Best Colleges For Vocal Performance

Given the opportunities to stand and sing in front of others, it’s no surprise that many people decide to major in music performance. The vocal performance is an art form that combines musical and vocal skills. It may not have the same glitz and glamour as playing a guitar or piano, but those who choose to study the voice are among some of the most dedicated musicians. 

The vocal performance is a challenging and rewarding career field, where you get to express your creative side while also tapping into your inner confidence and raw emotion. It’s also one of the most competitive vocations for aspiring music artists because there are so many vocal performance degree programs available today.

To succeed in this field, it’s important to find a school that offers both high-quality education and performance opportunities. The best colleges for vocal performance tend to be smaller institutions with strong art departments and accessible professors.

Vocal School
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Best Colleges for Vocals

This list details some of the top colleges for vocal performance:

1. Berklee College of Music

Berklee College of Music is ranked # 1 on our list due to its outstanding faculty members and excellent academic programs, such as music theory, composition, voice studies, voice training & training in vocal performance & performance skills such as singing and performing.

Berklee College of Music is a private music and art school located in Boston, Massachusetts. Established in 1945, the college is famous for its jazz studies program. Berklee is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. A Bachelor of Music degree is offered in Performance. The Conservatory Department of the college offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in music performance. The goal of the Department of Music is to provide a robust and challenging music curriculum that is designed to prepare students for their future careers. The Department of Music is located in the Berklee Building, which was built in 1972 and designed by architect I.M. Pei. The Berklee Building is home to the college’s recording studios, performance spaces, and music library. 

Additional Information: Tuition cost: $45,822 (Massachusetts residents), $54,906 (out-of-state); Full-time enrollment: 5,833; Degree types: Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate

2. Columbia University

Columbia University is a private research university in New York City, New York. Established in 1754, the university has a strong focus on research and offers degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels. Columbia is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The university comes in second place due to its school-wide commitment to excellence in all departments including music education, education in the arts through the arts as well as language arts through the study of spoken language (SLL). The school has an excellent reputation for teaching innovative methods that help students become proficient musicians by creating a supportive environment where they can express themselves creatively without being judged by their peers or professors. 

The Department of Music was established in 1859 and offered a Bachelor of Music degree in Performance and Composition. The Department of Music strives to provide students with a supportive musical environment that cultivates creativity. The Columbia University School of Music offers a wide range of graduate degree programs in music, from the Ph.D. program in musicology and ethnomusicology to the Master’s Program in Instrumental Composition. Students can also earn a doctorate in music as well as a master’s degree. 

The Department of Music is located in the Dodge Building, which was built in 1910 and designed by architect Edward Tarr. The Dodge Building is home to rehearsal and performance spaces, administrative offices, and faculty studios. 

Additional Information: Tuition cost: $52,300 (New York residents), $62,100 (out-of-state); Full-time enrollment: 6,722; Degree types: Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate

3. Butler University

Butler University is a mid-sized private university located in Indianapolis, Indiana. Established in 1855, Butler’s focus is on undergraduate education, with a strong focus on liberal arts and sciences. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The Department of Music was established in 1935 and offers degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The Department of Music offers Bachelor of Music degrees in Performance, Composition, and Music Education.

The Department’s goal is to provide well-rounded music education and to offer students performance opportunities. The Department of Music is located in the Showers Center for the Performing Arts. The Showers Center is home to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Indiana Ballet, and Indy Jazz Fest. It is also used for various concerts and other performances throughout the year. Being located in the heart of the city of Indianapolis also provides students with the opportunity to be mentored by professional musicians from the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. 

Additional Information: Tuition cost: $33,528 (Indiana residents), $48,938 (out-of-state); Full-time enrollment: 3,804; Degree types: Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate

4. Boston University

Boston University is a large private research university located in Boston, Massachusetts. Established in 1839, the university has a strong liberal arts curriculum and offers degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral levels. BU is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. The Department of Music was established in 1874 and offered a Bachelor of Music, a Master of Music, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degrees. The Department of Music strives to provide its students with a creative environment to explore and create.

The Department of Music is located in the School of Arts and Sciences, which was founded in 1901. The School of Arts and Sciences is home to the BU Arts Initiative, consisting of the departments of theatre arts, music, cinema and media studies, and visual arts. This initiative is designed to provide cross-disciplinary collaboration between these departments and to bridge the gap between the arts and the rest of the university. 

Additional Information: Tuition cost: $43,979 (Massachusetts residents), $56,254 (out-of-state); Full-time enrollment: 10,943; Degree types: Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate

5. Brown University

Brown University is a private research university located in Providence, Rhode Island. Established in 1764, the university has a strong focus on research and offers degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Brown is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. The Department of Music was established in 1872 and offered a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music.

The Department of Music strives to provide students with a vibrant musical community that cultivates creativity and inspires others. The Department of Music is located in the Greene Building, which was built between 1938 and 1939 by architect Ralph Adams Cram. The Greene Building is home to a large recital hall, a smaller recital room, the Department administrative offices, and faculty studios. 

Additional Information: Tuition cost: $50,718 (Massachusetts residents), $63,404 (out-of-state); Full-time enrollment: 5,826; Degree types: Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate

6. Carnegie Mellon University

Carnegie Mellon University is a private research university located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Established in 1900, the university has a strong focus on research and offers degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels. CMU is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The Department of Music was established in 1910 and offered a Bachelor of Music degree in Composition, Performance, and Music Technology and Design.

The Department of Music strives to provide a collaborative and interdisciplinary environment for students to learn and flourish. The Department of Music is located in the University Musical Society Building, which was built in 1931 and designed by architect Henry Hornbostel. 

Additional Information: Tuition cost: $50,418 (Pennsylvania residents), $57,872 (out-of-state); Full-time enrollment: 5,841; Degree types: Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate

7. Cornell University

Cornell University is a private research university located in Ithaca, New York. Established in 1865, the university has a strong focus on research and offers degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The school is located on the New York State Thurgood Marshall College campus at 439 Hamilton Ave., Ithaca, NY 14853, and offers courses through its Music Education Department which focuses on developing musical instruction methods that help students develop sound skills while simultaneously teaching them how to create music using an instrumental ensemble or keyboard ensemble.

Cornell is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. The Department of Music was established in 1874 and offers a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Performance. The Department of Music strives to provide students with an environment that cultivates creativity and inspires people from all walks of life. The Department of Music is located in the Barton Building, which was built in 1926 and designed by architect William L. Wimer.

The Barton Building is home to large rehearsal and performance spaces, administrative offices, and faculty studios. Cornell University has a rich tradition of teaching classical instruments including violins and cellos as well as conducting and percussion instruments like drums and flutes. Still, it also offers a diverse array of higher education options to students who want to pursue careers outside of their field of study. Cornell offers undergraduate degrees in most areas including engineering (EECS), liberal arts (LBA), business (BA), education (MBA), health sciences (HS), and social sciences (BS). 

Additional Information: Tuition cost: $50,866 (New York residents), $58,578 (out-of-state); Full-time enrollment: 6,086; Degree types: Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctorate

8. Duke University

Duke University is a private research university located in Durham, North Carolina. Established in 1838, the university has a strong focus on research and offers degrees at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Duke is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The Department of Music was established in 1917 and offered a Bachelor of Music degree in Performance.

The Department of Music strives to be flexible and provide students with a musical environment that cultivates creativity and inspires others. The Department of Music is located in the Baldwin Building, which was built in 1936 and designed by architect William H. In 1932, the Baldwin Piano Company donated a Steinway concert grand piano to the university as a gift. The Baldwin Building is home to rehearsal and performance spaces, administrative offices, and faculty studios. 

Additional Information: Tuition cost: $52,150 (North Carolina residents), $63,300 (out-of-state); Full-time enrollment: 6,204; Degree types: Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral, Master of Arts, Doctor of Philosophy, and Continuing Education; Degree programs: Music (B.M.M.), Music Education (B.M.E.), Music Therapy (MMT), Pedagogy (MPT), Theory, Composition (TCP)

What You’ll Learn

  • Beyond the basics of singing, vocal performance majors will learn about music theory, composition, and the business of music. Students may also take classes in acting and dance to help them with performance skills.
  • Aspiring vocal performance majors may learn about the anatomy of the singing voice, vocal stylings, and how to improve their skills.
  • Students may learn to sing a variety of styles including classical, jazz, and musical theatre, as well as contemporary pop music. To do this, vocal performance majors will learn how to use their voices and take care of their instruments to prevent injury and damage to their vocal cords.

The Bachelor’s Degree

While some vocalists choose to pursue a bachelor’s degree in music and then move into a master’s program, others enter the industry with a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance. If you’re curious about the career path of a vocal performance major, it’s important to note that you won’t need a master’s degree to enter the field. Vocal performance majors may take classes in vocal technique, and music theory, and learn about the history of different styles of music.

Bachelor’s degree programs in vocal performance take about four years to complete. Many vocal majors also study acting and dance. This allows them to round out their skills and become well-rounded musicians.

Vocal Performance Majors

While some vocalists are trained from a young age, others may have a natural talent for singing. If you’re one of the latter and curious about pursuing a vocal performance degree, you may be wondering which majors are available. Vocal performance majors have a variety of specializations including musical theatre, classical vocal, and jazz vocal.

If you’re still unsure which specialization to pursue, you can also choose general vocal studies and learn a variety of skills. General vocal studies majors learn vocal technique, history, and skills to prepare them for any style they may want to pursue.

Honing your skills in vocal performance school

Aspiring vocalists can hone their skills while attending school through vocal performance programs. Some vocal performance programs can last up to four years, while others may be completed in two years. Vocal performance majors may be required to take a variety of classes, including music theory and history, vocal technique, and improvisation. Other important classes for vocal performance majors include anatomy and physiology, audition skills, and the business of music.

Vocal performance majors should also take care to build their skills outside of the classroom. Engaging in extracurricular activities such as theatre or choirs can help you network and gain valuable experience. You may also want to consider taking on a job as a vocalist to hone your skills and gain hands-on experience.

Other Important Things to Look for in a Vocal Program

Beyond honing your skills and enjoying your major, it’s important to find a vocal program that fits your needs. Some vocal programs may specialize in certain styles while others may be more generalized. While it’s important to find a program you enjoy, it’s also important to find a program where you feel challenged. If you don’t feel challenged or challenged enough, it may be worth pursuing a change of program. A vocal program that offers a challenging curriculum and variety of classes fosters a supportive environment, and has highly rated teachers is worth considering.

How to Pick the Right School?

Choosing a college or university program that best suits your needs and goals is very important, and researching the various programs offered by various schools can be very helpful in making this decision. Looking into the various music programs offered by different schools and universities is the first step toward making a wise decision.

As you begin to narrow down your list of potential vocal performance schools, it’s important to note any shortcomings you find. While a school may offer a great program, it may not be the best fit for your lifestyle or budget. To find the right vocalist program for you, consider the following:

  • Cost and Financing Options
  • How much does the program cost? How can you pay for it?
  • Location – Is the school near your friends and family? Is it in an area where you want to live?
  • Culture – What is the general culture of the school like? Is it a place where you can thrive?
  • Facilities – What type of facilities does the school have? Are they up-to-date and well maintained?
  • Program – What kind of program does the school offer? Are there majors that interest you?
  • Teaching – Who are the teachers at the school? What is their experience?
  • Reputation – What is the reputation of the school? What do others say about it?
  • Extra-curricular Activities – Are there many extra-curricular activities that interest you?
  • Environment – Does the environment of the school feel like a good fit for you?

Choosing the right school is as important as choosing the right major. Not every college or university offers the same quality of education, and each school has its own unique focus and curriculum. The best way to choose a university or college is to research its curriculum and course offerings.

Vocabulary Words for Vocals Students

  • Choral – This refers to singing in a choir.
  • Collaboration – This refers to a group working together to achieve a common goal.
  • Ear Training – This refers to the process of training your ear to know what sounds right and wrong.
  • Harmony – This refers to two or more musical parts playing at the same time.
  • Interlude – This is when someone or something interrupts something.
  • Pitch – This is the highness or lowness of a sound.
  • Pitch Perfect – This is when someone or something is almost perfect.
  • Scat – This is when someone sings about nonsense words.
  • Sight Reading – This is when someone reads something out loud without any preparation.
  • Staccato – This is when someone sings short notes that are not connected.
  • Tempo – This is the speed at which music is played.
  • Vibrato – This is when someone wobbles their voice.
  • Voice- This is the sound that someone makes with their vocal cords.

Conclusion

If you enjoy singing and have always wanted to pursue a career in this field, investing in a vocal performance program can be a great choice. Choosing the right college for vocalists can be a challenge, but if you follow these tips, you may be able to find the right program for you.

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