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.

DANV-111

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Anne Peckham
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: None
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: None
Department Code: VOICE
Location: Boston Campus

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.

DANV-311

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Anne Peckham
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: None
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: Concurrent enrollment in ENVC-370
Department Code: VOICE
Location: Boston Campus

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 with instructor permission. 

ENCL-200

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Anne Peckham
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: None
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: Written approval of course instructor
Department Code: VOICE
Location: Boston Campus

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.

ENCL-201

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Anne Peckham
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: Written approval of course instructor
Department Code: VOICE
Location: Boston Campus

The Women's Concert Choir is a choral group consisting of 12-40 women. 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. Voice principals and non-voice principals are eligible to audition.

ENVC-111

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Anne Peckham
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: None
Electable by: Voice principals
Prerequisites: None
Department Code: VOICE
Location: Boston Campus

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.

ENVC-122

1 credit(s)
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 Code: VOICE
Location: Boston Campus

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.

ENVC-123

1 credit(s)
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 Code: VOICE
Location: Boston Campus

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.

ENVC-124

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Anne Peckham
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: None
Electable by: Voice principals
Prerequisites: None
Department Code: VOICE
Location: Boston Campus

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.

ENVC-132

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Anne Peckham
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: Voice principals
Prerequisites: None
Department Code: VOICE
Location: Boston Campus

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.

ENVC-141

1 credit(s)
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 Code: VOICE
Location: Boston Campus

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.

ENVC-212

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Anne Peckham
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: Written approval of course instructor
Department Code: VOICE
Location: Boston Campus

This course will focus on the learning and performing of SATB (soprano, alto, tenor, and bass) traditional American Negro spirituals in the style of such groups as the Fisk Jubilee Singers. The emphasis will be on theatrically performing the stories of American Negro spirituals evolving from the African American experience. Song arrangements and compositions will include John W. Work, Moses Hogan, H.T. Burleigh, and other African American composers.

ENVC-216

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Anne Peckham
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: None
Electable by: Voice principals
Prerequisites: Written approval of course instructor
Department Code: VOICE
Location: Boston Campus

Members of this ensemble study and perform Hindustani and Carnatic classical, semi-classical, folk, Sufi and contemporary Indian music. Students participate in supervised rehearsals for a minimum from four to six hours weekly, and gain experience performing and improvising within the Indian music idiom. Emphasis is given to stylistic integrity and accuracy of Indian melodies and rhythms, often set within a Western harmonic context. While indigenous Indian instruments like tabla, mridangam, bhapang, khartal, sarod, sitar, sarangi, and bansuri are often used in the class, traditional instruments from other cultures like qanun, laouto, hulusi, dizi, suona, duduk, and didgeridoo are not only included, but welcomed. Functioning as a professional band rather than simply an academic class, the ensemble tours internationally, and also releases music videos every semester, with a special emphasis on original student compositions.

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