Master of Music: Voice Pedagogy and Performance (Pedagogy Emphasis)

Program Requirements

The voice program seeks to develop the musician by establishing a sound vocal technique and a thorough understanding of the singing voice, its literature and pedagogy. These tools are essential for the study and performance of vocal and choral literature and for training students as solo performers, professional teachers or choral conductors. 

Capitalizing upon undergraduate work, students continue to build and demonstrate healthy vocal technique while deepening their knowledge of voice literature and pedagogy.  Students develop a strong understanding of the complex relationships between music and poetry. 

Curriculum Overview

This voice pedagogy and performance program has two emphases. The pedagogy emphasis entails private lessons, voice literature, opera, vocal pedagogy, supervised student teaching and a full recital.  For students whose undergraduate work has not included a public recital, presentation of a 30-minute recital is required before work on the graduate recital may begin. Weekly coaching classes as well as studio and performance classes offer frequent performance opportunities. Two fully-staged operas, one with orchestra, are presented each year. Private vocal coaching is available (fee is charged).

Each Pedagogy Emphasis student completes a multi-course sequence in Voice Pedagogy, including voice science, methods and teaching, research, and literature.  Four semesters of applied voice study culminate in a graduate recital.

Please see the Voice Handbook for language requirements.

Degree Offered

  • M.M. in Voice Performance and Pedagogy (Pedagogy Track)

Contact

Margaret Cusack, M.M.T.
Professor and Chairperson
Erdman Hall 26
609-921-7100, ext. 8253
mcusack@rider.edu

Program Website: www.rider.edu/wcc
Associated Department:  Department of Piano and Voice

Related Programs

  • Sacred Music
  • Music Education
  • Theory/Composition
  • Music Theatre
  • Piano
  • Organ
  • Voice Pedagogy and Performance (Performance Track)
  • Master of Voice Pedagogy (M.V.P.)

Faculty

Margaret Cusack (chair) • Professor, Voice, and Chair of Voice and Piano Faculties,  1994. B.M., M.M.T., Oberlin College.
Christopher Arneson • Associate Professor, Voice, 2003. B.A., M.M., Binghamton University; D.M.A., Rutgers University.
Susan S. Ashbaker • Adjunct Professor, Voice, 2006. B.M., M.M., Southern Illinois University; M.M., University of Illinois.
Lauren Athey-Janka • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Voice, 2016. B.M., Boston University, M.M., Westminster Choir College of Rider University.
Dalton Baldwin • Adjunct Professor, Piano, 1984. B.A., Oberlin Conservatory.
Tracy Chebra • Adjunct Instructor, Voice, 1995. B.M., M.M., University of North Carolina, Greensboro.
Elem Eley • Professor, Voice, 1987. B.M., Baylor University; M.M., Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
Rochelle Ellis • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Voice, 1995. B.M.E., University of Missouri, Kansas City; M.M.E., Westminster Choir College of Rider University.
Faith Esham • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Voice, 2000. B.A., Columbia Union College; B.M., M.M., The Juilliard School.
Harold Evans • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Voice, 2007. B.S., West Chester State College; M.M, Indiana University.
Thomas Faracco • Associate Professor, Voice. 1983. B.M., M.M., Westminster Choir College.
Theodora Hanslowe • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Voice, 2016. B.A., Cornell University, A.D. Peabody Conservatory.
William Hobbs • Assistant Professor, Voice/Opera, 2011. B.M., University of Colorado; M.M., Eastman School of Music.
Nancy Froysland Hoerl • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Voice, 1995. B.A., Moorhead State University; M.M., Westminster Choir College of Rider University.
Katherine Johnson • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Voice, 2006. B.M., University of Calgary; M.M., Manhattan School of Music.
Rachelle Jonck • Adjunct Associate Professor, Voice, 2007. B.M., University of Stellenbosch (South Africa)
Robin Massie • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Voice, 2008. B.M., Westminster Choir College; M.M., Yale University.
Sean McCarther • Assistant Professor, Voice, 2012.  B.M., Baylor University; M.M., D.M., Indiana University.
Mark Moliterno • Adjunct Associate Professor, Voice, 2005. B.M., M.M., Oberlin College Conservatory of Music.
Carolann Page • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Voice, 2008. B.M., Curtis Institute of Music.
J.J. Penna • Associate Professor, Piano, 1996.  B.M., Binghamton University; D.M.A., University of Michigan.
Kathy Kessler Price • Assistant Professor, Voice, 2012. B.A., University of Richmond; M.M., University of Maryland; Ph.D., University of Kansas, Lawrence.
Laura Brooks Rice • Professor, Voice, 1985. B.M., Georgia Southern College; M.M., Indiana University.
Eric Rieger • Assistant Professor, Voice, 2012.  B.M., Eastman School of Music; M.M., Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama
Debra Scurto-Davis • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Voice, 2004. B.M.E., Evangel College; M.M., Baylor University; S.M., University of Michigan.
Elizabeth Sutton • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Voice, 2005. B.A., Bowling Green State University; M.M., College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati.
Sharon Sweet • Professor, Voice, 1999. B.S., Roberts Wesleyan College; M.M., Ithaca College.
Nova Thomas • Associate Professor, Voice, 2004.  B.M., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; M.M., Indiana University.
Charles J. Walker • Adjunct Instructor, Voice, 1995. B.M., University of Delaware.
Sally Wolf • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Voice, 2001. B.M., Kent State University; Artist Diploma, Curtis Institute of Music.
Amy Zorn • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Voice, 1996. B.M., University of Wisconsin, Madison; M.M., Boston University.

Master of Music: Voice Pedagogy and Performance (Pedagogy Emphasis) Major Requirements

Learn more about General Graduate Requirements.

Major Area
Applied Primary Study
VC 641AVoice Primary (4 terms)8
Voice Science and Pedagogy
VC 723Voice Ped I: Voice Science3
VC 724Voice Ped II: Methods3
VC 725Voice Ped III:Tchng Practicum3
VC 726Voice Research3
Performance
Select one of the following:1-3
Performing in Lyric Theater
Opera Workshop
Opera Theater
Grad Voice Rep:Italian/French
Grad Voice Rep:German/English
The Singing Actor: Opera
Opera Auditions: Prep & Tech
Spec Topics in Voice Perf Prac
Literature
VC 722Literature for Teaching3
Select one of the following:
Seminar in Song Literature
German Lieder
French Melodie
Select one of the following:
Oratorio Solo Literature
Opera Literature I
Opera Literature II
Seminar in Opera Literature
Seminar in Song Literature
German Lieder
French Melodie
Core
MH 731Intro to Musicology3
CR 509Symphonic Choir (2 terms)2
Theory or Music History elective (1 graduate level course)3
Core elective (1 course) 23
Total Credits34-37
1

Students are strongly encouraged to take VC 730 as an elective if they have not already selected this as a “Performance” course.

2

The core elective must be a single, 3-credit graduate-level course outside the student’s major area, area of emphasis and/or area of applied study.

3

Prior to graduation, students must complete at least one year of undergraduate-level study in two of the three major European singing languages (Italian, German and French). Students must earn a minimum grade of “C” in these courses. Grades of “C-“ or below are not accepted.

4

Students are required to present a public recital following approval by the department.

Plan of Study Grid
Year 1
Fall SemesterCredits
VC 641A Voice Primary 2
VC 723 Voice Ped I: Voice Science 3
CR 509 Symphonic Choir 1
MH 731 Intro to Musicology 3
VC 591 Performing in Lyric Theater (VC 591 is suggested as a performance elective) 2
VC 661 German Lieder 3
 Semester Credit Hours14
Spring Semester
VC 724 Voice Ped II: Methods 3
VC 641A Voice Primary 2
CR 509 Symphonic Choir 1
VC 730 The Singing Actor: Opera (VC 730 is recommended as a performance elective) 3
VC 662 French Melodie (or VC 627, VC 628, VC 633 Opera Literature courses, or VC 621 Oratorio Solo Literature) 3
 Semester Credit Hours12
Year 2
Fall Semester
VC 641A Voice Primary 2
VC 725 Voice Ped III:Tchng Practicum 3
VC 722 Literature for Teaching 3
VC 593R Opera Theater (Role) 2
TH 623 Seminar in Music Theory (or MH 733 Seminar in Music History) 3
VC 593 Opera Theater (VC 593 is suggested as a performance elective) 2
 Semester Credit Hours15
Spring Semester
VC 641A Voice Primary 2
VC 726 Voice Research 3
VC 705 Grad Voice Rep:Italian/French (or VC 706 Graduate Voice Repertoire are suggested as performance electives) 1
Core elective (3 credits)  
Oral exam  
Graduate Recital  
 Semester Credit Hours6
 Total Credits47

VC 591 Performing in Lyric Theater 2 Credits

Performing in Lyric Theater offers techniques for the preparation of lyric roles in a theatrical setting. It will develop elements of stagecraft, systematize a process for preparations and exploration, and introduce the working relationship with director and conductor.

Prerequisite(s): Undergraduates, VC 291 and the successful completion of Level II jury, or permission of the Chair.

VC 592 Opera Workshop 2 Credits

Introduction to opera performance. Acting exercises, character development, dramatic exploration and musical coaching culminating in a workshop-format presentation. It is recommended that VC 491 or 691 be taken before this course. This course may be repeated for credit.

Prerequisite(s): Undergraduates, successful completion of the level II voice test or permission of the chair.

VC 593 Opera Theater 2 Credits

This course involves preparation and performance of a role or in the chorus of a fully staged opera production. Open only by audition. May be repeated for credit.

VC 621 Oratorio Solo Literature 3 Credits

A performance course surveying solo and ensemble portions of oratorios, masses, passions, and cantatas from the early Baroque period to the present, with emphasis on appropriate performance techniques for stylistic integrity.

VC 627 Opera Literature I 3 Credits

Study of the development of opera from 1600 through the Napoleonic era (ca. 1815), with emphasis on performance practices, singing styles, libretti, the role of the orchestra, and the historical, political and sociological milieu in which the operas were written.

VC 628 Opera Literature II 3 Credits

Study of the development of opera from the early 19th century to the present, with emphasis on performance practices, singing styles, libretti, the role of the orchestra, and the historical, political and sociological milieu in which the operas were written.

VC 633 Seminar in Opera Literature 3 Credits

An intensive study of an area of opera literature. The specific content of this course will change from semester to semester. Emphasis is placed upon in-depth study of the works of a selected composer or of a specific genre of opera.

VC 635 Seminar in Song Literature 3 Credits

An intensive study of some area of art song history and literature. The specific content of this course will change from semester to semester. Emphasis is placed upon in-depth study of the selected repertoire.

VC 641A Voice Primary 2 Credits

VC 661 German Lieder 3 Credits

This survey of the German Lieder begins with its roots in the 17th and 18th centuries and continues into the 20th century. Classes will involve study of Romanticism, including philosophers and poets of the 18th and 19th centuries who were important for German Lieder. The bulk of the class involves in-depth study of the Lieder of the important composers of the genre: Haydn, Mozart, Schubert, Robert and Clara Schumann, Mendelssohn, Liszt, Brahms, Wolf, Strauss, Mahler, Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern. Class sessions will involve a balance of lecture, discussion, and student performance.

VC 662 French Melodie 3 Credits

This course is designed as a survey of the song literature of France. Students examine works for voice and piano/instruments by Berlioz, Gounod, Saint-Saëns, Bizet, Faure, Duparc, Chausson, Debussy, Ravel, Messaien, Milhaud, Poulenc, and others, analyzing their relationship to larger stylistic, social, and musicological trends. Investigation will include matters of prosody, scansion, and compositional organization, with particular attention given to matters of text setting and poetic treatment. Special emphasis will be placed on important French language poets whose literary works serve as the basis for this material. Poets will include Baudelaire, Verlaine, Hugo, Rimbaud, Mallarmé, LaForgue, Maeterlinck, and others. Poetic history and form will be covered as well as important composer/poet partnerships. Class sessions will involve a balance of lecture and discussion. Works by both well-known and lesser-known composers will be included.

VC 705 Grad Voice Rep:Italian/French 1 Credits

This class is a performance seminar focusing on the synthesis of musical line and linguistic inflection. Elements of tonal color, frequency, vowel purity and rhythm will be practiced in each class session as individual students perform selections from the literature. Repeatable for credit only if space is available AND by permission of the Chair.

VC 706 Grad Voice Rep:German/English 1 Credits

This class is a performance seminar focusing on the synthesis of musical line and linguistic inflection. Elements of tonal color, frequency, vowel purity and rhythm will be practiced in each class session as individual students perform selections from the literature. Repeatable forcredit only if space is available AND by permission of the Chair.

VC 723 Voice Ped I: Voice Science 3 Credits

Study of voice anatomy and physiology with concentration on respiration, phonation, articulation, hearing and vocal health. Through hands-on experience in the Westminster Voice Laboratory, students explore the physics of sound, the fundamentals of musical acoustics, and acoustical elements that are unique to the human voice. Priority registration is given to M.V.P. majors and M.M. students majoring in Voice Performance and Pedagogy. Other students may enroll on a space-available basis.

VC 725 Voice Ped III:Tchng Practicum 3 Credits

Communication skills are explored and students develop a systematic approach to studio voice instruction. Each student is assigned at least two voice students (one adult and one teenager) to be taught both inside and outside of class. Emphasis is placed on becoming familiar with all voice classifications and basic vocal literature.

Prerequisite(s): VC 723.

VC 726 Voice Research 3 Credits

Peer reviewed research in voice is evaluated and research methodologies are explored. Class projects include research in historical, qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches.

VC 730 The Singing Actor: Opera 3 Credits

This course entails coaching of selected songs, arias or repertoire from music theater, and techniques for performance preparation through intensive research. A final written project involves a musical and dramatic analysis of all chosen repertoire.

VC 731 Opera Auditions: Prep & Tech 2 Credits

This class will explore the many facets of preparing an audition for an opera role, apprentice program, or competition. At least three to four arias in contrasting styles and languages should be prepared for work in class. Areas to be addressed include vocal and dramatic presentation, networking, resume building, make-up, and photo advice. In coordination with the Office of Career Services, panel discussions with invited guests that will explore specific career-related topics will be scheduled.

Prerequisite(s): permission of the applied instructor.

VC 753 Spec Topics in Voice Perf Prac 3 Credits

Intensive performance coaching and lectures in the form of master classes where performance practice in selected topics will be taught by current faculty or distinguished alumni and specialists in their fields.

Prerequisite(s): permission of the applied instructor.

VC 722 Literature for Teaching 3 Credits

A survey of graduated teaching literature for beginning, intermediate and advanced voice students. Literature will be explored that is particularly well-suited to specific vocal issues (e.g. legato, coloratura, staccato, etc.)

Prerequisite(s): VC 723, VC 724.

VC 724 Voice Ped II: Methods 3 Credits

A comparative study of various pedagogical methods and ideals. A wide range of important historical and contemporary pedagogy treatises is reviewed. Students explore exercises and vocalises for general voice development as well as techniques to address and correct specific vocal problems. Role-playing exercises are used to develop appropriate listening and teaching skills. Class participants begin supervised instruction of a volunteer singing student.

Prerequisite(s): VC 723.