Meet Dr. Roden

Faculty Profile
by Daniel Mollenkamp

Photography by Emily Jordan

Please use Professional bio for programs and publications

A voice is like a piece of clay. Place yours on the table, and Dr. Stella Roden can help you shape it. That is the offer and the challenge she presents, and while it’s certainly not an easy one, she makes it easier through empathy, respect, and a love of the art. The proof can be found on several lists of past winners and finalists of prestigious Aria and Concerto competitions that include her name and the names of her students.

Growing up in Virginia Beach, Virginia in a family of musicians and singers, Stella began her first musical training with piano lessons before studying singing. As her skill and knowledge of performance and vocal artistry grew, so did her enthusiasm for sharing it with others. This inspired her to get her degree in Music Education, her Masters in Vocal Performance and her Doctorate of Musical Arts. Now her favorite part of her job is working with students who have the same drive that she’s kept from the beginning.

Stella’s vocal instrument is a soprano that can be heard soaring over classical and contemporary scores. She has performed as a featured soloist with numerous symphonies, choirs, ensembles, and operas in Connecticut and Missouri. Her favorite performance was singing Et incarnatus est from Mozart's Grand Mass in C minor, where she could sense every moment move into the next, all musicians finely in sync. Her stage roles range from Violetta Valery' in Verdi's "La Traviata" and 'Pamina' in Mozart's "Die Zauberflote" to 'Eleanor of Aquitaine' in the one-woman opera 'Flower and Hawk' by Carlisle Floyd.

In her vocal pedagogy class, Dr. Roden trains future teachers on the importance of building trust with their students. It’s not the teacher’s job to judge a student’s worth, but to show them how they can change. When the student is open to that idea, they can begin to see their own work more objectively and honestly. And once they develop awareness in their body of how they can control their voice, it can slowly be rocked back and forth to a place that’s darker or lighter or heavier or more transparent.

Dr. Stella Roden knows your voice comes from inside, but it lives on the stage, and only by letting it out can you begin to discover it, experiment with it, mold it, strengthen it, and change how you perform with it. It won’t get better hidden away. Your voice must be respected, not protected, if it is to be perfected.

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