow at Mt Baker by Larry BridgesLarry Bridges and family (Courtesy photo)In 1989, Bridges and his wife along with his two sons, Jordan and Austin, moved to Woodinville.

Here he opened shop with Bridges Voice Instruction and has been going strong ever since.

Bridges is a songwriter with two albums.  He shared a beautiful song he wrote for his son, Jordan, to celebrate his birth called “Dreaming of Your Eyes.”

He also helps students write songs.  He says, “I try to help people find their voice in the world and not just by singing.”

Bridges told me about a shy 3rd grader that he met last year.  Her mom told him that she liked to make up songs, so he turned on the recorder and asked her to make up a song for him.  He played piano chords to her melody and she created an “extremely creative” song.  He said, “Her mom submitted it to the PTA’s ‘Reflections’ competition and she was a finalist in the state for 3rd to 5th graders.”

While meeting with Bridges in his studio in the lower level of his home, you can feel his infectious energy for teaching and passion for music.  I’m certain I only touched the surface of his success stories!

His website is www.anyonecansing.com and he believes it. A humorous instructional book is in the works to help timid beginners who’ve been told they should only mouth the words.

Although his students can be any age, his typical student is still in school.  He said, “I love helping them achieve their dream [of singing and acting].”

As a long time resident of the area, I asked Bridges what his favorite thing was about Woodinville.  He said, “Besides the friendly people, July and August.”

What does he feel is one of the best things about the area?  “The wineries and the destination business they have brought to the area.”  And, the worse?  “The traffic.”

Bridges is hopeful that new artists, musicians, and poets will emerge.  He believes they are the key for making people more loving and tolerant.

Bridges ended by saying, “Music and art can help save the world.”  I hope he’s right.

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