Photo by Jeannie Liautaud

Ms. Kanakis is based out of St. Louis, Missouri, where she operates a private studio teaching aspiring and current professional classical singers.  Her students frequently win competitions, attend top graduate schools for voice and opera performance, and enjoy successful professional singing careers. 

Ms. Kanakis has produced district and regional winners, and a national semi-finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (MONCA), and finalists and winners of other competitions including the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation, Opera Index, The Richard Tucker Foundation, Queen Sonja International Music Competition (Norway), FAVA (Franco-American Vocal Academy) Grand Concours de Chant, the International Czech and Slovak Voice Competition (NámÄ›št’ nad Oslavou, Czech Republic), Palm Beach Opera Competition, the AIMS (American Institute of Vocal Studies) Meistersinger Competition (Graz, Austria), Schubert Club Competition (Minneapolis, MN), the Classical Singer National Competition, and NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing) Student Auditions.

Ms. Kanakis’ students have appeared in young artist programs and on the mainstage with the Metropolitan Opera, Santa Fe Opera, The Lyric Opera of Chicago, Glyndebourne Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Wolftrap Opera, Seattle Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Kentucky Opera, Dayton Opera, Knoxville Opera, and the Cedar Rapids Opera. 

Two of her former students (Emily Fons, mezzo-soprano and Andrew Stenson, tenor) were featured on the October 2015 cover of Opera News magazine as two of “Opera’s 25 Top Rising Stars.” 

Emily Fons (seated lower left) and Andrew Stenson (seated lower right)


In July 2016, Ms. Kanakis joined the faculty performing and teaching at the Third Annual Bassi Brugnatelli International Conducting and Singing Symposium in Robbiate, Italy.  A 2008 recipient of the NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing) “Emerging Leaders” Award, she earned her D.M.A. from the University of North Texas, her M.M. from Stephen F. Austin State University, and her B.M. cum laude from Missouri State University, where she studied viola and piano in addition to voice.  As a Rotary International Ambassadorial Scholar, she also studied abroad at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Detmold, Germany. 

Ms. Kanakis was a tenured Associate Professor of Music (Voice and Opera) at Luther College, and has also previously taught voice at Texas Woman’s University, Missouri Southern State University, and as a doctoral teaching fellow at the University of North Texas.  As a graduate assistant, Ms. Kanakis also taught voice and class piano at Stephen F. Austin State University.   


To inquire about lessons please email:  karen.kanakis@gmail.com
Specific information for those taking Skype lessons
Payment must be received 24 hrs before the scheduled lesson.  Payment can be made with a credit card or bank account transfer through PayPal (PayPal.Me/KanakisVoiceStudio).  A reminder will be sent via email a few days ahead of time.

 In the case of emergency or illness, please cancel a lesson with as much advance notice as possible.
Desktop, Laptop, or iPad, and Skype.  If you have a good external microphone to connect to your device, the sound I hear will be even better.  With either an internal or external microphone, please test your sound levels before the lesson begins.  If the levels are too high (they go red on the meter), the sound will distort and affect the way I hear you.  You might need to lower your sound input levels.

There are many ways to record a Skype session if you are interested: https://support.skype.com/en/faq/FA12395/how-can-i-record-my-skype-call


How do I test and lower sound input levels on my device?
If using a MAC desktop or laptop:
1.  Go into your System Preferences and select "sound"
2. Select "input"
3. If using an external microphone, click on that (it should be detected by your computer and show up in the window).
4. Start talking and then singing to test the level.  If the bars are all the way to the right side of the levels (max), you should adjust the input down until you aren't maxing out the levels.


If using an iPad:
1. Open Garage Band
2. If using an external microphone, your iPad should detect it and switch to it automatically
3. Click on the plug/jack symbol for "Input settings"
4. Make sure to unclick "Automatic" for input levels
5. Start talking and then singing, using the meter on the Garage Band opening screen to determine levels
6. Use the slider to lower the input levels until you are not maxing out into the red area on the right side of the meter
7. Click on the wrench icon on the top right for "settings"
8. Click on "advanced"
9. Turn "run in background" on
10. Open up Skype and you are ready to go!


If using a Windows desktop or laptop:
1.  Click on the "Start" button
2. Select "Control Panel", then select "Hardware and Sound"
3. Select "Sound", then click "Recording"
4. Make sure the microphone you want to use has a green check mark displayed (if not, click on it to select)
1.  Right click on the speaker icon in the task-bar next to the clock
2. If you don't see the speaker icon, click the left arrow on the task-bar and it should display the speaker icon
3. This should open up the "Sound" and "Recording" tab
4. Make sure the microphone you want to use has a green check mark displayed (If not, click on it to select)
5.  Click on the device you are using to record, then click "Properties"
6. Select the "levels" tab
7. Using the sliders, adjust the input level of the microphone, the click "Apply" when you've set them so you can check them on the meter in the "Recorder" section.
8. Start talking and then singing, and keep adjusting the levels until you no longer max out into the red or extreme right side of the meter.
9. Open Skype and you are ready to go!