Studying Voice at Berklee
At Berklee, you will discover your vocal range and develop your own style. Rather than limiting you to one direction, we encourage you to experiment with all of the styles that interest you so that you can challenge yourself, improve your skills, and develop your craft. We will help you to become a vocalist with a strong musical identity.
You'll achieve a solid foundation in the standard technical challenges of professional performance, including improvisation, reading, and interpretation. You'll also receive intensive training in sight-reading and building repertoire while developing an acute awareness of vocal health.
In your first week at Berklee, you will be given a placement audition by a voice faculty member, and the chair of the department will match you with the teacher best suited to your needs for private instruction. Every student will take at least four semesters of private lessons and must pass a final exam at the end of each semester on the skills learned. Students who select majors other than voice performance may also take private lessons (view a list of private lesson levels required by each major).
Vocal Labs and Performance Studies Courses
Your specialized voice classes bring together vocalists of similar performance levels and provide training in specific aspects of vocal performance. Many of the teaching materials used in these classes are created by the very Berklee faculty who will be teaching you. In addition to the required labs—Sight-Reading Techniques, Elements of Vocal Technique, and Vocal Styles (jazz, pop/rock, and R&B)—the elective labs include:
- American Diction for Singers
- Guitar Accompaniment Skills for the Vocalist
- Microphones, P.A. Systems, and the Singer
- Musical Theater Workshop
- Rehearsal Techniques for Vocalists
- Latin American Music Workshop
- Stage Performance Workshop—Jazz
- Stage Performance Workshop—Rock and Pop
- Studio Techniques for the Lead Singer and Background Vocalist
- Survey of Vocal Styles
- Vocal Improvisation in the Jazz Idiom
- Vocal Lab—Reading 3
- Vocal Skills for the Self-Accompanied Vocalist
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 the history of voice, analyze its present-day challenges, and participate in an in-depth study of styles and techniques.
Through ensembles, you will hone essential performance skills and techniques, broaden your stylistic range, expand your network of musical friends and colleagues, and gain diverse group-playing experience.
Berklee offers an ensemble experience for every entering student. Ensembles are offered in multiple sections for varying levels of ability. You choose the group and style that appeal to you. Your eligibility is determined by ongoing auditions that measure your growth as a performer. This system enables you to move into higher-level ensembles as you develop your skills.
More than 350 ensembles rehearse weekly at Berklee. These ensembles reflect nothing less than a full range of musical expression. Here is a small sample of the many ensembles at the college:
- Vocal Recording Ensemble
- Pop/Rock/Country Vocal Ensemble
- Contemporary Indian Vocal Ensemble
- Eastern Vocal Styles Ensemble
- Vocal Improvisation Ensemble (Jazz, R&B)
- Jazz/Blues Vocal Ensemble
- Celtic Vocal Ensemble