What do people think about Mariana?
Dr. Mariana Mihai-Zoeter is the voice teacher that makes students want to sing for the rest of their lives, in whatever capacity they can. From the moment I walked into her studio for my first voice lesson as a shy, nervous Freshman I felt welcome and like she wanted to help me learn and improve not to just win competitions or beat others, but so I could understand the voice and music as a whole better. Dr. Mariana's attention to detail benefits all of her students and helps us learn professionalism and responsibility because of her high expectations for us. She handpicks our music based not only on what will sound good, but what will help us grow as musicians. No matter how frustrated I may get at the complexities of a piece of music, Dr. Mariana is always there to say "Alexa, it is a process. It will come!". She has given me incredibly challenging pieces to learn in English, French, German, Latin, Italian, and other languages as well, but always because she knew I could do it.
Beyond teaching us musical skills, Dr. Mariana also instills into her students a sense of responsibility and commitment to our goals. She is colorful and wears outfits that only she can pull off, laughs at her mistakes, and still gets nervous. But it is these traits that we love most about our beloved "maestra" and that inspire us to work so hard--to not only become better ourselves, but to not let her down. Dr. Mariana's enthusiasm is contagious. I feel lucky to have had her as my voice teacher and know that a large percentage of my success as a college student stems from her support and guidance along the way. Supportive, Creative, Professional"
Alexa Bashaw, soprano
Former voice student (class of 2017)
"Dr. Mariana is not only an excellent educator, but also the type of educator who puts herself in the student's shoes in order to approach their learning processes to the best of her ability. She is a mentor who is full of knowledge, not only in music but also in life. She always puts her students first. She goes the extra mile to make sure that her students receive the education and the opportunity that they deserve.
Dr. Mariana has an eye for recognizing the potential of her students and always challenges them. For example, whether it was early in the morning or late at night, she has spent time training me for competitions and recitals for free of charge. She speaks the truth, whether it is ugly or pretty, as it only benefits the students at in the end. She is an individual who has traveled the world and learned from the greats. She is the type of educator who is always looking to give the student a chance to bring themselves up to the next level of their career by guiding them on the correct path and making sure that they improve the skills they need to become a successful professional. She teaches her students the importance of being humble no matter how successful you are. In three words: passionate, determined, and giving."
Cheranjana Thuyacontha, soprano
National 3rd place winner of the MTNA-Young Artist Voice Competition (2016)
1st place winner- MD-DC -NATS division (2016)
3rd place winner of the Winston Voice Competition, NSAL Washington DC (2017)
Current Voice Student
"Dear Dr. Mariana,
I am very honored to say that I was a student of yours. For the five years that I have worked with you, I can truly say that no time was wasted, you help me develop an awesome sound/voice, and create a fire in me to do awesome things! I will always cherish the time I had you as a teacher... I will always consider everything you've instilled in me with your words of wisdom and the "real" talks we've had. Thank you!"
Robert Brown, tenor
1st place winner-Mid-Atlantic Regional NATS (2014, 2015)
2nd place winner- Winston Voice competition-NSAL (2015)
Former opera and voice student (class of 2015)
"Dr. Mariana has been my voice teacher for the last 4 years and I know I would not be where I am without her. In that time she has facilitated the growth of my voice, musical knowledge, and my ability to reach my goals with hard work and the word that most describes her work ethic. Dedication. Just this year myself and another of her students reached the final level in National competitions for voice. For these competitions she has driven to distant states, payed money for registrations and travel, and given hours of time to make sure we're ready and is always there to support us.
Dr.Mariana sees the potential in every one of her students and doesn't stop pushing you until you can see it yourself. I know because of her, I have the skill set to perform professionally or go to a good grad school program if I choose and I know she will still be there to support me even after I've graduated as I've seen her do with previous student. This drive to have us succeed does come from the goal of strengthening her studio, but most of all I know she does all this because she loves us and loves what she does. She is a truly outstanding leader... Dedicated, Knowledgeable, Inspired"
Sakkara Turner, mezzo-soprano
Finalist for Musical Theater NATS Competition (Chicago 2016)
1st place Mid-Atlantic Regional NATS (2014, 2015)
Former voice student (class of 2016)
"Thank you Dr. Mariana for your constant support! You helped me find my voice and myself and I'm forever grateful of you, as a teacher, mentor, and a friend. You've always been an inspiration for me and will continue to be I'm sure! You could never be forgotten."
Stephanie Laut, mezzo-soprano
Former opera and voice student (class of 2014)
"Dr. Mariana is a very gifted musician with the most incredible patience that I have ever seen in a teacher. She is passionate about her subject and goes the extra mile to make sure that her students will understand whatever lesson she needs to teach them in order to help them improve. For every little detail in her opera and private lessons, she takes as much time as the student needs to understand a concept while always encouraging the student to do better.
She is honest with her students about what they do well and what could use improvement, and always has good suggestions in how to improve when practicing the week before the next lesson.
I, personally, feel very comfortable learning with her because she provides a very relaxing atmosphere in which to study opera and voice. This atmosphere can help a singer to connect with his or her body and to feel more susceptible to the emotions of a scene which anyone who has studied voice knows how beneficial this is.
Over these last few years, I have had some troubles as most college students do and some were more serious than others. I know that if I needed to, I could confide in Dr. Mihai-Zoeter without being judged. She is understanding, helpful, and an all-around big hearted person. I consider her my mentor and I consider her my friend; the simple fact that I was able to find this rare gift humbles me very much. Thank you Dr. Mariana!"
Bailey Kerr, soprano
Former opera and voice student (class of 2014)
"Mariana is a consummate musician, experienced performer, beautiful singer, and a delightful colleague."
Dr. Janette Ogg
Professor Emeritus of Voice and Vocal Pedagogy
"I had the chance to work with Mariana in my quality as conductor and composer and I have been always impressed by her natural musicality and ability to communicate artistically. Ms. Mariana Mihai-Zoeter is the master of a wonderful soprano voice served by an impeccable technique. She is a professional of the highest quality with an exceptional stage presence. Ms. Mihai-Zoeter is home in any musical style, from opera to lied and oratorio, her repertoire covering a large and diverse area."
Sabin Pautza, composer, conductor
Music Director, The Plainfield Symphony
"I am sure that all of the people who will have professional contact with Prof. Mariana Mihai-Zoeter, in a short time they will be convinces of her extraordinary qualities as an educator, and at the same time they will see a big artist who is sensitive, artistically mature and who is the owner of a vocal technique that allows her to present herself on all the international stages."
Paulo Jose Campos de Melo, pianist
Director Fundation "Carlos Gomes"
Belem, PA Brazil
"Sinceramente, é muito difícil falar sobre Mariana Mihai por ela ser uma pessoa tão especial. Minhas primeiras aulas verdadeiras de canto foram com ela em 2001 quando a conheci em Brasília em um Festival Internacional de Música. Mariana é dona de uma técnica impressionante que a todos faz viajar com seu canto suave, porém marcante e extremamente seguro.
Durante todo tempo que estive com ela, aprendi não somente a técnica vocal mas também aprendi a amar mais o que faço e a viver de forma a contagiar os outros com a energia do canto. Mariana e uma pessoa muito esforçada e dedicada aos seus alunos. Sempre podia contar com ela, em qualquer apresentação ela estava pronta a ajudar e estar presente. Foi através dos seus ensinamentos que pude galgar degraus mais altos. Hoje sou solista do Coral do Teatro Amazonas, faço parte de um grupo seleto de cantores profissionais que todos anos são convidados a participar do Festival Amazonas de Ópera que é realizado todos os anos no Teatro Amazonas e tenho convites para vários concertos.
Além de professora, ganhei uma amiga que, apesar da distância, jamais me esqueço de seus ensinamentos e de seu companheirismo.
Só tenho à dizer que professoras como a Mariana são raras no mundo e só agradeço a Deus por ter me dado a oportunidade de começar minha vida musical em boas mãos.
MUITO OBRIGADA, Mariana!"
Katia Freitas, soprano
Opera House Manaus, Am Brazil
"Bem, conhecer Mariana Mihai foi uma experiência muito especial em minha vida.
Primeiro eu a conheci num concurso de canto lírico em Belém, o Concurso Bidu Sayão. Todos tinham comentado sobre sua performance e sobre a leveza de sua voz, então quando nós, os alunos, soubemos que ela estava vindo para ser a nossa professora de Canto, ficamos muitos ansiosos.
Mariana é uma pessoa super bem humorada e compreensiva. Era interessante ver como ela percebia as minhas dificuldades. Parecia ter passado pelos mesmos problemas que eu. A partir daí passei a te-la como uma irmã.
Eu e meus colegas tínhamos a professora anterior como uma mãe pelos cuidados e até pelas broncas que nos dava. Mas, com Mariana eu me sentia à vontade para cantar, fazer brincadeirinhas e até para falar da vida pessoal.
Na verdade, eu quis fazer parte da vida dela não sabia porque, mas não sabia se ela concordaria com isso. Sempre tive muitas dificuldades na hora de cantar e temia que ela não tivesse muita paciência comigo por isso. Sem contar o meu encanto pela música popular brasileira, bossa nova, jazz... Como estudar canto lírico e cantar outros estilos??? Bem, só sei que procurei aproveitar ao máximo cada aula que tive com ela, cada truque, cada faceta que ela me passava.
E assim, fazer parte da vida dela tornou-se realidade. Uma vez fiz um show de música popular e a convidei para me orientar e assistir. Naquela época ela estava muito triste – mas prefiro nem falar sobre isso –e mesmo assim foi ao ensaio, deu as dicas necessárias.
Eu, como sempre, nervosa, pois ainda não tinha cantado música popular na frente dela, mas ela compreendeu e me deu muita força para fazer o show. Dias depois, na apresentação, senti-me à vontade, fiz uma bela apresentação e fiz questão de agradecer a ela diante de todos por tudo de novo que tinha me ensinado e mostrado durante o tempo em que passamos juntas.
O que ela me ensinou não se refere apenas ao Canto, mas também à vida como um todo. É sempre bom conhecer uma pessoa apaixonada e ela estava. Acredite! Aliás, está. É uma pena que esse amor tenha feito com que ela saísse de Belém. Eu teria aprendido muito mais se ela ainda estivesse aqui. Mas, ela tinha que seguir o seu destino e assim o fez. Casou-se com Garrick Zoeter e hoje vive nos Estados Unidos formando com ele um belo par e uma bela dupla musical.
É engraçado que ainda hoje quando me refiro a ela não consigo dizer ex-professora, mas sempre digo “minha professora”. E acho que ela vai ser sempre “minha professora”, pois mesmo que não esteja aqui do meu lado está me orientando o tempo todo em como devo proceder com os meus trabalhos.
É... acho que agora faço parte da vida dela e ela, com certeza, da minha."
À Mariana, com muito carinho,
Claudineia Novais Sousa, pop singer
Belem do Para, Brazil