Melissa Foster, Northwestern University

Melissa Foster is an educator, voice specialist, theatre artist, researcher, and speaker. As a voice teacher, she specializes in musical theatre, pop styles, the history and performance of hip-hop, and opera/musical theatre crossover.

Foster is Associate Professor of Instruction in the Musical Theatre area of the Department of Theatre at Northwestern University. She is on faculty for The CCM Vocal Pedagogy Institute with a focus on “Teaching Pop Styles,” she is a rap and R&B coach for Rock the Audition, and she is a resident vocal consultant for the Lyric Opera of Chicago. She has also been guest faculty for Broadway Breakthru, IHSTA, Stagelighter, The Cherubs Program, and she serves as artist in residence for the ArtsLink Foundation.

Foster has taught countless masterclasses and workshops around the world. Highlights include a co-taught, live-streamed Masterclass with world renowned opera legend, Renee Fleming. Foster’s Presentation of “Rocking the Singing Boat: Pop, Rock, Singer Songwriter, Folk, Country and R&B Styles” has been seen in numerous venues nationwide — most recently in San Francisco, South Bend, New York, Chicago, Palo Alto and Birmingham. Upcoming guest lectures include multiple universities including Temple, Goshen, Samford, and Oakland. This summer, Foster is presenting at the National conference for the National Association of Teachers of Singing with a 4-hour featured workshop on Hip-Hop and Accessibility.  Internationally, Foster is a Visiting Artist and Master Technician for a coalition of institutions and universities in Xi’an, China, Guangzhou, China, and Hong Kong. She is the Chair of Voice for the Musical Theatre Educators Alliance and is also on their executive committee.

Currently, Melissa is writing a book entitled “Hip-Hop: Rap and R&B~ A Performers Guide” (release date 2023) (Rowman and Littlefield Publishing). She lives in Chicago with her Husband Matt, and their 9-year-old daughter, Viva.


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