BYU ‘Belting Queen’ uses experience to help students achieve their dreams

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Lockwood, BYU's resident "belting queen," helps students learn proper vocal technique. (Photo by Sarah Hill.)
Lockwood, BYU’s resident “belting queen,” helps students learn proper vocal technique. (Photo by Sarah Hill.)

In the Music Dance Theater Department one professor has developed a keen ear to dissect students’ vocal woes and offer remedies to help them reach their dreams of making it big.

Gayle Lockwood has spent the last 30 years helping students in the music dance theater program work on contemporary vocals; her efforts prompting students to dub her “The Belting Queen.”

While Lockwood has never heard the title herself, she has made a niche for herself as “The Belting Queen.” Her ability to diagnose a singer’s vocal issues has brought her wide acclaim from those she’s worked with on and off campus.

“I’ve worked with her both as a director and also as a student — not as a college student but as an adult voice student,” said Cynthia Collier, who first worked with Lockwood on the LDS Church’s production of “Savior of the World.” “I was amazed at how quickly she was able to diagnose my issues and teach me how to make changes. It was like no experience I’d ever had with a voice teacher.”

Lockwood’s relatives have long noticed this talent. Whitney Peterson, Lockwood’s niece and a BYU graduate, is amazed at how quickly Lockwood can diagnose the issue with someone’s voice and know exactly what needs to change.

“She is someone who is always willing to give of herself and sacrifice her time and energy in order to improve the lives of those around her in helping people achieve their dreams,” Peterson said.

Lockwood believes she is the result of the many mentors who have come into her life. Originally she planned to teach music education at a high school. But after a stint in the public school system, she went back to school to pursue a master’s degree in vocal performance pedagogy.

“I learned very quickly that you don’t get the best work out of people when you bombard them with negative input,” Lockwood said. “I try to be positive in my teaching at school in a way that gives honest criticism but is encouraging and allows them to believe in themselves.”

Those who have worked closely with Lockwood learn how important staying true to the principles of the gospel can be to becoming effective performers. Meredith Rodgers has worked with Lockwood over the past few years and has learned many valuable lessons.

“One of the biggest things I’ve learned from her is that you don’t separate the gospel from performing,” Rodgers said. “You can love performing and love the Savior, and you can bless people through that.”

As Lockwood continues to help BYU’s Broadway hopefuls achieve their dreams, she emphasizes the importance of sticking to one’s values in a business that can be hard for members of the Church.

“Make sure that you have a passion that is that strong and make a determination right now that you are going to be in this to serve your fellow beings and serve the Lord. Then when you’re prepared and your tool set is full then he can work through you and put you where you can do good, and that light that you have will be useful. Fill yourself with light,” Lockwood said.

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