History

The New York Singing Teachers” Association traces its roots back to 1906, when it was established as the first association of singing teachers in the United States. Founding members included such luminaries as Enrico Caruso, Emma Eames, Geraldine Farrar, Mary Garden, Ernestine Schumann-Heink, and Marcella Sembrich, who joined together for the cause of promoting high-quality singing in America.

Over the years, NYSTA has played an important role in breaking down barriers among teachers, as well as between teachers and those in related disciplines. We encourage a free exchange of ideas about the principles of good singing and the practices of good teaching. NYSTA events may include debate, but always within the context of mutual respect and high ethical standards. This atmosphere in turn enhances the standing of voice teachers among other professions, as attested by the invitation extended to NYSTA to co-sponsor a panel at the prestigious Voice Foundation Symposium, the nation”s leading forum for otolaryngologists, speech pathologists and voice scientists.

One of NYSTA’s original goals, when it was founded in 1906, was to raise standards in the teaching studio by establishing a school. Numerous attempts were made by dedicated professionals to devise a curriculum of necessary subjects in which a singing teacher should be proficient. In the 1920s and 1930s NYSTA led efforts to require certification by the New York State government for all voice teachers. While a formal school was never established, and state certification was never implemented, the intent of the founders and early members came to fruition with the establishment of our Professional Development Program (PDP), spearheaded by our past President, Janet Pranschke. In 2007, as a result of the efforts of President David Sabella-Mills, these PDP courses became available online to teachers and voice professionals all around the world.

The PDP program has continued to flourish, and now offers graduate credit in partnership with Westminster Choir College at Rider University. Additionally, those who complete the five core courses can earn the designation Distinguished Voice Professional.

NYSTA continues to expand its outreach, offering resources to voice professionals around the globe.

STATEMENT JUNE, 2020

The New York Singing Teachers Association condemns racism, systemic and otherwise, and the senseless murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and the countless other Black Americans whose names are more numerous than we are able to list here.

The officers and board of directors are painfully aware that the history of western concert singing, opera, and musical theater–genres of singing that have dominated the focus of this organization–are genres in which people of color are regularly marginalized through lack of representation, superficial or unflattering representation, or casting choices that are now rightfully being acknowledged as unethical.

Before the new officers began their term on June 1st, there were plans in the works to ensure that NYSTA is consistently inclusive, both with regard to the racial and artistic makeup of the board of directors and with regard to the styles of vocal music represented and explored within the organization.

In these ways we are committed to amplifying the voices of people of color within NYSTA and, we hope, the greater voice community.