Professor Darryl Taylor looks to mentor students who have the curiosity to go beyond what is required of them. By demanding high levels of performance, he has encouraged undergraduate musicians to discover depths within themselves that they had not previously recognized. Professor Taylor prepares his students to audition successfully for summer music festivals throughout the world, enabling them to take their first steps toward a career in opera or some other musical endeavor. By pushing his students to discover their own abilities, Professor Taylor provides an excellent model for mentoring in the Arts.

1. How did you develop an interest in mentoring undergraduate research or creative projects, and what type of projects have you directed?

I encourage students engaged in classical voice training to pursue the continued polishing of their training, along with beginning essential networking with their colleagues from around the country, and the world. I, myself, was an Young Artist Fellow at the Aspen Music Festival, as a graduate student.

2. What do you look for and what are your expectations of undergraduates you select to conduct research under your guidance?

I expect that students participating in these extra creative activities will have full commitment to achieving their performance goals. That requires fastidious attention to languages, pristine musicianship, and regular flexing and development of their vocal muscle. I also like to see commitment to character development in song/aria singing, and a certain curiosity for going beyond what is simply required of them.

3. Describe your level of engagement and style in mentoring undergraduates.

With me at the Amalfi Coast Music Festival in Vietri sul Mare, many students opt to explore opera roles, strengthen their stage craft skills, and have opportunities for interfacing with the European culture so germane to the standard repertoire they must study as voice majors.

Students deciding to go to other great programs, like the Aspen Music Festival or the Salzburg Program sponsored by the University of Miami, confer with me for selecting the appropriate program. We then determine the most impressive, yet appropriate literature for their audition to these programs, and we work on polishing that audition material to ensure their entrance and scholarship viability. If a student is then selected for an opera role, we prepare that material even in advance of their going to the first rehearsal. It is essential that students participating in this sort of activity always be optimally prepared, giving the best possible impression to a public that may not have engaged with performers from the University of California, Irvine before.

4. In your experience, how have your students improved or benefited as a result of their undergraduate research experience?

Oh yes! The increase of confidence in the students is palpable upon their return to campus. Additionally, students get a sense of where they fit in world of performance, having measured their talents against the best of their peers.

5. What have you learned or benefited from guiding undergraduate research or creative projects?

Iíve learned that people, students especially, will rise to the expectations set for them. Often, Iíve been delighted by how they exceed my exigent standards, finding something in themselves they hadnít previously known existed.

6. What recommendations and advice would you give students embarking on undergraduate research or creative projects?

The world is a very big place, filled with nooks and some wide expanses of uncharted territory. I encourage thinking outside the established parameters of study. In so doing, students can contribute to the broadening of research and our joint understanding of the world around us.

Research Interests: Vocal Music, Baroque and Contemporary Genres, especially American Song. I founded the African American Art Song Alliance in 1997,

Faculty Profile:


Past Faculty Mentors of the Month

Dec. '10 Derek Dunn-Rankin
Nov. '10 Wendy A. Goldberg
Oct. '10 Bernard Choi
Sep. '10 Daniel S. Stokols
Aug. '10 James S. Nowick
Jul. '10 Thomas J. Carew
Jun. '10 Kristen Day
May. '10 Keith Woerpel
Apr. '10 Anshu Agrawal
Mar. '10 Darryl Taylor
Feb. '10 Michael J. Montoya
Jan. '10 Gregory Alan Weiss