Voice and Opera Degree

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What are Voice and Opera Specialties?

Voice and Opera is a field of study focused on understanding and cultivating an art form in which singers and musicians perform a dramatic work of art.  In a traditional opera, performers use two types of singing: a melodic style known as arias and a speech-inflected style called recitative.

Opera incorporates many of the same types of elements found in a theatre such as acting, costumes, dance, singing, scenery often accompanied by an orchestra or similar ensemble.  In short, a voice and opera degree program prepares students to understand and control the human voice within the context of performing arts as a solo artist or as a member of a cast.  Essential learning objectives of voice and opera include the mastery of diction, expressive movement, voice pedagogy, recital, repertoire, and vocal physiology.

Top Voice and Opera Degrees

Degree programs in voice and opera can be found from a number of top ranked colleges and universities.  Programs may be direct or indirect pathways.  More specifically, a direct degree program is designed specifically for opera and voice while indirect degrees teach the transferrable skills and knowledge needed to continue in that learning domain.  Indirect programs may be found in a course catalog as music performance, music composition, music theory, musicology, and performing arts.

Undergraduate and graduate degrees are available from accredited colleges and universities across the nation.  Voice and opera degree levels include an Associate of Arts (AA) and Bachelor of Arts (BA) to a Maser of Arts (MA) and a PhD tracks.  The undergraduate programs will contain general education courses such as philosophy, history, math, English composition, psychology, and economics.  Core classes in voice will vary from school to school but will generally include courses such as:

  • Musicianship
  • Chamber Choir
  • Fundamentals for the Singing Actor
  • Vocal Pedagogy
  • Chorus
  • Music History
  • Music Recitals
  • Vocal Performance
  • Finance for Musicians
  • Basic Phonetics
  • Advanced Auditions
  • Vocal Physiology

Top colleges offering voice programs focus on developing students in a holistic fashion.  This philosophy goes beyond the traditional focus of just improving your voice.  Colleges understand each student is unique.  Developing vocally is part of your overall intellectual, professional, and artistic growth.  Graduates from both graduate and undergraduate programs will possess the knowledge and skills to launch a career in a variety of artistic sectors.

Skills & Abilities Required for Voice Majors

  1. Active Listening
  2. Writing
  3. Speech Clarity
  4. Oral Expression
  5. Speaking
  6. Instructing
  7. Reading Comprehension
  8. Oral Comprehension
  9. Speech Recognition
  10. Written Comprehension

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Employment Information & Operatic Specializations

For students that earn a college degree in Voice and Opera, there are several fields of specialization that one can pursue.  The options range from musician, singer, actor, teacher, choreographer, music director, music composer, director, and producer to name a few possible career tracks.

Students serious about this field of study can perform research outside academia with organizations such as the National Opera Center of America (NOCA).  Local and regional opera may also appeal to students with examples like  Abilene Opera Association AOA, Virginia Opera (VO), or Sarasota Opera (SO).

Career Outlook Opera & Voice

The job growth in the greater Voice and Opera domain are well above average.  For example, the rate of job growth for actor is expected to rise 10% through 2024 and high school teachers a 7% growth rate is expected during the same period.  Given the broad nature of the Voice and Opera degree, compensation after graduation can vary greatly from career field to career field given prior experience and geographic location.  Related fields include teaching, curriculum design, research, singer, actor, musician, choreographer, music director, theater design, music composer, and music producer.

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Career Summary: Voice opera Major




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