"Many decades ago, I had the fortune of meeting and cooperating with Nancy Zylstra. It struck me at once that here was a singer not only with an angelic SOUND, but also with TASTE, INTELLIGENCE, and UNDERSTANDING. In combination with her ability to LISTEN, her qualities make her an ideal pedagogue. Practically during a lifetime, Nancy and I have shared coaching and teaching at courses and masterclasses, as well as performing in various genres of music. This has lead to growing and consistent mutual understanding and friendship."
~Max van Egmond (baritone, recording artist, teacher, Doctor Honoris Causa of McGill University, Montreal)
"As a vocal teacher and mentor, Nancy Zylstra has a warm, engaging personality that inspires her students and focuses lessons on their vocal needs and performance requirements. Through proper breathing techniques, she coaxes students to execute difficult vocal passages, and shows how breath produces a perfectly-shaped phrase. Her attention to lyrics is always present and she’s a stickler for correct pronunciation. Her language skills in English, French, German, and Italian serve both the vocal literature and her students.
She calls on her vast knowledge of repertoire to choose material that fits the goals of her students. Her expertise in early music is wide-ranging and includes everything from baroque gestures to proper ornamentation and performance style. She has studied in the U.S, and Europe, performed and taught the gamut of vocal music from the renaissance through today’s contemporary song writers. She has an extensive background in vocal anatomy working with experts in the field. She is ever concerned about her students’ vocal health and general well-being.
She has a knack to find the exact exercise to address a problem or work out a kink in a phrase and is able to demonstrate the correct method to accomplish a tricky passage.
Nancy tailors lessons to match her students’ objectives, be it academic or for performance. Her energy and enthusiasm are contagious and excite her students’ ambitions. Never a dull moment whether a masterclass or private lesson, Nancy Zylstra is a caring teacher who enriches her students’ experience and encourages them to reach for the sky."
~JoAnn Kane (Founder, JoAnn Kane Music Service)
"Nancy Zylstra’s creativity as a singer of Baroque Music was one of her chief graces that set her apart from other lesser singers. Every ornament was an imaginative and fresh response to the text, to the musical line, to the audience, to the moment. It is exactly this creativity which informs her teaching, coaching, directing. Every vocal exercise, every musical instruction, every technical explanation is an imaginative and fresh response to the singer or ensemble, to the music and to the moment. I have watched with joy (tinged with just a hint of envy) as she has worked with young people or with professionals; as she has worked with ensembles of children or very inexperienced adults, with highly trained professionals and with enthusiastic untrained amateurs – always generous, always insightful, always kind, always creative. She explains difficult technical issues with simplicity, originality, and wit and always manages to inspire singers, instrumentalists and ensembles to reach for higher stars."
~Dr. James Savage (Men’s Schola Cantorum & Choir of Hope Director at Christ our Hope Church; Director of Music Emeritus, St. James Cathedral, Seattle)