Jones enjoys providing vocal lessons locally

Published 12:00 pm Monday, December 14, 2015

Most people enjoy singing regardless of whether they are good, but local lessons can help those who want to improve their vocal talent.

Davis Jones started teaching music in Oxford as a way of adding more variety to the artistic classes available in the area. He has been teaching private vocal lessons for nearly five years.

“For me, I wanted to bring more music into the community,” Jones said. Jones has been teaching music in one form or another since 2009. He taught performing arts and theater in high school before he made the decision to go out on his own and found Mockingbird Music.

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The name is a play on Mississippi and its connection to music, but also to the Mockingbird itself. Jones said the avian name appeals to him because the Mockingbird is known for being able to mimic other birds’ tunes.

“He never has a grounding in one style or another — he leaves it up for interpretation,” Jones said.

Lessons include piano, guitar and other instrumental lessons, but Jones mainly teaches various voice classes.

Jones teaches vocal lessons for children and adults as well as for groups at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center. OxApella is an a cappella community choir in Oxford that learns all styles of  music. The group performs several times a year.

The Mockingbird Children’s Chorale is offered to students as well, where even his own children perform as students. Jones also has a class strictly for home-schooled students.

Jones has a class for every age and every level of experience for lesson plans. He does not teach generic guidelines, but personalizes it to fit each student.

Jane Cassisa, 54, of Oxford, started taking private voice lessons when she was 53. She took six months worth of instructions from Jones, not for a project, but because it was always something she wanted to become better at.

She had a strong desire to learn how to sing, but was nervous at the beginning.

“It felt like jumping off the high dive without knowing how to swim,” Cassisa said.

During the lessons Jones gave Cassisa confidence in her ability. He was always patient and catered the lessons to her specific needs.

“Despite the fact that I was lower than a beginner, he was still happy to work with me,” she said.

She said the experience was pursuing herself outside of her own personal boundaries and it has given her the courage to try even more new things.

For graduate student Travis Jaquess, 36, voice lessons helped him advance his skills as a worship leader in his church. He had played guitar and other instruments, but always wanted to get better at singing.

“I’ve been working with Davis for about a year and I’ve gotten a whole lot better,” Jaquess said.

Jaquess said Jones worked with him and trained him to control the notes while building up his voice muscles with breathing exercises. He said he had gone to vocal instructors before, but Jones really made a difference in the way he sang.

“He believes that everyone can sing,” Jaquess said. “I used to think I was the exception to that.”

Jaquess said he had learned to hide behind his instruments while he was playing music, but the vocal aspect can make you feel uncomfortable because he only had his voice. That is not a problem for him anymore.

“If he can help me, he can help anybody,” he said.