Jan Shapiro

Jan Shapiro is a professor in the Voice Department at Berklee College of Music. She has presented vocal clinics around the country and toured extensively, performing in jazz clubs, hotels, and supper clubs in Chicago, Washington, Atlanta, New York, St. Louis, and Boston. Her latest CD, Back to Basics, features jazz standards with her own unique arrangements.

Shapiro has performed as a studio vocalist, recording advertising jingles, television spots, and demos, including recording with Len Dressler of the Singers Unlimited for the Broadway musical Copperfield. She was the guest vocalist for the Boston Globe Jazz Festival in 1987 and 1990. Before teaching at Berklee, she was a faculty member in the Voice Department at Fontbonne College and in the Jazz Studies department at Southern Illinois University.

In addition to singing, Shapiro plays flute, electric bass, piano and keyboards, as well as percussion. She composed the score "Tales of Toyland" for a children's production of Bob Kramer's Marionettes of Saint Louis, which toured nationally. She began her music studies at the Saint Louis Institute of Music. She received her bachelor's degree, graduating cum laude, from Howard University, and her master's degree from Cambridge College.

  • Career Highlights
    • Former Berklee Voice Department Chair, 1997–2010
    • Vocalist with extensive performance experience in many styles
    • Featured vocalist, Boston Globe Jazz Festival
    • Published author for Charles Scribner & Sons, Oxford Press, International Association for Jazz Education (IAJE) Jazz Research Papers, IAJE Jazz Journal
    • Adjudicator and clinician for IAJE, National Association for Music Education, and National Association of Teachers of Singing
    • Recordings include Back to Basics, Not Commercial, and Read Between the Lines
    • Recipient of National Endowment for the Arts Grant
  • Education
    • Asociate Degree in Nursing Arts, Registered Nurse
    • B.M., Howard University
    • M.Ed., Cambridge College

In Their Own Words

"I teach private lessons, vocal labs, and ensembles. When I teach private lesson students, I teach classical technique and how it applies to contemporary vocal styles. As a teacher, I see myself as a guide to each individual student as they travel down the path of vocal development and their own individual progression. Whether a singer becomes a recognized household name as a recording artist, a full-time performer, a session singer, a backing vocalist, or a singer in a wedding band, I try to prepare all my vocal students for the changing music industry and vocal styles."

"I love the talent, the enthusiasm, the energy, and excitement at Berklee. I am thrilled for the student who has been trying to grasp a particular vocal concept, keeps practicing, and then actually 'hears' what he or she is doing. That's vocal progress! It's like helping a butterfly come out of its cocoon."

"Berklee constantly updates itself. It's on the cutting edge of music. There is no other school I know of that offers such a diversity of music and styles. Plus, vocalists have the opportunity to take courses in the music business, film scoring, music production, and more. And they get to study with some of the most talented and experienced faculty in the world. A singer cannot get that—all in one place—anywhere else."