Learn more about Ruth's training and background to understand her unique approach and philosophy
Ruth’s lifelong interest in mind-body-performance connections began when her mother introduced her to a daily practice of yoga and meditation in the 1960s. These lessons were important not only for the content of the information but also because the practice itself was outside the norm at that time. At an early age, Ruth learned to embrace useful ideas that lie outside of traditional practice. One of her greatest strengths as a teacher is her ability to incorporate new concepts while respecting traditional teaching.
Ruth employs a unique confluence of training, pedagogy, and performance experience to create a holistic approach to voice. Her vocal studies range from an exhaustive study of bel canto technique to Contemporary Commercial Music and Estill Voice Training. Bodywork training spans kinesiology, anatomy, and physiology (see below for a list of specific disciplines). With regard to musical performance, Leonard Bernstein found Ruth to be so musical, he said he would follow her.
Ruth's DVD, Voice at the Center, is “highly recommended” by NATS.
Hennessy Breath & BodyWorkShops© and vocal master classes have been seen at major universities and organizations around the world, including the Voice Foundation's Care of the Professional Voice Annual Symposium, the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) convention, the Postural Restoration Institute's International Symposium, and the Classical Singer convention.
Ruth maintains a NYC voice studio for developing professional singers, with an emphasis on rehabilitating vocal dysfunction. She has taught at several universities, including the Eastman School of Music (2017-2020), New York University, and Hunter College. Other teaching positions have included the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music (Director, Professional Division) and the University of Northern Iowa (Chair, Vocal/Choral department).
Years of study with Metropolitan Opera singer and master teacher Margaret Harshaw, who emphasized learning to sing not by the sound you hear in your head, but rather by the physical sensations you feel in your body, reinforced Ruth’s instinctive understanding of the crucial role of the body in vocal production. Ruth's Bachelor and Master degrees in Voice Performance are from Indiana University.
Other important mentors include:
Additional disciplines informing Ms. Hennessy’s work include resistance band and ball work; The Alexander Technique; Pilates; yoga; Laban/Bartenieff; Linklater (Warren); Feldenkrais; breathing techniques, including Stough Breathwork; shiatsu and other massage techniques; tai chi; qigong; muscle release and resistance stretching; myo-fascial release; visualization; meditation; performance enhancement techniques; energy techniques, and the learning process.