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Danielle Sinclair, Department Head

Private Lessons

Students who study singing at the Conservatory discover the unique qualities of their individual voices while learning proper vocal technique. Our teachers are experienced in teaching both classical and musical theater repertoire.

The young voice is a delicate instrument and the Conservatory is cautious in treating it very carefully. Therefore, the earliest recommended age for private vocal study is 12. Even at this age, teachers are very careful about providing instruction that is developmentally appropriate so that the voice is not pushed or strained. For students younger than age 12, we highly recommend a group vocal experience and/or study of another instrument. Group voice classes and choral opportunities for all ages are described in the following sections.

We encourage young students who are currently pursuing vocal performance opportunities to enroll in private instruction to ensure the development of healthy vocal habits.

Group Instruction

Westminster Conservatory offers a wide range of classes and ensembles to meet the needs of every student, from the beginner to the most advanced student, regardless of age. Some classes are intended as an introduction to music, and require no previous experience. Others are designed to complement private instruction.


See below for class descriptions

Class Name Number of Classes
(per semester)
Class Length Tuition
(per semester)
Children’s Voice Class
Grades 2—4
16 55 minutes $336
Take a Bow!
Grades 3—5
16 55 minutes $336
Pre-Teen Voice Class
Grades 5—7
16 55 minutes $336
Rising Stars!
Grades 6—8
16 55 minutes $336
Vocal Repertoire for Adults 12 55 minutes $252
Opera Outings/Opera Outings Lectures
All ages
TBD 3 hours $20 per lecture

Registration for classes is for the full academic year (most classes run 32 weeks per year). Class length is based upon minimum enrollment (3-person minimum for 45-minute class; 4-person minimum for 55-minute class). Some classes may be offered with a smaller enrollment by reducing the class length. In this case, the tuition remains the same.

  • Children’s Voice Class
    Grades 2-4
    This class incorporates several components of music learning, taught concurrently: music reading, tone-production skills, singing technique, and critical listening skills. Through music reading, children will learn the basics of music theory (notes, rests, time values) and sight-singing. Personal attention will be given to each child as the whole class learns basic breathing and tone-production skills through vocalises and singing exercises. Critical listening skills are fostered as the children listen to each other sing during class and then offer feedback. This class will also help to prepare children for auditioned choral experiences. Class size is limited to 8 children.
  • Take a Bow!
    Dauri Shippey, Instructor
    Grades 3-5
    Sing and dance down the Great White Way in this energetic ensemble! Having fun is number one in this class. Basic lessons in voice, movement, and acting are learned while preparing for a class performance for family and friends at the end of the year.
  • Pre-Teen Voice Class
    Grades 5-7
    This class is designed to meet the needs of the young singer and can be a complement to our choral program. Students learn the basics of sound vocal technique (breathing, posture, diction) and fundamental musical skills (sight reading, rhythm recognition). Class size is limited to 8 teens.
  • Rising Stars!
    Dauri Shippey, Instructor
    Grades 6-8
    Do you love to perform in musical theater? Then come and join other rising stars! Learn to act and sing with this enthusiastic ensemble. Our stars will be introduced to proper vocal technique, music reading skills, acting skills, and stage movement to enhance their presentation. Students will learn solo songs as well as sing and act in ensemble numbers. A performance to showcase both individual and group skills learned in the class will be performed for family and friends at the end of the year.
  • Vocal Repertoire for Adults
    Danielle Sinclair, Instructor
    Kathy Shanklin, Accompanist
    This class is designed to give adult students an opportunity to work with an accompanist on solo and ensemble repertoire in a comfortable and friendly atmosphere. Ensemble groups will be determined by enrollment.  Participants should have some previous vocal study or choral singing experience, and music reading skills. Princeton location only.
  • Opera Outings Lectures
    Tim Urban, Lecturer
    These lectures are a wonderful way to enhance your 2017-18 season Opera Outings experience or attendance at select high-definition Metropolitan Opera broadcasts in the area (more information on Opera Outings excursions and lectures and how to register). Lecturer Tim Urban will examine each opera’s history and compositional style through recordings and group discussion and offer background information about the opera’s cast and creators. Lectures generally take place Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. one week before each Opera Outings excursion or local broadcast. Fees include the lecture, a handout about the opera, and refreshments.  Princeton location only.

Voice Faculty

Tracey Richards Chebra
Katherine Chen
Donna Copti
Jennifer Garr
Susan Gaylord
Nancy Froysland Hoerl
Eva Kastner-Puschl
Denise Mihalik
Linda Mindlin
Sarah Sensenig
Dauri Shippey
Danielle Sinclair
Timothy Urban

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