Teaching is a huge part of my life! I have taught singers for around 20 years, both in the UK and for the last 10 years here in Washington DC. Every singer challenges me to find a way to help them pull out their own unique voice. It is this challenge that intrigues me and gives me much joy when the student feels that they are succeeding and singing with their best voice. My philosophy is that that singing should be fun and enjoyable whilst providing a solid technique using such tools as body mapping techniques, the IPA system and of course my experience as a professional singer. My teaching is based on both the Italian and German schools of singing. It takes around 9 months for a singer to be considered "my" student after regular practice and weekly lessons according to the National Association of Teachers of Singing ( NATS).
I have taught young singers who have moved on to study at prestigious institutions such as Oxford (UK) Cambridge (UK) Royal Academy of Music (UK), Brown, Stanford, Jacobs School of Music, Indiana, Princeton, Cincinatti School of Music, Oberlin School of Music, to name a few.
Other singers work with me having completed their studies and are looking for guidance as young professionals. I am also equally happy to work with enthusiastic choral singers or children who love to sing too. I am currently on faculty at the Children's Chorus of Washington where I teaching voice and work with three choirs as a Teaching Artist at the Washington School for Girls in Anacostia.
Institutions at which I have taught include; American University, Georgetown University, National Cathedral School, St. Albans School, and Wycombe Abbey Girls School (UK).
Masterclasses I have given include at the Kennedy Center for the VSA International Young Soloists Competition and for American University.
Diane has transformed my voice, and what a joy! She has a seemingly bottomless toolbox of well-schooled techniques to help the struggling singer, and a deep well of compassion and good humor to boot. I love working with her, and can’t recommend her highly enough. - Christina Herman
Diane is a gifted voice teacher. Teaching my young daughter, she developed a curriculum that included the right amount of theory, technique and, of course, singing practice. My daughter looked forward to going to her voice class every week, and felt buoyed and inspired when she left. Diane is particularly sensitive to each child's personality and needs and is able to adjust accordingly, making every lesson both fun and musically meaningful. Homeyra
During my six years of training, Ms. Atherton has helped me grow as both a singer and as a person. She has given me the opportunity to expand my repertoire, range, technical ability, and theoretical ability. I have sung a wide variety of repertoire, which includes opera, folksongs, and musical theater songs in a variety of languages. She has helped my improve my vocal technique, and I have been able to achieve new levels of musical ability. Her teaching style allows me to feel comfortable yet challenged, and she always is able to provide insight and advice about my outside-of-lesson vocal activities. Camille Blum, former student at Holton Arms.
"Diane Atherton is a great technician who has completely transformed my voice and I highly recommend her. I grow as a singer in every lesson I have with her, which is something I have never experienced with other teachers" -Mia, BM, Vocal Performance, Catholic University
Btw my voice lasted all the concerts and I never felt hoarse or sick! I couldn't believe it actually. It has to be because of my new singing technique!! MARY, THE WASHINGTON CHORUS
"Diane has used her musical magic to help me improve my singing voice through the right exercises, warm-ups, and performance help. She is an amazing local talent and her gentle, yet skilled approach is wonderful for any age singer" -Catherine, DCPS music teacher and Washington Chorus member
Studio Classes and Concerts
Several times are a year I organize studio classes where singers can perform a song or aria with an accompanist in the company of other like-minded singers. In the studio classes, I work intensively on the finer points of performance including motivation, expression, and integrity. The final concert of the year in the Winter and Spring semesters is a chance to perform memorized songs or arias that have been studied for several months.
Associated Board of the Royal School of Music Exams (ABRSM)
Singers in my studio are given the opportunity to enter these exams. There are both practical and theory exams. There are 8 exams and the practical exams include aural and sight singing skills too. Here is their website for further information: . I generally find that singers who take these exams do better than those that don't as they have something to aim for. The ABRSM is taken in around 100 countries worldwise and is recognized by Universities as a measure of musical ability and achievement, especially if a student reaches grade 8, the highest grade.
Click here to see Summer Opera Workshop for young professionals.
Please do email me at