Voice Courses

The courses at Berklee are continually reviewed and evaluated so that they are up-to-date and consistently reflect today's musical needs. In classes such as Survey of Vocal Styles, you will learn about the development of the jazz blues vocalist, analyze major artists, and perform using techniques and styles from 1890 to the present. Take a look at some of the courses you can take during your Berklee education.

Dance Styles for Singers

Course Number
DANV-111
Credits
1
Course Chair
Anne Peckham
Semesters Offered
Fall, Spring, Summer
Required Of
None
Electable By
All
Prerequisites
None
Department
VOICE
Location
Boston Campus
Description

This course focuses on development and execution of dance and movement skills as they relate to vocal performance. It is an introductory level course meant to expose musicians to a wide variety of movement styles used for stage and video performance. During the semester, students participate in physical conditioning to improve strength and flexibility, practice applicable dance techniques rooted in jazz, musical theater, popular, and social dance, and learn and create multiple pieces of choreography in order to improve dance and performance ability and confidence on stage, in rehearsals, and at auditions. Outside of class, students are required to practice conditioning exercises and choreography, research dance styles and history, and keep a journal of practice time and reflections. The course requires physical commitment and focus. Students are evaluated through weekly class participation; memorization, performance, and creation of choreography; demonstrated outside practice; a graded midterm and final project; and through discussion, presentations, and practice/reflection journal. There is a strong focus on using dance as a method of enhancing—not distracting from—vocal performance. Students will gain a better understanding of how dance and choreography create and bring performances to life.

Beginner Barre for Musicians

Course Number
DANV-113
Credits
1
Course Chair
Anne Peckham
Semesters Offered
Fall, Spring
Required Of
None
Electable By
All
Prerequisites
None
Department
VOICE
Location
Boston Campus
Description

In this class, students will gain strength and knowledge of their bodies through barre movements and ballet positions, as well as yoga postures and Pilates movements, all set to contemporary music. Vocal warmups, proper ballet postures, and breath technique will be incorporated into each session. Core strength training and proper alignment and movement will help the singer achieve a supported, relaxed sound and performance. Students will be expected to perform barre method techniques while singing by the end the semester. They will create their own series individually and teach their series at the barre to fellow classmates.

Musical Theater Dance Workshop

Course Number
DANV-311
Credits
1
Course Chair
Anne Peckham
Semesters Offered
Fall, Spring, Summer
Required Of
None
Electable By
All
Prerequisites
None
Department
VOICE
Location
Boston Campus
Description

This course focuses on development and execution of dance and performance skills as they relate to musical theater dance style and using dance as a method of storytelling as it relates to musical theater. Students gain a better understanding of how dance and choreography create and bring dramatic elements to life. Students participate in physical conditioning to improve strength and flexibility, practice applicable dance techniques rooted in ballet, jazz, and social dance, and learn multiple pieces of choreography in order to fast-track dance performance ability and confidence on stage, in rehearsals, and at auditions. Outside of class, students are required to practice conditioning exercises and choreography, research dance styles and history, and keep a journal of practice time and reflections. The course requires full commitment and focus. While not considered an advanced course in terms of prerequisites, this course has advanced expectations. Students are evaluated through weekly class participation, memorization and performance of choreography, demonstrated outside practice, a graded midterm and final project, and through discussion, presentations, and practice/reflection journal.

While recommended as a companion to ENVC-370 Musical Theater Ensemble, this course is open to all interested students.

Concert Choir

Course Number
ENCL-200
Credits
1
Course Chair
Anne Peckham
Semesters Offered
Fall, Spring, Summer
Required Of
None
Electable By
All
Prerequisites
Written approval of course instructor
Department
VOICE
Location
Boston Campus
Description

Large vocal ensemble with emphasis on traditional and contemporary music stretching through a wide range of music genres. In this course, students will participate in weekly rehearsals. Emphasis will be given to stylistic integrity, as well as melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic accuracy. Concert performances during the fall and spring semesters.

Treble Voices Concert Choir

Course Number
ENCL-201
Credits
1
Course Chair
Anne Peckham
Semesters Offered
Fall, Spring
Required Of
None
Electable By
All
Prerequisites
Written approval of course instructor
Department
VOICE
Location
Boston Campus
Description

The Treble Voices Concert Choir is a choral group consisting of 12-40 altos and sopranos. Section assignments are dependent upon voice range and voice color rather than gender. All voice principals and non-voice principals are eligible to audition. Students will learn part-singing, blending, intonation, reading, and memorization through the repertoire, which will range from the standard classical choral repertoire to arrangements of musical theater works. A performance will be scheduled at the end of the semester. Concert attire is gender-neutral.

Rhythm Section Grooves for Vocalists I

Course Number
ENVC-111
Credits
1
Course Chair
Anne Peckham
Semesters Offered
Fall, Spring, Summer
Required Of
None
Electable By
Voice principals
Prerequisites
None
Department
VOICE
Location
Boston Campus
Description
A lab for vocalists that will focus on the basic functions of the rhythm section and how to communicate with a rhythm section in a variety of musical styles. Instruments discussed will include electric and acoustic bass, drums, keyboard, and guitar as well as musical elements of various time-feels and grooves. Class members will have the opportunity to work with a rhythm section.

Vocal Ensemble With Improvisation 1: Jazz/Blues

Course Number
ENVC-122
Credits
1
Course Chair
Anne Peckham
Semesters Offered
Fall, Spring, Summer
Required Of
None
Electable By
Voice principals
Prerequisites
ET-111, PW-111, and ENVC-111; or overall ensemble rating 3
Department
VOICE
Location
Boston Campus
Description

Introductory jazz/blues performance ensemble for voice principals designed to prepare students for solo performance in ensembles and other performing venues within a specific song style. Focus on building jazz repertoire and getting familiar with jazz masters, as well as musicianship, harmony, and sight-reading. Additional focus will be on beginning improvisation skills in the jazz and blues idioms, including melodic and rhythmic phrasing, embellishments, tone color, and hearing basic blues patterns, as well as historical perspective.

Vocal Ensemble With Improvisation 1: R&B

Course Number
ENVC-123
Credits
1
Course Chair
Anne Peckham
Semesters Offered
Fall, Spring, Summer
Required Of
None
Electable By
Voice principals
Prerequisites
ET-111, PW-111, and ENVC-111; or overall ensemble rating 3
Department
VOICE
Location
Boston Campus
Description

Introductory R&B performance ensemble for voice principals designed to prepare students for solo performance in ensembles and other performing venues within a specific song style. Vocalists will learn how to count off tempos of songs, microphone technique, song style and groove, communication with the accompanist, and lead sheet preparation. Additional focus will be on beginning improvisation skills in the R&B idiom, including melodic and rhythmic phrasing, embellishments, tone color, and hearing basic blues patterns.

Pop/Rock/Country Vocal Ensemble with Background Vocals

Course Number
ENVC-124
Credits
1
Course Chair
Anne Peckham
Semesters Offered
Fall, Spring, Summer
Required Of
None
Electable By
Voice principals
Prerequisites
None
Department
VOICE
Location
Boston Campus
Description
Introductory pop/rock/country performance ensemble for voice principals designed to prepare students for solo performance in ensembles and other performing venues within a specific song style. Vocalists will learn how to count off tempos of songs, microphone technique, song style, and groove communication with the accompanist and lead sheet preparation.

Circle Song Choir

Course Number
ENVC-132
Credits
1
Course Chair
Anne Peckham
Semesters Offered
Fall, Spring
Required Of
None
Electable By
Voice principals
Prerequisites
None
Department
VOICE
Location
Boston Campus
Description

The voice can be used as a paint brush to create visual textures that elicit a visual and emotional experience for the listener. This performance and recording ensemble is designed to help each participant explore the art of composed and improvised vocal expression, including instrumental singing and vocal improvisation. Students will learn how to use their entire body as a performance instrument; explore the art of vocal and body percussion; and discover a renewed sense of freedom to discover his or her own style of vocal expression and improvisation.

Vocal Improvisation Ensemble 1: Mixed Styles

Course Number
ENVC-141
Credits
1
Course Chair
Anne Peckham
Semesters Offered
Fall, Spring, Summer
Required Of
None
Electable By
Voice principals
Prerequisites
ET-111, PW-111, and ENVC-111; or overall ensemble rating 3
Department
VOICE
Location
Boston Campus
Description

An ensemble for vocalists focusing on basic skills in improvisation in a variety of styles. Melodic and rhythmic phrasing embellishments using tone colors and hearing basic blues patterns in vocal styles including pop, rock, R&B, and jazz.

Musical Theater Concert Ensemble

Course Number
ENVC-175
Credits
2
Course Chair
Phil Lima
Semesters Offered
Summer
Required Of
None
Electable By
All
Prerequisites
None
Department
VOICE
Location
Boston Campus
Description

This course is a concert performance exploration of the history of musical theater and the performance of classic musicals during the golden era of Broadway. The Musical Theatre Concert Ensemble performs a review of one full concert version of a classic Broadway show featuring: 13+ singers, two conductors, orchestral arrangers, 15 to 25-piece orchestra, stage manager, orchestra manager/librarian, and a recording engineer working in collaboration. This course focuses on understanding and performing a review of classic Broadway musical theater works in the professional setting. During the semester, students who have auditioned and been cast in the course learn how to create and develop a character in the context of a concert revue performance. Students are required to learn and memorize the songs and scenes from the piece, analyze the score, and perform in front of a live audience. Students are evaluated through weekly song performances and quartet quizzes (on harmonies), a graded mid-term on the score including singing test, scene acting, and a final performance in concert style (i.e. without props, costumes, etc.). There is a focus on the analysis of music and lyrics of the songs in these classic musical theater pieces. The focus begins with basic stage terminology and works toward creating a more detailed connection between analysis and performance. Students gain a better understanding of how classic theater songs create and bring dramatic elements to life.

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