Forget singing. Joe Mitra would like to teach the world to scream.

Mitra, 27, teaches basic breathing and rhythm to vocalists, and his specialty is the aggressive, in-your-face shrieking favored by punk and metal musicians.

Want to hear his idea of a perfect scream? Check out the Foo Fighters' radio hit "Monkey Wrench." You can clearly hear every word Dave Grohl bellows, Mitra said. It's not just a bunch of noise.

A good yell comes from deep in the diaphragm, he says, but it takes more than that to sound as if you just swallowed a plate of glass. To do that without actually damaging your vocal cords takes skills -- which Mitra learned growing up in a musical family and in years of playing in his own bands. He combined that experience with his training in child care to put together his voice curriculum.

Private lessons with Mitra, who lives in Riverdale, run $20 to $60 an hour. So far, his students have been young musicians -- all guys -- but he's working to diversify his client base.

This is no job for wallflowers, Mitra said. "It's hard to be shy when you're face to face with someone screaming your lungs out."

-- Mary Ellen Slayter

Brian Alt, 23, is a camp counselor and aspiring singer under Joe Mitra's tutelage.