Blythe Gaissert


Shirley Close has really taken my singing to the next level. Through her I have achieved a better understanding of pedagogy and am able to apply it very easily under her guidance. Within a year, I have been able to finally gain that extra 3rd on top, and have been able to refine color and power with less effort!

Daniel Collins


I have studied voice with some of the most prestigious voice teachers in the United States. Despite their credentials, I have regularly left lessons feeling empty both vocally and financially.  Following years of searching, experimenting, and struggling vocally, I can unequivocally recommend Shirley Close as the complete package. She is a thorough technician, a phenomenal demonstrator, a consistent mentor, a professional educator, a goal-oriented instructor and a powerful advocate. Shirley is a dedicated teacher seeking sustainable vocal growth and constant improvement. Having observed her teaching others, I can honestly say that Shirley is committed to the individual needs of each and every student she encounters. Her vocal exercises are always tailored to the student and are intended to strengthen the vocal limitations of the individual, not merely “warmup” before looking at repertoire. In my six years of studying with Shirley Close, I have received concrete vocal technique more thoroughly and consistently than through the combination of all prior instructors. She is a rarity: the real deal. 

Lauren Feider


I have had the privilege of studying with Shirley Close during my graduate studies at Florida State University. Professor Close's mastery of vocal technique, her ability to communicate effectively, and her spirited enthusiasm make her a truly exceptional voice teacher. She provides highly individualized instruction, specifically tailoring her teaching to the level and needs of each student. Professor Close's dedication to her students is apparent through her continued research in pedagogy, technique, and repertoire. As I have worked toward building a career in professional music making, Professor Close's thoughtful guidance has proved invaluable. She has made a profound impact on my development, and I am grateful to consider her a mentor and friend. 

Amber Smoke


Shirley is a treasure! I began working with her about three years into a Fach change from mezzo to dramatic soprano, and I feel incredibly fortunate to have found her. Having made the exact same Fach switch herself, Shirley not only knows the repertoire inside and out, but she also understands all of the technical pitfalls and mental hurdles one faces along the way. She has great ears and truly listens to her students, not only to their singing but to what they say as well. She carefully considers my technical questions, listens to my explanations of what I perceive with my ears and body, and uses that information in conjunction with her own impressions of my singing to come up with specific, personalized solutions. I cannot recommend her highly enough, especially to singers with dramatic voices. 

Emily Howes


I have truly loved working with Professor Shirley Close for the past year and a half! Her pedagogical approach to teaching is always clear and effective. I feel as though my voice has grown immensely in size and clarity just in the past year. Furthermore, she is an incredibly compassionate and motivating instructor, always inspiring her students and urging them to strive for their utmost.

Robert Joubert


Ms. Close truly helped me find my voice.  As an undergraduate trumpet major I always enjoyed singing, and the joy that it brings to others and myself.  However, if it were not for the encouragement of Ms. Close and the other voice faculty I would not have discovered the talent I have been given.  I studied voice with her in time earning a Master of Music in vocal performance degree.  Ms. Close's approach to singing always made sense.  She was able to explain technique in a manner that just hit home.  She always took time to answer questions or address concerns I may have had.  She always found a way to make singing relative and meaningful to my personal and musical journey.  Ms. Close made herself available to be not only an excellent vocal teacher, but also a mentor.  It was through her connections that I received my first professional opera work, as well as coaching me through successful auditions.  Since moving on from Houghton College, I have encountered other musicians who hold Shirley Close in high regard as a musician and singer.  This has helped rest assure my time studying with her was well worth it.

Amanda Boyd


Professor Close's teaching is the perfect blend of technique and artistry.  She helps her students refine their singing technique while also demanding the highest level of musicianship.  Professor Close brings enthusiasm and innovation to each lesson.  Her sweet spirit and keen sense of humor make every lesson a joy!    

Emma Char


For the extent of my vocal study during my Master's degree I have been fortunate enough to work with Ms. Close. During this time I have become much more in control of my voice and have been able to gain a technical facility I never knew I was capable of having before. 

She does very detailed work both in coaching repertoire stylistically and in laying a solid technical foundation for her students. She will not let anything pass that is not up to her standards, which means you must work hard. She will let you know exactly what you need to work on, and can explain any sort of technical question you might give to her. This kind of clarity can be rare in voice teachers. She has done a lot in solidifying my technique, allowing my voice to grow and thereby given me a lot of tools with which to work. I am very grateful I've had the chance to study with her!

Tess Mattingly


I had the privilege of studying with Shirley Close the last two years of my undergraduate degree at Florida State before moving on to begin my master’s degree in performance.  During the time I spent with Ms. Close, I learned many foundational theories of singing, which continue to be imperative in my music education today.  Ms. Close quickly diagnoses her students’ vocal strengths and weaknesses, using metaphor and an astute knowledge of the vocal apparatus.  In combination with repeating easy to remember phrases for key concepts, Ms. Close supplements her teaching by being an extremely well read and up-to-date reference in anatomy, vocal pedagogy, art song and opera performance.  Each of her students is taught from an individual perspective, with care taken to pinpoint different methods of learning.  For me, Ms. Close used several kinesthetic approaches; she incorporated physical movement and rhythm into my vocal exercises to turn more abstract ideas concrete.  I attribute much of my confidence and musical growth to the time I spent working with Shirley Close, and look to her as a model of professionalism, mentorship and inspiration in education.

Charles Martinez


I trace the beginning of my journey towards vocal maturity back to the fall of 2006, when I first met Shirley Close.  She was faced with the challenge of preparing me for my master's recital in the spring.  I came to Ms. Close at a time when self-confidence was scarce and the thought of performing was accompanied by much anxiety.  Through Shirley's thorough knowledge of the voice and its mechanics, and her ability to impart the information, I prospered.  The aim at the core of her instruction is to find the voice's healthiest and fullest expression.  It was more than just her knowledge and teaching that guided me though.  She is a spiritual person of great faith.  This quality is quietly attendant throughout her teaching.  She cared for my development as an artist and as a person.  Several years have now passed since our affiliation and I believe the same to be true still today.

Taylor Johnson


Ms. Close has made a grand impact on my respect and understanding of my craft.
Her methods and clarity in instruction have only helped and guided me to a stronger determination. As a young performer, I am confident that I should I be an asset to the music world, I credit much of that to Professor Close.

Eric Hanson


Shirley Close is one of those special teachers who sets the bar high for her students then supports and encourages them in achieving those goals.  Being a musician first, she can offer both a professional perspective and a firm grasp on technique.  Her technical mastery is evident in her demonstration, performance, and her ability to communicate fundamentals through her excellent instruction.  Not only does she effectively lead singers through the basics, she also guides them through the subtle changes that make the biggest differences at the most advanced level.  I highly recommend her!