Nancy Rathbun
Irvington, NY
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Nancy Rathbun

Nancy R.

Irvington, NY
Profile-background-check Background Check
This teacher successfully passed a thorough criminal background check with SterlingBackcheck. This badge verifies trusted teacher status.
Profile-student-favorite Student Favorite
This teacher is rated in the top 15% of teachers in the specialty subject. This badge demonstrates subject mastery on a nationwide scale.
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Teaching Locations:
Profile-location-online Online
Levels taught:
Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
I've been a classical singer for 30 years and have sung leading roles with the Caramoor Music Festival, Glimmerglass Opera and the Orchestra of St. Luke's, among many others. Even more important than my experience, however, is my sensitive and expert touch with students of all ages and personality types. The fundamentals of vocal technique underlie all my teaching, but the individual touch and approach is tailored to each student, whatever his or her age or experience.

About Nancy R.

I believe in the extraordinary power of music to communicate, to inspire and, often, to heal. That belief underlies all my work.

My goal is to help you find the power to express through singing your unique self. It doesn't matter whether your voice is professional quality or whether it's even "good" in the conventional sense. It's YOUR voice. It has its own sound and characteristics, its own particular beauty, and the world needs to hear you!

Whether you want to be a professional or audition for your school musical, NYSSMA, All-State chorus, college and conservatory, or whether you just want to have fun and hit those high notes in the shower, I would love to help you.

I'm a classically trained leading soprano who has had the great good fortune to sing masterpieces with such companies as the Caramoor Music Festival, Glimmerglass Opera and the Aspen Music Festival. I also have undergraduate and master's degrees from Brown University and the Manhattan School of Music.

But don't let the fact that I'm an "opera singer" give you the wrong idea. Yes, strict classical training gives me in-depth understanding of how the human voice works, but I love and teach music of all genres. My students include professional opera singers, yes, but also rock and Broadway-style singers, college and conservatory students, teenagers singing in their school musicals, doing All-State chorus, or preparing for NYSSMA, as well as adults who are taking voice for the love of singing, the fun of the challenge and so they can join their local chorus or sound great on karaoke night.

Above all, the most important qualities I offer as a teacher are the simple human ones: understanding, patience, imagination, kindness, enthusiasm, respectfulness and absolute commitment to helping you meet your vocal goals.

*** Lesson Details ***

I tailor my lessons to each singer's particular interests, goals and challenges. Some students thrive with a highly technical approach; some thrive in a less formal, more supportive environment; most singers do best with an approach that mixes the two. The important thing to know is that you will receive lessons that are specifically tailored to you. There's no single template.

*** Specialties ***

For advanced classical singers I have a great depth of experience and wide knowledge of oratorio, opera, German lied and French, English and American art songs. I also have a specialized background in "performance practice" baroque and classical vocal ornamentation.

For all singers, I am also a superb acting coach!


Write a Review
26 Reviews
Profile-location-online Online

Nancy is very knowledgeable and patient. She knows many different ways to teach techniques, and is encouraging and friendly. I am really enjoying my lessons, and look forward to having one ever week. Some of my family and friends told me they can hear the difference in my voice. I would highly recommend Nancy as an instructor.

Posted Oct 23, 2020
Vikrant J.
Profile-location-online Online

Nancy is truly an extraordinary teacher. She is an expert in her field and has a warm and supportive teaching style. Her lessons have given me a lot of confidence and I wholeheartedly recommend her!

Posted Oct 20, 2020
Earl ..
Profile-location-online Online

Very productive first lesson.

Posted Oct 12, 2020
Profile-location-online Online

I was really nervous to take a singing lesson as I don't have any real experience, but Nancy is such a lovely instructor. She's knowledgeable, patient, and personable, and I had a lot of fun!

Posted Sep 23, 2020
Catherine D.
Profile-location-online Online

Very nice, prompt, proactive

Posted Sep 16, 2020
Debbie Vidovich
Profile-location-online Online

Nancy is very caring, honest and made me feel comfortable singing for her. She is very encouraging And thorough in her assessment

Posted Aug 5, 2020
Profile-location-online Online

This was my first lesson with Nancy. She was terrific. Experienced, reassuring, capable. I feel very luck that I'm in such good hands.

Posted Jul 25, 2020
Ter L.
Profile-location-online Online

Nancy is very professional and has a great amount of knowledge.

Posted Jul 22, 2020
Profile-location-online Online

Thanks to Nancy, I have found my gift in singing. Nancy is very patient, kind, and knowledgeable. I have really enjoyed my lessons with her.

Posted May 13, 2020
Profile-location-online Online

Nancy Is wonderful! She put you at ease and is very easy to connect to and is very encouraging.

Posted May 1, 2020
Frances H.
Profile-location-online Online

Nancy was fantastic!!! We are very excited about my daughter's lessons with her!!

Posted Apr 20, 2020
Vikrant J.
Profile-location-online Online

Great first lesson

Posted Mar 29, 2020
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Nancy is an incredible teacher. She is attentive to all aspects of her students' lives and makes her students feel capable and prioritized. I had left music behind for some time when I met Nancy. I was classically trained as a child, performed throughout my teens everywhere from China to Radio City Music Hall. When I didn't get into my dream collegiate music program, I abandoned voice. Nancy has not only improved my technique immeasurably, she has reminded me why I love to sing. Our lessons are one of the best parts of my week.

Posted Dec 31, 2019
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

I am absolutely delighted to have Nancy as my son’s teacher. My son is a high school student in Hastings on Hudson. He has been studying with Nancy for the past 4 years. We have seen him grow as a singer develop his vocal skills and his confidence, under Nancy’s patient and experienced tutelage. With Nancy, my son has excelled, playing leading roles in his school musical performances and more recently, auditioning successfully for the NYSSMA all state chorus performance in Rochester. We we were lucky to have crossed paths with Nancy. We highly recommend her as a teacher.

Posted Dec 18, 2019
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Rare is the expert who is also expert at teaching. Nancy is both and also endlessly flexible and encouraging.

Posted Nov 13, 2019
Linda M.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

I am not a singer, but Nancy was able to make me feel at ease and give me instructions to bring a voice out of me. Very personable and professional, she has many different ideas and exercises to allow a voice to develop. I had one other voice teacher who never even had me learn a song. Nancy is a very capable and valuable teacher. I really can’t recommend her enough!

Posted Apr 11, 2019
Trish T.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

I love Nancy. I have never sung in front of anyone solo and was/am nervous. Nancy makes me feels at ease. She's amazing!

Posted Mar 22, 2019
Angela C.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Nancy is great to work with. She really engages our daughter. Our 10 year old is always happy after her lesson. Nancy also is a clear communicator both with parents and our daughter, so we always know what is going on, and how things are working.

Posted Sep 28, 2018
Profile-location-home Student's Home

she is very nice

Posted Oct 16, 2016
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Spent a lot of time going over my musical background and getting to know me in general. Made an assessment of my vocal ability, potential strengths and weaknesses that seemed accurate to me. Proposed a lesson plan to develop my singing that seemed reasonable and practical given my goals.

Posted Jun 18, 2016
Sofia B.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

My daughter loved her first lesson

Posted Apr 9, 2016
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

What makes Nancy special as a voice teacher is her ability to understand her student.
I did not want to become a professional, I just wanted to be able to sing in my church choir and not sound
completely off. It turns out that there is a lot to singing which I had no knowledge of, the most important part is
being relaxed and breathing properly. With her help I am singing much better than I ever thought I could and singing with my choir with so much more confidence!

I highly recommend Nancy. She is patient (with me one often has to repeat segments over and over until they come out right), she
never gets upset and she knows how to encourage you when you do well. She is warm and funny and it is a pleasure to have her as a teacher and a coach.

Posted Oct 27, 2015
Cleo D.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

Nancy is awesome! I'm so happy I have this opportunity to tell everyone what a really great person and teacher she is. She's really demanding (but in a nice way) and knows her stuff technically, but she's also really encouraging and kind and I feel like she "gets" her students.

I'm going into my junior year at Cornell where I'm studying pre-med, and believe it or not I really feel like voice lessons with Nancy helped me get here. I love singing, but never had much confidence. I started taking lessons with Nancy my senior year in high school and she helped me sing so much better than I ever thought i could. She was really supportive of my song-writing too. I ended up getting a good part in the school musical (I went to a super competitive high school too) and performing my own songs at a couple of local venues.

Then as part of my college applications she suggested that I include a recording of me performing some French art songs by Claude Debussy. Not that I was a classical singer or was even going to study music seriously in college, but my family is French and I really like the poetry of Paul Verlaine. Nancy introduced me to some cool Debussy settings of Verlaine poems. I thought the songs would be way too hard for me, but with Nancy's help I actually sang them really well and did a good recording that I think helped set me apart in my college applications.

Now when I come back home I always have a few lessons with Nancy. (I still compose and perform my own songs) And don't tell anyone, but she's a lot better than any of the voice teachers at Cornell! Not naming names of course.

Posted Aug 18, 2014
amal M.
Profile-location-studio Teacher's Studio

I have been taking singing lessons from Nancy for about 3 months now.
Nancy's approach to teaching is very different. She does not try to fit you in a syllabus. She patiently understands what areas you need to focus on singing and where you are in singing and works with you towards achieving your singing goals.

with Me, I am OK in identifying pitch, but had trouble calming my nerves, and that came in the way of singing my high range notes.

Nancy helped Me on this area. She always spends time in making me relax with breathing exercises before singing. I cant believe how much progress i have made in three months.

would definitely recommend for any body who is at any level of singing and would like to sing better

Posted Jul 26, 2014
Chrissy C.

Excellent Voice Teacher

My teenage daughter has been taking voice lessons with Nancy for over a year. We have seen such great improvement in her technique as well as in her confidence. Nancy is very patient and provides constructive feedback which has enabled my daughter to grow vocally. I am so pleased with Nancy as a voice instructor that I now have my other daughter beginning vocal lessons with her.

Posted Feb 5, 2014
Amy M.

So rewarding!

My 14 year old daughter, Rachel, has been taking voice lessons with Nancy for almost a year. We believed that Rachel had native singing talent, but we have been amazed and delighted with how rapidly her voice has developed under Nancy's tutelage.

My spouse and I are not the only ones who are pleased... I am including here an excerpt of a social media post Rachel recently wrote: "About two years ago, my parents, my sister and I sat down on the couch to watch the TV show “X Factor”. A girl named Rachel Crow came on and sang, admittedly, beautifully -- bringing my dad to tears. In a fit of uncharacteristic jealousy, I lashed out and screamed at him for liking her singing better than mine, singing being something I enjoy immensely. I sing every chance I get! I made it my goal to sing so well one day that my dad would cry as a result. About six months ago, I started working with a singing teacher, Nancy. I progressively have gotten better and my voice is more controlled. Fast forward to tonight, during an awesome evening with some family friends. I sang "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" for them, a song I had been working on with Nancy. And… I did it! My dad cried as a result of my singing! I know it sounds small, but I was incredibly excited and I needed to share it!”

Posted Jan 29, 2014

Photos & Videos

9 Photos & Videos


Leading Soprano
Jun 1994 - Aug 1998

Caramoor Music Festival

Leading roles under the baton of Maestro Will Crutchfield singing Fiordiligi in Cosi fan Tutte, Irene in Tamerlano, Albina in La Donna del Lago, Nerea in Deidameia, Tisbe in Cenerentola, and others.

Leading soprano
Jun 1992 - Aug 1996

Glimmerglass Opera

I sang leading roles with Glimmerglass, one of the leading opera companies in the United States, for four years. Among my roles there were: Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Lady Billows in Britten's comic masterpiece Albert Herring, and Alice in Verdi's masterpiece, Falstaff.


Masters in Music Performance
Sep 1995 - May 1997

Manhattan School of Music

Bachelor of Arts in Voice
Sep 1987 - Jun 1990

Manhattan School of Music

Bachelor of Arts, History
Sep 1983 - May 1987

Brown University



Fluent / Native Proficiency


First Prize
Apr 1990

Oratorio Society of New York

First Place, Serge Koussevitsky Prize
Nov 1989

The Koussevitsky Foundation


National Association of Teachers of Singing
Mar 2007
Founded in 1944, National Association of Teachers of Singing, Inc. (NATS) is the largest professional association of teachers of singing in the world with more than 7,000 members worldwide.

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