Jazz & Creative Institute

Voice Faculty

Voice Faculty


Each of our voice teachers have unique strengths and special qualities that create supportive and encouraging learning environments. To study jazz voice specifically, join our Jazz Academy. For all other genres, Tiny Voice Box has you covered.

Voice teacher Ashley Daneman

Ashley Daneman

Ashley Daneman is a singer and songwriter who goes deep with her blend of jazz and modern folk. Daneman grew up in Toledo, Ohio studying classical voice and performing in musicals before turning to jazz and songwriting. Her latest release, critically acclaimed “Beauty Indestructible,” is available on iTunes and Bandcamp. Selected by DownBeat Magazine as “Editor’s Pick,” her music draws comparisons to Becca Stevens, Laura Nyro, and even Stephen Sondheim. Daneman has been performing around the US for the last 15 years in several large cities, including her old hometown of New York City. She earned her master’s degree from Manhattan School of Music under the guidance of Peter Eldridge, Kate McGarry, and Theo Bleckman. Daneman also was a resident artist at The Kennedy Center’s Betty Carter’s JazzAhead and The Banff Centre’s Jazz and Creative Workshop in Alberta, Canada. She's Level II Certified in Somatic Voicework(tm) - The Lovetri Method and has been teaching voice for over 10 years.

Ashley Daneman's vocal and cello (Jordan Hamilton) jazz version of this beautiful song written in the mid-1800's by American songwriter Stephen Foster. Recorded at Overneath Creative Collective in Kalamazoo, MI in June 2018.
Carmen Bell voice teacher

Carmen Bell

Carmen Bell, soprano, is a professional singer and voice teacher based in Battle Creek, Michigan. She received a Master of Music degree in voice from Eastern Michigan University, where she studied with Dr. Emory Stephens. She also received a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from Western Michigan University, where her primary instructor was Dr. Carl J. Ratner. She was accepted into and attended the Davidson College Vocal Symposium. Ms. Bell’s operatic experience includes the roles of Miss Todd in Menotti’s Old Maid and the Thief, La Ciesca in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, as well as scene performances in Le Nozze di Figaro, The Tender Land, Cosi fan tutte and La Traviata. She is currently studying the roles of Bess in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, and Lucy in Menotti’s L'Amour à trois. As a soprano soloist, she has been featured in Handel’s Messiah, among other major works. Ms. Bell has also served as a guest artist and lecturer where she has performed specialized programs of art songs and spirituals associated with well-known African American composers. Carmen’s students have successfully competed at MSVMA District and State Solo and Ensemble competitions receiving high ratings and placing among Michigan’s top ten soloists. Current students have auditioned and were featured in several leading roles in area musical theatre productions. Furthering their passion for music, former students have received music degrees from Western Michigan University, Michigan State University, Grand Valley, and Roosevelt College.

Elizabeth Bayer, voice teacher

Elizabeth Bayer

Elizabeth Bayer has a degree from Grand Valley State University in Elementary Education and is working on earning her second bachelors in music education at Western Michigan University with a focus in choral education. She has worked as a Kindergarten and First grade teacher of all subjects, including music, and as Camp Counselor and Unit Director at Blue Lake Fine Arts camp. Her experiences as a teacher and mentor to students have taught her to work with students of all ages. Elizabeth has studied with multiple voice teachers, including Elizabeth Cowan and Nicholas Loren, has been a member of the Grand Rapids Symphony Chorus, and is currently a member of Western Michigan University's flagship chorus, University Chorale. She will also be joining the West Michigan Opera project for their upcoming season. Elizabeth teaches basic piano and guitar alongside voice lessons.

Elizabeth Cowen Pic.jpg


Elizabeth Cowan has sung with opera companies across the United States, most notably the Santa Fe Opera and the Dallas Opera. She was the 1994 Metropolitan District winner in Dallas, named the North Texas Singer of the Year, and was the featured recitalist for the National Association of Teachers of Singing convention at North Texas State University. A winner of the Wagner Society Solo Competition in Dallas, a Dallas Opera Guild career grant winner, and a concerto competition winner at SMU, Cowan was a finalist in both the San Antonio Vocal Competition and the D'Angelo Vocal Competition. She has also served as an adjudicator for many major vocal competitions. Her students have sung all over the world and have won major national and international singing competitions. Cowan has worked with such notable conductors and stage directors as John Copley, John Crosby, Marc Astafan, Dejan Miladinovic, and John Moriarity, and she has performed on stage with singers such as Fredericka von Stade, Dawn Upshaw, Kevin Langan, Timothy Noble, and Erie Mills. She has been the featured singer in master classes for many famous teachers, including Robert Merrill, Margaret Harshaw, Martina Arroyo, Shirlee Emmons, and Rosalind Elias. 

In addition to her responsibilities at Western Michigan University, Cowan has taught at Florida International University and the New World School of the Arts in Miami. She holds the Graduate Diploma from New England Conservatory, the MM degree from Southern Methodist University and the Bachelor of Music degree from Wittenberg University. She has also done additional study at Westminster Choir College and the Chautauqua Institute.

Voice Faculty, Liz Townsend

Liz Townsend

Liz Townsend is a vocalist, private voice instructor and music professional in Kalamazoo, MI. Liz is well-versed in many vocal styles including classical, jazz, musical theatre and pop. After spending several years in the classroom, she is moving her focus to individual and small group instruction. She holds a degree in Choral/General Music Education from Western Michigan University where she sang in Gold Company and the University Chorale. After completing her degree, Liz has sought out many opportunities to learn more about vocal health and techniques through workshops and trainings. Liz employs many techniques from Estill Voice Training in her teaching as well as many vocal health exercises learned through her own vocal health journey.

In her free time, Liz enjoys yoga, exercise and, spending time with her husband, Mike. Together, they love to travel, hike, and work on house projects.