Independent Voices

NATS gives special emphasis toward advancing the work of our independent studio teachers, who comprise more than half of the NATS family of members. A key resource for studio voice professionals are the “Independent Voices” articles, which appear in the semi-annual Inter Nos e-newsletter. We invite you to read our recent articles, offering practical solutions for non-university, independent studios and inspiring success stories of our entrepreneurial members. 

Call for Submissions
Short articles on relevant topics are being accepted for inclusion in the "Independent Voices" section of Inter Nos, as well as on this web page. Submissions should be sent by email to

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Fall 2016

From the "Independent Voices" Editor

New associate editor for independent teachers, Cynthia Vaughn, is excited and honored to continue the vision of her predecessor, Nancy Bos. In this column she introduces a new series of articles, "Transitions," which will spotlight the variety of challenges that voice professionals encounter in their own career transitions. READ MORE

Transitions: From Private Studio to Community Music School

By Sharon Szymanski, Chapel Hill School of Musical Arts
Read about the journey of a teacher whose "labor of love" now instructs more than 400 students. READ MORE

Transitions: From the Big City to the Suburbs - Goodbye Broadway, Hello Charleston

An interview with master teacher Stephanie Samaras
In 2015 Stephanie traded a successful voice studio in Manhattan's historic Upper West Side for a private voice studio over her garage in the suburbs of Charleston, South Carolina. READ MORE

Finding My Tribe

By Sheila Townsend, 2016 Joan Frey Boytim Independent Teacher Award Recipient
Reflecting on her experiences at the NATS 2016 national conference, Sheila is proud of the programs she is developing as an independent teacher and likes being a resource to other teachers. READ MORE

The Four Agreements for Independent Voice Teachers

By Cynthia Vaughn, Inter Nos Associate Editor
Stories of bad behavior abound among voice teachers. To counter the negative energy, it is part of a teacher's job to educate parents, students and colleagues in business etiquette, as well as to set expectations. READ MORE

Spring 2016

From the "Independent Voices" Editor

By Nancy Bos, Independent Teacher Associate Editor 
Nancy talks about the benefits gained from taking the initiative to create community among your local voice teachers. READ MORE

Vocal Retraining of Problem Voices

By Arlene McIntyre
Based in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Arlene has worked successfully with singers who have problem voices. READ MORE

Training the Transgender Singer: Finding the Voice Inside

By Shelagh Davies
Many singing teachers are now meeting a relatively new but rapidly expanding group of voice students - those who are transgender. READ MORE

Perspectives from a Teen Singer

By Akemi Takahashi
Music educators recognize that the power and influence of music can have a profound impact on people of all ages. However, a common topic of controversy among voice teachers is the age at which a child should be accepted into the studio as a student. READ MORE

Fall 2015

From the "Independent Voices" Editor

By Nancy Bos, Independent Teacher Associate Editor 
For the Independent Teacher, the internet makes nearly every task we do, aside from working with students, outsourceable with a few clicks, from scheduling and billing to answering emails. READ MORE

Staying on Track: Vocal Use Points Tracker

By Theresa Brancaccio
As a voice teacher at the university level, I have become acutely aware of how balancing the demands of elite vocal training, academics, and life in general is a challenge and an acquired skill... It is easy to forget that the singer’s voice does double duty as a utilitarian tool of communication and as a highly refined musical instrument capable of deep artistic expression. READ MORE

Should I Post My Rates on My Website?

By Wendy Stevens, M.M., MCTM
Though this is an important question that any independent voice teacher should ask, the answer to this question is unfortunately not an easy “Yes” or “No.” Posting or not posting are both good ideas, so examining the pros and cons of each way is important in deciding how best to attract the students that you desire. READ MORE

The Road from Voice Teacher to Producer

By Ron Browning
Somewhere in the beginning of this last decade or two of my career as a voice teacher, I ventured down an exciting path. The journey has brought me up to my next level as a teacher, and I now find myself wearing two new hats—vocal producer and record producer. READ MORE

Lessons In Congeniality

By Diana McCullough
All of us, whether in private studios, community music schools, colleges, universities, or conservatories, can give ourselves the gift of collegiality.” READ MORE