All students at Berklee College of Music study a principal instrument and will ultimately select a major in their second semester. We offer 12 diverse majors; many students choose performance, the largest major at the college.
As a vocalist majoring in performance at Berklee, you will learn the skills, concepts, and methodology required to demonstrate professional-level proficiency on your principal instrument: your voice.
You will complete a performance portfolio, including a juried senior recital, that typifies current professional performance standards. Most students also engage in extracurricular and cocurricular concert performances, and each performance major participates in ensembles and public performances in the college’s recital halls and venues such as the Berklee Performance Center.
As a performance major, you’ll take specialized courses in ear training and harmonic applications designed to develop your improvisational skills; you’ll also participate in classes given by visiting master performers. Through these activities and interactions, you will develop an aesthetic and critical understanding of the meaning of quality performance, and you’ll be able both to define quality using technical and interpretive musical criteria and to apply those criteria to your own work and to that of others.
In addition to your voice courses, additional activities available through the ensemble program may include recording sessions and on- and off-campus concerts, festivals, and tours. All of these experiences will help you develop a sufficient theoretical, conceptual, and philosophical background in the area of vocal performance such that you will be ready to work effectively with others and adapt to changes in the professional music environment.
What Will I Learn?
Upon completion of a major in performance, voice students will:
- apply proper breath management skills to all aspects of vocal performance;
- sing with accurate intonation;
- perform in a variety of contemporary and traditional styles;
- sing with good diction in multiple languages;
- perform in ensembles of varying size, instrumentation, and stylistic orientation;
- synthesize and integrate knowledge of posture, breathing, and vocal production techniques into daily practice routines; and
- improvise in a variety of contemporary and traditional styles.
As an enrolled Berklee College of Music undergraduate student, you will be required to declare a major field of study by your third semester.
You must have a cumulative GPA or 2.7 in your performance courses (private instruction, labs/ensembles, and ear training) and you will be asked to complete an audition/interview through the Voice Department.
Curriculum and Courses
There are 30 credits required for this major. To view the full program of study, which includes core music, liberal arts, and general electives, see sample curriculum for the bachelor's degree.
- IRLE-375: Recital Workshop for Performance Majors (1 credit)
- ILVC-271: Microphones, PA Systems, and the Singer (1 credit)
- PIVC-311: Private Instruction - Voice Level 5 (1 credit)
- PIVC-312: Private Instruction - Voice Level 6 (1 credit)
- PIVC-411: Private Instruction - Voice Level 7 (1 credit)
- PIVC-412: Private Instruction - Voice Level 8 (1 credit)
- PFSS-371: Survey of Vocal Styles (2 credits)
- PSH-XXX: Health and Wellness Courses for Musicians (choose any course with PSH prefix) (2 credits)
- PSVC-425: Advanced Vocal Improvisation Techniques (2 credits)
- RPVC-211: Recital Preparation - Voice Level 3 (1 credit)
- RPVC-212: Recital Preparation - Voice Level 4 (1 credit)
- RPVC-311: Recital Preparation - Voice Level 5 (1 credit)
- RPVC-312: Recital Preparation - Voice Level 6 (1 credit)
- RPVC-411: Recital Preparation - Voice Level 7 (1 credit)
- RPVC-412: Recital Preparation - Voice Level 8 (1 credit)
- ENVC-XXX: Ensembles (choose four) (4 credits)
- 8 credits of approved specified electives
Find Your Voice
The Voice Department at Berklee will widen your range of styles while also helping you focus on your goals as a singer. From jazz and R&B to rock and country to a variety of global styles, you'll find your voice while creating lasting relationships with faculty and peers at the world's largest independent music school and the premier institution for the study of today's music.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Learn about financial aid, scholarships, and others ways of paying for your Berklee education.