Singing Degrees and Training Programs

Find out how you can develop your vocal range and performance techniques through a singing degree program. See what kind of coursework and training you'll complete at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and learn what kind of career options there are for singers. Schools offering Ethnomusicology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Kinds of Singing Degree Programs Are Available?

The most common degree for a singing career is the Bachelor of Music specializing in vocal performance. If you're interested in continuing your education, there are Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts programs available. An audition is generally required for admission to these programs. Due to the technical and hands-on nature of this field, distance learning programs are rare. Some schools offer independent music performance courses online.

Degree Levels Bachelor's, master's, and doctorate degrees
Common Courses Music theory, music history, arrangement, vocal pedagogy, foreign language
Job Outlook (2014-2024) 3% growth for all musicians and singers

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Courses Could I Take?

A bachelor's program establishes the foundation to be able to give vocal lessons, perform solo and with a group and execute various genres of music. Common courses are vocal pedagogy, foreign language, ensemble training, music theory, arranging, diction, sight-reading and music history. You'll develop the skills necessary for understanding harmony, recognizing pitch by ear, performing in front of an audience and breathing properly. Most programs require some sort of piano training along with vocal training.

A master's degree program continues the focus on performance and pedagogy, but may also highlight classical and opera styles. At this level, you may be required to memorize multiple songs in a foreign language. Additionally, you could be required to understand German, Latin, Italian, English or French at a reading level.

Doctoral degree programs generally prolong performance training, but focus on musicology and pedagogy to develop professional teaching skills. The curriculum is typically catered to the students' specialty and areas that need improvement. A comprehensive and dissertation are usually required for graduation.

What Can I Do After My Education?

You could find careers in solo performance, ensemble performance and teaching. If you pursue a career in teaching, your level of education will determine your type of students. A bachelor's degree is necessary if you intend on finding a career as a vocal coach or in basic vocal education. If you want to teach on a university level, a master's or doctoral degree is necessary. You may also be able to find jobs as a singer, songwriter, vocalist, entertainer and choir member.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), musician and singer jobs are expected to increase 3% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). This may be due to previous musicians and singers quitting because it's difficult to make a substantial amount of money. The BLS estimated that the median hourly wage for singers and musicians was $24.16 in 2014.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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