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. Through individualized instruction in all contemporary music styles, including jazz, pop, rock, and theater, you will prepare for both studio and performance work on your journey to become a powerful musical leader.
Over the course of the program, you will discover your vocal range and develop your own style on the foundations of the profession's standard technical challenges, including improvisation, reading, and interpretation. You will also receive intensive training in sight-reading, ear-training, and building your repertoire while developing an acute awareness of vocal health. The philosophy of the Voice Department is founded on experimentation: rather than being limited to one style, you will have the opportunity to create an individual musical identity, challenge yourself, improve your skills, and develop your craft.
Through vocal labs, performance studies courses, and ensembles, you will gain diverse experience in a variety of performance contexts. These opportunities will not only help you grow as an artist, but will also help you create the connections with professionals, faculty, and peers that will allow you to succeed as a performer in the field.
Majoring in vocal performance will provide you with nothing less than a full range of musical experience. Instruction in this program is intended to develop high-level vocal skills along with a theoretical, conceptual, and philosophical background in musical knowledge, allowing students to craft a wholly authentic artistic identity.
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 of 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—see the sample curriculum for labs and major 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.