A number of public and private colleges and universities, as well as music conservatories, offer vocal performance degree programs for those who wish to become professional singers. Programs at liberal arts colleges and universities are generally housed within the music department and lead to degrees in music with an emphasis in vocal performance.
Schools with Vocal Performance Programs
The following schools, mostly private institutions, offer vocal performance programs at various degree levels.
|University/College||Location||Institution Type||Degrees Offered||Tuition and Fees (2015-2016, In-State)*|
|Anderson University||Anderson, IN||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Bachelor's||$27,680 (undergrad)|
|Belmont University||Nashville, TN||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Bachelor's, Master's||$30,000 (undergrad)
|Boston University||Boston, MA||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Diploma, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate||$48,436 (undergrad)
|Drake University||Des Moines, IA||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Bachelor's||$33,696 (undergrad)|
|Florida State University||Tallahassee, FL||4-year, Public||Bachelor's, Master's, Doctorate||$6,507 (undergrad, in-state)
$11,543 (graduate, in-state)
|Lee University||Cleveland, TN||4-year, Private||Bachelor's, Master's||$15,000 (undergrad)
|North Park University||Chicago, IL||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Master's||$12,708 (graduate)|
|Oakland University||Rochester Hills, MI||4-year, Public||Graduate Certificate, Bachelor's, Master's||$11,344 (undergrad, in-state)
$15,720 (graduate, in-state)
|Rider University||Lawrenceville, NJ||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Bachelor's, Master's||$38,360 (undergrad)
|Shorter University||Rome, GA||4-year, Private not-for-profit||Bachelor's||$20,846 (undergrad)|
Source: *National Center for Education Statistics
School Selection Criteria
As you look for schools with vocal performance degrees, keep these tips in mind.
- Check that schools offering programs in vocal performance are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) to show that they meet industry standards for music education.
- Students studying at accredited programs may find it easier to transfer credits or apply to graduate-level programs.
- Different schools offer instruction in different types of singing. Some programs specialize in training professional opera singers, and will not accept students who favor popular music or musical theater, while others accommodate a wide range of styles, so find one that fits your style.
- Students may also want to look at the non-performance classes offered in the programs, such as those having to do with building one's career.
Bachelor of Music
Some Bachelor of Music (B.M.) programs offer a voice concentration. An audition is typically required for admission, and a second audition may be necessary before being admitted to advanced coursework. A senior recital may be required for graduation. These 4-year programs require coursework in liberal arts, solo and ensemble performance, music history, and music theory.
Diploma in Vocal Performance
Undergraduate diplomas are usually awarded by music conservatories and institutes. These programs involve three years of performance-intensive study with no liberal arts requirements. Students study solo and ensemble techniques and perform in a variety of settings. Undergraduate diplomas may make a student eligible to attend a graduate-level diploma program, but will not qualify them for a master's degree program. Students study diction, stage movement, alexander technique, arias, and vocal technique.
Master of Music
A Master of Music (M.M.) takes two years to complete. Graduation requirements include solo recitals and participation in ensemble performance groups. The curriculum combines group and private instruction with workshops and seminars in relevant topics such as repertory development, diction, acting for singers, and career development.
There are a myriad of music programs available at private and public universities that have vocal performance degrees, often for both undergraduates and graduates. When searching for a program, make sure it's accredited and that it meets your career goals.