Marilyn Taylor has been a faculty member in our School of Music since 1992 and chair of the Voice Faculty since 1996. She is an exceptional teacher of singing, a fact that is underscored by the success of her students. In 2008 one of her students was one of the winners in the final round of competitions of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and in February of 2009 another of her students will again compete in the final round of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. Furthermore, several students have been District winners in the same competition since 2005. In February of 2008 one of her students sang the title role in the Metropolitan Opera's production of Peter Grimes. Other students have recently performed in opera houses all over North Carolina and the region.
Dr. Taylor received a UNCSA Excellence in Teaching Award in 2005. Her students constantly sing her praises; one of them wrote recently that "I can honestly say that Dr. Taylor is the most brilliant person I have ever met. She understands each student as an individual---emotionally, physically, artistically and intellectually. Her teaching style is flexible and adjusts to help each student learn in the way that is best for him or her. She is so in-tune with what her students are thinking and feeling that I often wonder if she actually has the ability to read minds." A former student wrote that "she was able to release my voice, the most personal of all instruments, and give me the technical guidance that enabled me to sing better than I ever thought would ever be possible. Her instruction formed the base of my vocal knowledge, and as recently as an hour before I started to write this letter, I shared a specific lesson I learned from her with a young student I currently teach." Dr. Taylor participates in the mentoring program of the National Association of the Teachers of Singing and regularly studies with vocal coaches and observes master classes to learn more about singing methods and techniques in order to be of further help to her students. She completed her Doctor of Music degree from the University of Indiana, where she minored in Speech and Hearing Sciences, writing a paper on Care of the Professional Voice. In 2006 she studied for four weeks at the Dante Alighieri School in Florence, Italy in order to improve her Italian.
Dr. Taylor is also a remarkable and prolific performer. One of her students notes how her teaching, her studies, and her performance abilities work together: "Her musicianship, intelligence and vocal beauty make every performance of hers captivating and enchanting. Her understanding of human emotion causes her acting ability to be beyond any I have seen, even in New York or Europe. Many performers of this caliber lack the understanding of how to impart their knowledge and abilities onto pupils, but after observing even one lesson with Dr. Taylor it is clear to see that her teaching abilities equal, if not surpass, her gift for entrancing audiences. She understands all aspects of vocal technique, ranging from human anatomy, to the creative ability of suggesting images to picture in order to achieve the desired vocal effect. She also has an incredible command of a variety of languages and of music history."