K Burns Testimonial

“Working with you this year has been such a privilege. You have changed the way I approach music and have refined my learning process.”…

Laura Brooks Rice, Professor of Voice at Westminster Choir College at Rider University

“This is going to be a great show! I have heard both Abby Rethwisch Paulson and Mary Beth Nelson on their parts and they sound fantastic! I am certain with Warren Jones and Carleen Graham at the helm it will be an event. Susan Shiplett Ashbaker knows how to pull together a team!”…

Johnathon Pape, The Boston Conservatory

“Thank you for the amazing work that you did with our students! Your depth of knowledge is unsurpassed, and it allows you to pinpoint exactly what needs to be addressed in a students singing, presence, interpretation, artistry. But better still, you don’t just identify singers’ issues — you give them so many tools to actually fix the problems. I love that you help them know how to practice in a productive way, while still getting enormous joy out of making music. You’re the best!!”
Johnathon Pape, Director of Opera Studies, The Boston Conservatory

Alex Clark, Opera Singer

“….in my first rehearsal with the conductor he stopped and asked who my coach was and said you’ve done a great job training me on the role”  Alex Clark, Opera Singer (Musiklehrer, Ariadne auf Naxos, Strauss)…

Paul M. Speiser, Westminster Choir College

“I always look forward to my class with Ms. Ashbaker.  She is passionate about her work with singers, always encouraging them to succeed.  She is savvy and organized, with high expectations of her students.  I appreciate her thorough and organized approach to each classroom presentation.”

Paul M. Speiser…

Class Participant

“Susan is extremely knowledgable and brings her expertise to each and every class.  Her constant optimism and call, positive demeanor is infections! ” Class participant (from anonymous evaluation), How to Learn an Opera Role (Westminster Choir College of Rider University)

Steven Brennfleck, Tenor

“It is hard to believe that it took almost 6 years of college level voice study for me to realize that no one had taught me HOW to learn to sing.  How does one find the connection between music and text?  How does one internalize an aria or recit to the point where one becomes a vessel for expressing the composer’s intent?  What tools can one utilize to learn that tongue-twisting line of text or that long chromatic cadenza?  This is why Susan Ashbaker’s class was so important and beneficial to me.  There we learned that the “product” will only be as good as the “process” we employ to get it and what tools are at our disposal to do so.”  Steven Brennfleck, tenor…

Erin Berger, Opera SInger

“You are a wonderful coach and teacher…..If I did something that wasn’t right or you thought could be improved, you explained why and then gave me a way to fix it……I truly appreciate the way you work and also the way you treat others……You gave me tools that I can use even now that the program is over.”  Erin Berger, Opera Singer, (Participant, International Vocal Arts Institute/Montreal)

Elem Eley, Professor of Voice

“This private coaching was a half-hour exploration of effectives ways to approach and learn a challenging song…..throughout the entire process…Susan was exceeding clear, encouraging and highly observant of the students efforts…..I left this observation greatly impressed….This was a very fine demonstration of observant and effective teaching.”  Elem Eley, Professor of Voice, Westminster Choir College, Rider University

Eric Owens, bass-baritone

“In Susan you will find an artist who is always seeking the utmost quality of musicianship, and a steadfast commitment to serving this precious art form that brings joy to so many; and it is with that joy that she strives, each and every day, to live up to the high standards that she has set for herself and everyone around her.  It always puts me at ease knowing that whenever I coach with her, she’ll have an understanding and insight of whatever repertoire I put in front of her, and she’ll have a mastery of all things necessary to have the music be what it’s supposed to be.”  Eric Owens, bass-baritone…