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About the Voice Department

Department chairs: Amy Jarman and Gayle Shay

The Blair School of Music offers three undergraduate programs in the study of voice: Bachelor of Music Performance degree; Bachelor of Music Musical Arts degree; and Bachelor of Music - Musical Arts/Teacher Education degree.

The voice department specializes in instruction in applied voice, vocal literature, chamber music, lyric diction, vocal pedagogy, and performance practice and style. Blair offers a comprehensive opera training program, producing fully staged productions with orchestra and instruction in acting, stage combat, improvisation and the Alexander Technique.

Blair voice majors have been accepted into graduate performance programs at Boston Conservatory, Boston University, Cincinnati University, Eastman School of Music, Emory University, Florida State University, Indiana University, The Manhattan School of Music, The Mannheim Conservatory-Germany, New England Conservatory, Northwestern University, Peabody Conservatory, Rice University, San Francisco Conservatory, Texas Christian University, University of Colorado-Boulder, University of Kansas Conservatory, University of Maryland-College Park, University of Southern California, University of Texas-Austin and University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Blair graduates have performed with AIMS-Graz Austria, Amato Opera, Berkshire Opera, Central City Opera, Des Moines Metropolitan Opera, Glimmerglass Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Lincoln Center Summer Music Festival, North Shore Music Theatre, Ohio Light Opera, Opera Astoria Music Festival, Opera Theatre of Lucca, Italy, Sarasota Opera and Texas Chamber Opera.

The Voice Department at the Blair School of Music is home to the Mary Cortner Ragland Trust, which, since its inception in 2002, has brought the following world-renowned artists, teachers and coaches in recital and master classes to the Blair School for the enrichment of our students and the greater Nashville community:

Alice Coote, mezzo-soprano
Lawrence Brownlee, tenor
Susan Graham, mezzo-soprano
Stephanie Blythe, mezzo-soprano
Warren Jones, piano
Eric Owens, baritone
Kenneth Griffiths, collaborative piano
Dean Southern, Distant Voices presentation
Audra McDonald, soprano
Thomas Hampson, baritone
Roger Vignoles, collaborative piano
Renee Fleming, soprano
Dawn Upshaw, soprano
Bo Skovhus, baritone
Ian Bostridge, tenor
Jennifer Larmore, mezzo-soprano
Martin Katz, collaborative piano
Margo Garrett, collaborative piano
Julius Drake, piano
Barbara Honn, soprano
Julie Simson, mezzo-soprano

Recommended audition repertoire and prescreening video for the Voice Department


Amy K. Jarman
Senior Lecturer in Voice; Co-Chair of the Voice Department

Instruction in: Applied Voice and Vocal Literature
1166 Blair
Gayle Shay
Associate Professor of Voice; Director of Vanderbilt Opera Theatre; Co-Chair of the Voice Department

Instruction in: Applied Voice, Opera Theatre and Lyric Theatre Workshop
3106 Blair
Mary Hewlett Elder
Adjunct Artist Teacher of Voice

Instruction in: Applied Voice
Ben Harris
Senior Lecturer in Vocal Music

Instruction in: Vocal Coaching and Collaborative Piano
2171 Blair
Jennifer Q. McGuire
Senior Lecturer in Collaborative Piano

Instruction in: Vocal Coaching and Collaborative Piano
2167 Blair
Cheri Montgomery
Adjunct Senior Lecturer of Vocal Diction

Instruction in: Lyric Diction
1182 Blair
Tyler Nelson
Associate Professor of Voice

Instruction in: Applied Voice and Vocal Pedagogy
2173 Blair
Tracy Prentice
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Voice

Instruction in: Applied Voice
3157 Blair