Teacher Spotlight on Savanna Stewart

July 13, 2020

What do you do at Manuel Creative Arts Academy?

Hey. I’m Savanna. I’m an instructor here at the MCAA. I also run our social media and perform marketing tasks.  

What are Three Fun Facts about you?

  1. One of my biggest dreams is the hike the Appalachian trail. 
  2. Halloween is my FAVORITE holiday. 
  3. I love anime and my favorite one is Code Geass.

What is/are your Favorite Song(s)?

That’s a tough one. I listen to a lot of different music, so it changes pretty often. Currently, my favorite is “Black Smoke Rising” by Greta Van Fleet. However, my favorite album to listen to is the Into the Wild soundtrack, written by Eddie Vedder.  I listen to it daily. 

What is your favorite Book? What about this book makes it special to you? Why should someone else read it?

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. I could literally write a book on why it’s so special to me and why everyone should read it. But I’ll keep it short; It’s a very real, raw, true story of self-discovery through nature and strife. Although tragic, the story of Chris McCandless was very relatable to my own. It was a life changing read and I’d highly recommend it. 

How long have you been teaching for?

Not long, actually. I officially started teaching on November 5th, 2019. So, a little over half a year now.

What is your teaching philosophy?

Honestly, it changes constantly. My teaching philosophy varies from student to student. But generally, there’s nothing I want more from my student than to help them find their “voice.” Not just for my voice students, but for the instrumentalists as well. Individuality is such an important aspect of growing as an artist. 

Who are your musical influences? 

There. Are. SO. Many. 

But to name a few; Eddie Vedder, Fleetwood Mac, Jeremy Soule, Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Johnny Cash, The Gorillaz, My Chemical Romance, Greta van Fleet, Elvis, Gowan, and so many more. 

What makes you different from the other teachers at Manuel Creative Arts Academy?

The MCAA has some seriously phenomenal teachers. Everyone is so brilliant in their own way.  If I had to name something, I’d really just say my background. I teach Rock, Pop, Jazz, Folk, some classical, and musical theatre. I have a wide variety of knowledge of different music genres and experience in each one of them. This comes in handy when a student is trying out different genre's and styles to see what fits best for them. 

Why do you like teaching at Manuel Creative Arts Academy?

The academy has a really special place in my heart. Josh Manuel was my teacher for 7 years, so the academy has always felt like a second home to me. It’s such an inclusive environment. Everyone is welcome here, and we always try our best to support one another. What more could someone ask for? 

What should students expect taking lessons with you?

Know that I will always be supportive. I’m going to push you, but know that it’s because I want you to be the very best musician you can possibly be. 

What are your expectations for your students?

Always try your best. As long as you’re trying, I’ll be happy. Also, have an open mind. I cover and talk about so many different types of music. Expanding your horizons are very important if you want to grow, so don’t expect to just stick to one thing.

What is one thing you wish you could have known when you started taking lessons?

I started taking lessons here when I was 16 years-old. One thing I wish I could’ve known was to be more confident in my lessons. My teacher always had my back, and I would’ve flourished even more if wasn’t so afraid to take the extra steps to be confident in my singing.

You play and teach multiple instruments what is your process for learning a piece/song as a singer? A Trumpet player? A Guitarist?

Ooooo. That’s a tough one. Honestly, I have to approach learning new music differently for each instrument. Generally, I just try to study each new piece intensively. I’ll sing or play the song over and over again until I get it just right. I also try to see if there are other artists who have performed the same song so I can listen to their version of it.

Clearly you have a deep amount of experience in music do you write any of your own music? What does that look like for you?

I’ve been spending the last year or so working on my first album. Writing musically comes to me pretty naturally, but I get really nervous about showing it to other people. However, song writing for me is a very long process and I can’t rush it. But keep an eye out; you might see my first single come out sometime soon. 

We’ve looked a lot at your teaching, what does your performance history look like? Did you enjoy it? What was your favorite part?

I've performed in so many places over the years. Cathedrals in France, rock venues, jazz competitions, and so many more. My favorite part about performing in places like these is getting to perform in front of so many people I've never met. They get to know me for the first time as an individual artist, and that’s really special for me. (Especially at my rock shows, they never expect me to sing like that.Haha.)

What is some advice you would give your students about performing?

Don’t be afraid to be your true self on stage. The audience doesn’t want to see some made up character, (unless you’re acting, of course.) Thy want to see YOU. Remember that, and your performance will be even better than you expect. 

You can sign up for lessons with Savanna here.