Get to know: Robyn Lallana!

Robyn grew up in South San Jose. Her interest in voice started with summer camps and musical theatre and, before the age of 10, she wanted to be a performer.

Robyn learned to sing and play the guitar in middle school, performed in school musicals (such as The Wiz and Oklahoma!), sang in choir, and went to many musical theatre camps. Up until high school, Robyn was in just about every one of her school’s productions.

At around 13 or 14 years old, she stopped doing musicals but stayed in choir. She took voice lessons and performed in all of the recitals. In high school, Robyn started learning Classical Voice. She joined the Magical Choir as an alto and traveled the state with them, and she sang for high school jazz band performances.

Her dad, Ron Jamison, has been sharing little bits of music theory with her throughout her life and, in about 2001, they started a band together called Ajavu. Their band was in the first year of the Last Band Standing competition on 95 KFox, and they won the whole competition two years in a row! This really kickstarted the band for her and her dad. Their band has been together for 16 or 17 years now and has since morphed into a Steely Dan tribute band. (http://www.ajavu.com/)

Robyn has also gained a lot of experience through other bands she has joined. In the years that followed the start of Ajavu, Robyn joined six or seven other bands as their lead singer and performed in Christmas shows, wedding gigs, bars, etc. She would sing in one of her bands at least four nights a week for about four years.

In college, Robyn majored in community studies and minored in intercultural studies. She worked as a certified therapist for four years at the same time that she was in multiple bands. She worked with kids with autism, emotional disturbance, negative attitudes, etc. Robyn says that, “being a camp counselor and a therapist really taught me how to interact with one person and teach.” Eventually, she let go of that job and started teaching voice. She also worked with at least two or three nonprofit online music schools that send out teachers to schools to host after-school programs. One of the local schools she taught at was Booksin Elementary in San Jose, where her class was called “Singing with Robyn”. She taught 3-4th graders rhythm, the major scale, ear training and harmony, and had performances for the parents.

Robyn heard about The Guitarist from her dad and she instantly fell in love with working here!

Advice she wants to share from her dad: You never stop learning. It applies to everything but especially to music. If you feel like you've learned everything, then you've put a cap on what you can do. So, I’m a vocal nerd. I read to this day; I read about anatomy! Vocal anatomy. It helps you understand what you can’t see, like the voice box.

Advice she wants to share from Rich: You are the constant in your student's life for years. You mean so much to them and you listen to them, especially those young ones. From my psychology background, I love that so much. I didn’t want to be a guidance counselor at a middle school, but that's kind of what I am for some of these girls and boys!

Robyn’s advice to students: First, you have to visualize because you’re not using your eyes or touch like you do with other instruments. Second, confidence is key for starting singers. The most important thing is we have to be “fearless” within singing. You have to jump in the pool; you have to submit to the unknown in order to improve. You can have a reserved personality, but you need to learn to put this hat on. There’s no way to be hesitant when learning how to sing.