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Rachel Barnard

Instructor of Voice

Music - Voice


Rachel Barnard has performed in opera and musical theater throughout the Northeast and Oklahoma. She has sung in recital, cabaret and concert in New York, Boston, and Atlanta at such venues as Carnegie Hall, Avery Fisher Hall and the Apollo Theater. In Oklahoma she has soloed with Canterbury Voices, the Oklahoma City Symphonic Band, and with the Enid Symphony Orchestra.

In addition to her solo work Ms. Barnard has performed as a professional choral singer and opera chorus member in the New York metropolitan region. While in New York she worked for the renowned Herbert Barrett’s artist management helping with the publicity of prominent musicians like operatic baritone Sherrill Milnes, band leader Mitch Miller, jazz pianist Billy Taylor, the choral group Chanticleer, and the Guarneri String Quartet.

In Oklahoma City she performed most recently with the Tactus Vocal Ensemble and the Oklahoma City Philharmonic. Ms. Barnard received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Opera Performance at Purchase College in New York, and her Masters of Music in Vocal Performance at Oklahoma City University.

Rachel Barnard has been teaching voice at Oklahoma City University’s Wanda L. Bass School of Music for almost twenty-two years. Graduates of her studio have performed on Broadway, in Chicago and Los Angeles; and in regional venues across the US and worldwide. Some of her alums have maintained active performance careers on cruise lines and at Disney World in Orlando, Tokyo, Paris.

She is immensely proud of her alumni teaching music and theater in the US and in Europe. In 2016 she was one of two recipients of the Excellence in Teaching Award from OCU’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. She is a proud member of NATS (National Association of Teachers of Singing) and Pi Kappa Lambda.

She lives in Edmond with her husband, adult “kids” and two sweet labradoodles.

Teaching Philosophy

Teaching is a privilege that allows me to share and learn simultaneously. For this and other reasons, I consider it an honor and a joy to teach for my life’s work.

The voice is our most personal instrument as humans. My goal as a voice teacher is to foster a safe and nurturing environment in my studio. I believe positivity and encouragement are crucial to progress. I prioritize the aforementioned in every lesson, while requiring my students to give more than they may believe is possible.

The foundation of healthy singing is the coordination of breath, support, natural phonation and release of upper-body tension. This is the challenge of any singer regardless of their experience. Coordinating these elements can sometimes feel like a juggling act and focus can shift frequently. I share tools with my students, which over the last two decades I have found to be consistently helpful. Most of these tools have their roots in classical singing, and I modify them according to my student’s needs in the moment. If the usual tools do not work we create new ones together - one of the many reasons I love teaching! These tools can work in different styles of singing.

Regular practice is crucial to the learning process and I demand that of my students. I also believe that whatever practice (or lack thereof) they achieve, we can always build upon that in the studio. Sometimes this means sharing HOW to practice efficiently.

I aim to instill in my students the understanding that wherever they are on a given day, however they might be feeling - we can work with that. This important life tool is the belief that we can build upon any level of success or failure. In order to persevere in singing or in life, we mustn't dwell on what has or has not been achieved. But we can build on it -- if we accept ourselves and move forward.

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