Karen Lyu

Karen Lyu

Online Singing, Speaking, Songwriting & Acting Teacher

Email: [email protected]

Teacher Info


Karen’s passion for singing, and struggle with her own voice, have led her to over a dozen voice instructors — including Roberta Davis (Berklee School of Music), researching various methods — including Seth Riggs’ Speech Level Singing and Dr. Morton Cooper’s (“The Voice Doctor”), voiceover training with Don Cosgrove (The Talent Center), various holistic health workers, and 25 years of voice coaching. Due to her love for jazz, she earned a BSS in Jazz Studies, Vocal Performance from Cornell College in 1993. She is also a member of the Voice and Speech Trainers Association (VASTA) and a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS). As an actor, she has studied with a number of actor-trainers including T’Keyah Crystal Keymah (In Living Color) and Susan Schuld (Globe Theater), VO directors Ned Lott (Disney, Studio Ghibli), Dave Walsh (TrueTell), and Don Cosgrove (The Talent Center), Dialect Coach Eliza Jane Schneider, and was a Seoul City Improv member for 5 years. Among numerous trainings, she has earned New Science of Singing voice instructor certification, Peter Sage’s Elite Mentorship Forum personal development certification, Jim Kwik’s Superbrain certification, and she is currently doing Elise Arsenault’s The Great Audiobook Adventure program. Karen has earned Continuing Education Accreditation Program certification from the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI), the International Medical Interpreters Association (IMIA), and the Tennessee Administrative Office of the Courts (TNAOC) for her “How to Protect Your Voice” Zoom and in-person workshops.She is always learning something new!


Because of her research and experience, Karen has been recognized as a holistic voice expert by eHow.com, FOX, NBC, CityPages, StarTribune, Asian American Press, and more. She is currently Co-chair of the Voice and Speech Teachers Association (VASTA) Bizcore Committee and Facilitator of the Female Entrepreneur Music Academy Songwriters. In the past, she was Board Chair at West Bank School of Music and a board member of Speak Out Sisters in Minneapolis, the Treasurer for North River Toastmasters in Seoul, and was once a judge for the Hmong Idol USA national singing competition.


Karen loves to share what she’s learned, and has inspired over 1000 students to improve their voices ~ up to 36 students per week in Minnesota. Karen has helped absolute beginners to advanced singers, speakers and actors, from students age 8 to 88, since 1997. She started singing professionally in 1993, and has explored all kinds of voice solutions since 1989. 


In addition, Karen has offered group learning experiences for various topics, such as “How to Protect Your Voice”, “If You Can Speak, You Can Sing”, “News Anchor English”, and “Empower Your Voice for Women” at West Bank School of Music, Korea Improv Theater, Tennessee Language Center, Dreamland Arts, Walker Community Church, Earth Mother Mind Jam, One World Festival, Doosan Corporation, Toray Corporation, Yoons School of English, on Zoom, and by teleconference. She has done custom vocal workshops by request for organizations such as: FACE VO Collective (Beijing, China), Tennessee Association of Professional Interpreters and Translators (Nashville, TN), Walker Community Church Choir (Minneapolis, MN), and more.


Born in Seoul, Korea, Karen grew up with her hard-working immigrant family (Mom was a registered nurse and Dad was an acupuncturist) in California, Texas, and Minnesota. She then got her Jazz Studies degree in Vocal Performance at Cornell College in Iowa, and also lived in Nashville, Tennessee. She enjoyed being an expat in Seoul, South Korea for 10 years, and now lives in Chicago, IL. Karen has been fortunate to perform in the US, South Korea, Europe, Southeast Asia, Central America, and Brazil. BANDS Karen has been a bandleader for over two decades, including: Karen Lyu Jazz Experience, Karen Lyu Swing Quartet. Karen Lyu & Fresh Jazz, Karen Lyu & Global Jazz, Karen Lyu Quartet, the Ben and Karen Duo, and the Yoo and Karen Jazz Duo. Karen has been also been to fortunate to be a member of: Pacha Mamas, Morris Wilson Band, Via Brasil, Banda Brasil, Bomba, Robert Robinson’s Minneapolis Community College Gospel Choir, Jazz Transit, Eddie Piccard Trio, and also has sung as a solo vocalist since 1993. Her singing has been featured on National Public Radio, documentary film, TV, radio, cable, and on all kinds of stages. She has 3 of her own recordings – Karen Lyu Jazz Experience, Karen Lyu & Fresh Jazz, Karen Lyu & Global Jazz Live – and also has recorded with a number of other artists, groups and compilations over the years. Currently, Karen is singing masked (due to COVID) with the praise team at Urban Village Church – Edgewater.


As an actor, she has experience acting in diverse roles for film, musical theater, plays, DVD, and online video (www.backstage.com/u/karenlyu) and Sharon Smith Talent was her agent in Nashville, TN. Her voiceover experience includes projects for Hyundai, Arirang TV, Atomy, and more. Also, Karen is a Macmillan Bard Audiobook Narrator. In Minneapolis, Karen was known for a number of one-woman shows and an original musical theater collaboration called “Memories and Media Myths of Iran and North Korea”, sharing personal and cultural histories of courage and reconciliation with Persian-American vocalist, Maryam Yuzefzadeh. While in Minneapolis, she produced/hosted 2 well-received one-off radio shows: “West Bank School of Music Hall of Famers” and “Asian Women in Contemporary Music”. In addition, as a director/producer/writer/actor, Karen, and her talented, international Jasmine Productions cast and crew, created a fun, inspiring and hilarious original dramedy short film: Stranger Angels.


Karen is an official nominee for the APAC Insider Magazine Business Awards 2022. From 2020-2021, Karen received $10,000 from a VERY SPECIAL arts patron. In 2010, she received a NashvilleMuse.com songwriting award and a MusiCares/Grammy Foundation emergency grant. In 2007, Karen won another 2 awards. A Minnesota State Arts Board cultural collaboration grant was given to Karen and to Maryam Yusefzadeh to create and produce an original musical called “Memories and Media Myths of Iran and North Korea” – which received a standing ovation. Also, in 2006, she received a nomination for Best Arts Article at the National Ethnic Media Awards, as an arts/features writer for Asian American Press newspaper in St. Paul, MN. In 1995, she won a Dayton’s Department Store Emerging Artist Photography Grant.


In Minnesota, Karen became known for her 5 years at the historic West Bank School of Music as the head voice instructor, and for also becoming a board member, then board chair, then Executive Director. in 2004. At that time, there were 30 faculty members and over 500 music students a year. She was honored to serve as the Executive Director for 2 years and to help save the beloved, legendary community music school from closing.


As with adults, Karen loves to motivate kids with fun and growth, innovation and compassion! She earned TESOL certification with honors, and enjoyed 10 years as a part-time English teacher and tutor for all ages. She also has experience with 1 English camp in Malaysia and 2 in Korea, reading and math tutoring with ClubZ in TN for special needs kids for 2 years, as a musical director for 5 children’s musicals in MN, as a choir director for 2 kids choirs – Academia Cesar Chavez + Children’s Center Montessori in MN, as a SteppingStone Theater roster artist for Girl Scouts, Adventure Bay, Minneapolis Public Schools, and more, and also as an independent artist-in-residence and afterschool programs teacher for 3 Minneapolis Public Schools.


Also, Karen earned a Website Design Diploma from Hennepin Technical College and designed this website, as well as 20 others. Karen keeps up on all the latest trends for cool online tools and apps that may be helpful for her students and her business! Back in the 1990’s, Karen actually did database design, graphic design, Macintosh repair, and more. She likes to be ahead of the curve, and has 14 years of experience voice coaching online ~ with Skype, Zoom, Google Meet, Messenger, KakaoTalk, Facetime, etc.

Music Qualifications & Achievements:

  • BSS Jazz Studies, Vocal Performance ~ Cornell College ~ 1989 – 1993
  • New Science of Singing Voice Teacher Certification ~ JohnHenny.com ~ May 2018
  • TESOL (Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language) Certification ~ OnTESOL.com ~ Dec 2012
  • Graduated with ACTDEC Distinction Website Design Diploma ~ Hennepin Technical College ~ Dec 2000


1/2 hour$45.00
1 hour$90.00


I offer online music lessons in singing, speaking, songwriting and acting. For more information about my music lessons simply get in touch.


To book your first lesson with me, or to find out more about my music lessons, don’t hesitate to get in touch by emailing me on [email protected].

Rated 5 out of 5
September 15, 2022

“Karen Lyu has taught me so many practical solutions for improving the quality and endurance of my voice. I sought her advice first for simultaneous interpretation and then for singing. But it’s surprising how much the singing voice lessons cross over into improving the interpretation voice. I had no idea what I was missing before training with her. Each of her techniques are so clever and make so much sense. Every lesson is like a light bulb going off in my head. She is a therapist, treating the whole person, not just the vocal cords.”

Michelle J. Gonzales – Pooler, GA – State Certified Court Interpreter
Rated 5 out of 5
September 15, 2022

“Karen is an excellent voice coach. She’ll have you learning so much about your instrument and how to fix those bad habits that you never knew – whether you’ve been a voice user for ages or not.”

Curtis Michael Holland – Hong Kong – Audiobook Narrator/Drama Teacher/VO Actor
Rated 5 out of 5
September 15, 2022

“Learning from a trustworthy vocal coach is an amazing experience!! Karen is very caring and makes you feel like a friend even tho she is a teacher she lets you be you and help you understand where you need to be for singing. The lessons feel like an enjoyable hobby or activity without any worries. She lets you know where you’re going wrong and find ways to make it simple for you to get better at singing. I really am grateful to find an amazing coach like her and I hope you guys can give her a check-up and let you experience the great times of learning from this vocal coach!!!”

Brian Aguayo – Lexington, NE – Factory Worker/Aspiring Pop Singer/Rapper
Rated 5 out of 5
September 15, 2022

“Karen is one of the most underrated accomplished and technically-oriented vocal coaches available. I’m a singer/songwriter who wanted to improve my vocals and in just one lesson, Karen showed me that my body is my instrument, not just my throat and torso. She had me do some stretching and exercises that gave me an immediate improvement in resonance, ability to project, and FEEL in my bones! I feel honored to be able to still access private lessons at an affordable rate. Do yourself a favor and take one lesson. You’ll know what I mean and I’m sure it won’t be the last. Thank you, Karen. I look forward to many more lessons moving forward!”

Lili McGovern~ Bellingham, WA ~ Life Coach/Singer/Songwriter/Artist
Rated 5 out of 5
September 15, 2022

“Karen is an incredibly sweet person and she always works hard to tailor lessons and techniques to your individual needs. I have been working with her for about 7 months. In that time, she has helped me open up my range, smooth out my transitions between head voice, mix voice and chest voice, taught me how to use my whole body to support my voice as well as how to protect my voice in daily life. And her lessons stick in my head so that I can always remember how to use them and do them. Even after 2 weeks of sickness, I was able to use all the techniques she gave me and still sound great! She also speaks Korean and has helped me practice K-POP songs! In addition to singing, Karen has helped me with writing multiple songs, given me tools to find inspiration and how to put together songs based on my ideas. On top of all of this, she has also worked with me on unlocking and perfecting character voices for animated characters as well as DND original characters, audiobook recording, and advertisement copy reading. She’s so supportive of all of my goals and works with me to achieve anything I want to. And she’s real about where and when I need work. I’ve thought about quitting for financial reasons, but I just couldn’t give up working with Karen! She’s well worth the time you get to spend with her.”

Veronyka Martinez – Seoul, South Korea – English Teacher + Aspiring Singer/Songwriter/Actor