The Division of Vocal Studies includes Voice and Oberlin Opera Theater. Students in this division learn from faculty who have impressive performance and academic achievements. They develop students’ talents through courses in technique, performance readiness, linguistic style, staging, set design, and more.

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Our faculty is comprised of outstanding teacher-performers who are devoted primarily to undergraduate education. They maintain rigorous performance schedules yet provide individual instruction and spend generous amounts of time with their students via lessons, coaching, mentoring, and more.

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Every year, between 20 and 30 gifted singers enter degree programs in the conservatory. These students receive instruction from faculty members with impressive performance and academic attainments, and take courses on technique, performance readiness, musicianship, musical style, and linguistic accuracy.

All students take weekly private lessons with a major teacher and participate in studio classes. Vocal studies students also have a wealth of opportunities to perform with the varied student-led and professional ensembles, choirs, a cappella groups, and other musical troupes that give recitals and concerts during the academic year.

Opera Theater courses include character development, body technique, directing, stage management, and more. Students have opportunities to participate in one or both of the annual Opera Theater productions, the Oberlin Summer Theater Festival, and in Opera Scenes presentations.

See More About This Division: Voice

See More About This Division: Opera Theater


Curriculum Overview

Students in the Voice Program take courses in music theory and aural skills each semester until all requirements are met. You will learn the necessary vocal and musicianship techniques to enhance your performance readiness, style, presentation, and speech. Some students coach recital material or explore the French and German Art Song repertoire.

Other performance opportunities include oratorio, lieder, art song, contemporary and early music literatures, and choral music. You might consider joining such vocal music ensembles as the Oberlin College Choir, the Musical Union, and the Collegium Musicum. Voice students also perform regularly in student recitals and present major recitals during their junior and senior years.

Our voice students consistently place in the finals and semifinals in Metropolitan Opera regional and district auditions. They frequently win civic symphony awards and national competitions. Many of our voice students are selected each year to participate in such apprenticeship programs as those sponsored by the Houston, Santa Fe, Minnesota, Michigan, Merola, Zurich, and Metropolitan operas. The conservatory also sponsors brief residencies and master classes, giving students opportunities to work closely with noted musicians. Acclaimed mezzo-soprano Marilyn Horne gives a series of master classes each year through the Marilyn Horne Professorship and Residency. The conservatory hosts a competitive audition to select students for this opportunity.

Students can record, play back, and analyze their vocal performances using sophisticated audio and video equipment in the Otto B. Schoepfle Vocal Arts Laboratory, the first laboratory of its kind to be incorporated into a program of vocal instruction in the United States. Named for an ardent supporter of the conservatory, it features high-tech tools for examination of both the function and the timbre of the artistic singing voice.

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