Barbara Ryan

Fairfax Station, VA

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About this pro

How does your business stand out?

I trained classically for 10 years with high powered teachers that included Metropolitan Opera singers and students of the late, great Todd Duncan. None of them prepared me for singing day after day, week after week in difficult acoustic environments, and I strained my voice, necessitating a long, silent recovery time. Once I started recording, I learned a great deal about what goes on in the vocal instrument and sat down to completely restructure my approach to singing. The result is my teaching method: an ergonomic understanding of the instrument, with an emphasis on using the body's natural acoustics in conjunction with breathing techniques, relaxation and overall fitness. I'm also a mother and grandmother and have learned how best to draw out my students' strengths and interests.

What do you enjoy about the work you do?

My students!!! We always become friends because a successful teacher takes the time to learn so much about every one.
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Fairfax Station, VA 22039

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18 Reviews
  • Ricci A. Aug 29, 2017
    Singing Lessons
    Verified Review
    Barbara is GREAT! She truly knows how to teach and has amazing ways to help you quickly understand and build. I would absolutely encourage anyone looking at taking singing lessons to reach out to Barbara. Awesome Lady!
    Barbara R. Aug 29, 2017

    Ah Ricci - You're a doll! I am truly enjoying our lessons and watching you progress! That you understand as many of the complex concepts already shows me you will move forward smartly. Thanks so much for your kind words!

  • Marcus P. Oct 3, 2016
    Singing Lessons (for adults)
    Verified Review
    Exceptional vocal coach!
    Barbara is a master of vocal mechanics and technique! I'm looking forward to learning more from her :)
    Barbara R. Oct 4, 2016

    We had a great first lesson today and I'm thrilled you know so much about the anatomy of the instrument, Marcus! I anticipate you'll make good progress. Thank you so much for your kudos!.

  • Ray Y. Aug 3, 2016
    Singing Lessons (for adults)
    Verified Review
    Barbara is the greatest, she makes learning a fun process. look forward to my lessons.
    Barbara R. Aug 4, 2016

    It's been grand working with and getting to know you, Ray! Thank you so much for your kind words: may this continue to be a fulfilling journey...

  • Brandon M. Jun 22, 2016
    Singing Lessons (for adults)
    Verified Review
    Barbara has a creative approach to teaching voice lessons and helps you visualize how to make the best use out of your vocal instrument. She's very friendly and patient but will also continually push you to improve. Lessons take place in a welcoming environment and offer the opportunity to expand your horizons as a musician.
    Barbara R. Jun 22, 2016

    Many thanks, Brandon! It's been a pleasure working with you and watching your voice emerge has been so gratifying.

  • Jessica M. Jun 21, 2016
    Singing Lessons
    Verified Review
    If you are looking for a friendly, supportive and very knowledgable voice instructor -- look no further! I have been a voice student of Barbara's for about 2 1/2 years. In that time, she has taught me how to use my voice more efficiently, more precisely and to truly enjoy the music I sing.She starts from the basics and works up from there, at your pace - really teaching you how to sing, properly using all your vocal structures to get your best, most pure sound! Barbara is very kind, welcoming, patient and really wants to get to know her students as people, not just paying clients. Her home is warm and inviting and her two sweet dogs keep us company many evenings during our lessons. I would highly recommend Barbara as a voice instructor!
    Barbara R. Jun 22, 2016

    A lovely review from one of my star students! You make my work easy, Jessica and hearing you sing is pure pleasure. Thank you.

  • Eric W. Jan 20, 2016
    Singing Lessons
    Verified Review
    Very nice lady. Takes the time to explain the physics of singing. Very easy to work with and very friendly and professional.
    Barbara R. May 12, 2016

    Thanks Eric! I miss you and hope you're rockin' on my friend.

  • Stephen W. Nov 4, 2015
    Barbara Ryan brings a lifetime of knowledge and experience to her voice students. Moreover, she brims with warmth, drawing us into the mysteries and rewards of the vocal apparatus: a musical instrument we can surely feel and obviously hear, but cannot actually see. Barbara envisions it for us. She speaks of the “porpoise blowhole” and the “crystal tube” we each possess. Repeatedly she reminds us to “take a nice, deep, larynx-dropping breath.” This shorthand soon forms a daily habit, an awareness she instills; offering memorable guideposts to conscious singing. I speak here as a professional musician, my full-time occupation now for more than four decades. May I spend whatever years I have left as a vocalist under her watchful embrace.
    Barbara R. May 12, 2016

    Lo these many months past, I just want you to know how much I appreciate all your successful efforts to improve: I am SO proud of you, Steve!

  • Diana D. Apr 15, 2015
    Singing Lessons
    Verified Review
    I took a month of singing lessons with Barbara. In that time, she taught me the basics of how to improve my pitch (sing more in tune), project my voice (sing loud), and improve my tone (avoid sounding breathy). She's an excellent teacher with a very casual, fun, silly teaching style. She adjusts the pace of her lessons for each student, willing to constantly push ahead or to work on diligently mastering each technique.
  • Josh G. Jan 5, 2015
    Singing Lessons
    Verified Review
  • Claudia P. Dec 30, 2014
    Singing Lessons
    Verified Review
    Barbara has a unique and genius approach to the mechanics of the anatomy of the singing voice. So far she has really helped me learn a new footprint for placing my voice. The placement is something I have always felt is correct, though had always been hard for me to reproduce consistently without knowing the what and how. Barbara has really helped to influence my what and how on this topic, and I can feel and hear a noticeably fuller quality in my voice when I use her technique.
  • David C. Sep 3, 2014
    Singing Lessons
    Verified Review
    I've been a professional musician for 10 years. I've been working with Barbara for about 6mos. My improvement as a vocalist has accelerated in these 6months in ways I could not have foreseen. Barbara is positive, professional, kind, and wicked talented! I recommend her highly to anyone hoping to improve their vocal technique, accuracy, and range. Let Barbara help you get the most out of your instrument!
  • Heather K. Sep 25, 2013
    I am both shocked(!) and incredibly happy with how my voice has improved since I started voice lessons with Barbara just a matter of months ago. Tone, range, everything. She is truly an amazing teacher and a lovely person. And as a bonus, you will never have as much fun at a music lesson as you will with Barbara! Very, very highly recommended!
    Barbara R. Sep 25, 2013

    Well I can highly recommend you as a student and am very grateful for your friendship, Heather, dear! You have made such leaps and bounds in your progress and I'm SO proud of you! AND you're a great song writer...

  • Elizabeth S. Jan 29, 2013
    Singing Lessons
    Verified Review
    Barbara is a patient and knowledgeable instructor. In my few months of work with her, I have already noticed improvement with breath control and being aware of my pitch.
    Barbara R. Jan 29, 2013

    It's easy when I have a talented student who learns quickly!

  • Peter D. Oct 25, 2011
    Barbara has in the space of a few months improved my breath control and expanded my total range. Her relaxed style of teaching coupled with her vast experience and range of teaching techniques as well as her ability to bring you along at your own pace make her an excellent teacher well suited to the professional or amateur.
  • Barbara M. Oct 24, 2011
    I am a parent of a one of Barbara's teen students and was always very pleased with the training she gave my daughter and her personal warmth and charm. When my daughter went on to a new teacher to become more performace oriented in her genre one of the first things we were told was that my daughter had clearly had excellent vocal training. If you want a teacher who teaches you how to make the most of your vocal instrument Barbara will not disappoint.
  • Isabella M. Oct 24, 2011
    I studied with Barbara for over a year and she was an amazing teacher. I learned invaluable techniques and tools from her which I will continue to use for as long as I continue singing. The atmosphere of the lessons with her is fun and relaxed, yet at the same time you learn a lot. Compared to all the other voice teachers I've had over the years, she taught me the most and was the greatest help in developing my voice. Other vocal coaches, especially when studying opera, seem to have a tendency to push the voice to a point which can be harmful - Barbara would never do any such thing. I highly recommend her.
  • Janine A. Aug 31, 2010
    I have been taking voice lessons from Barbara for over a year now. She has helped me improve my control, help my transition points and taught me how to sing at almost any volume level without pain and in several different styles. While I am not a professional singer, I think she can help almost anyone improve the quality of their voice for long term use. The lessons are also thoroughly enjoyable and I plan on continuing my music education with Bodhran lessons. I highly recommend Barbara as a teacher!
  • Patricia M. Aug 30, 2010
    When I projected into the future, I decided it would be to my benefit to try to strengthen my voice. Since Barbara is an accomplished singer and a long-time friend, she was my choice. And I chose well. I have learned a great deal from her (as her slightly deranged dog rests at our feet) and her outsized personality insures that the lessons are pure pleasure.


What is your typical process for working with a new customer?
I teach each student about his/her instrument from the first lesson. One of the greatest obstacles in leaning how to sing is not realizing that your voice is an instrument - the only one that can't be seen or touched - and needs to be understood through conceptualizations that suit the learning style of each student.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
Ten years of individual study (1972 - 1982) followed by a professional singing career that dates back to 1982. If you sing professionally, you must either train or be trained. My own singing career and students keep me at my teaching peak.
How did you get started doing this type of work?
Singing chose me and I had to go along for the ride.
What types of customers have you worked with?
Remedial teaching for those who've misused their instrument, or have never learned how to use it in the first place.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
If you want to understand healthy singing, I'm your woman. I don't teach repertoire and I'm not here just for fun. I don't offer services for young children: the study of singing healthily requires a level of communication and vocal maturity that materializes in the mid-teens.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
It's hard, physical work that requires physical fitness and stamina.