Bachelor of Music: Voice Performance

Program Overview

The voice performance 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. 

Students will build and demonstrate a healthy vocal technique, become acquainted with voice literature, and develop an understanding of the complex relationships between music and poetry. They will also learn how to sing with correct diction in English, Italian, French and German, as well as to understand both the general meaning and specific nuances of their sung texts.

As they progress in the program, students will integrate musicianship skills and use their increasing understanding of musical structure and form to communicate musically, with stylistic and textual understanding. Students will also build vocal and performance skills that equip them for the demands of solo and ensemble singing.

Curriculum Overview

Every undergraduate must satisfy departmental requirements for graduation. Juries and other tests are conducted periodically for the purpose of evaluating progress; details may be obtained from the Voice Department.

Instruction for voice performance majors entails private lessons, recitals, diction, voice literature, performance/opera classes and voice pedagogy. Weekly studio and performance classes offer regular performing opportunities. Two fully-staged operas, one with orchestra, are presented each year, along with an additional undergraduate-only opera offering. Private vocal coaching is available for upperclassmen and graduate students.

The curriculum has been revised for the class entering in the fall of 2015. Current students may continue to follow their original curriculum, or adopt the new curriculum.

Degree Offered

  • B.M. in Voice Performance

Contact

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

Program Website: www.rider.edu/voice

Associated Department:  Voice Department

Related programs

Faculty

Margaret Cusack (chair) • Professor, Voice, and Chair of Voice and Piano Faculties,  1994. B.M., M.M.T., Oberlin College.
Christopher Arneson • Professor, Voice, 2003. B.A., M.M., Binghamton University; D.M.A., Rutgers University.
Susan S. Ashbaker • Associate Professor, Voice, 2006. B.M., M.M., Southern Illinois University; M.M., University of Illinois.
Lauren Athey-Janka • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Voice. B.M. Boston University, M.M., Westminster Choir College of Rider University.
Dalton Baldwin • Adjunct Professo Emeritus, Piano, 1984. B.A., Oberlin Conservatory.
Victoria Browers • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Voice, 2017. B.M., Ohio Wesleyan University, M.M. Westminster Choir College of Rider University; D.M.A. State University of New York at Stony Brook.
Jay Carter • Assistant Professor, Voice, 2019.  B.M., William Jewell College; M.M., Yale University; D.M.A., University of Missouri-Kansas City
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.
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 of Rider University; M.M., Yale University.
Sean McCarther • Associate 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.
Kathy Kessler Price • Associate Professor, Voice, 2012. B.A., University of Richmond; M.M., University of Maryland; Ph.D., University of Kansas, Lawrence.
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.

Voice Performance Program Requirements

(121-122 credits)

Learn more about General Undergraduate Requirements.

Choirs and Conducting
CR 109Chapel Choir (2 terms)2
CR 209Schola Cantorum (2 terms)2
CR 509Symphonic Choir (4 terms)4
CR 215Fundamentals of Conducting3
Applied Music and Diction
VC 101AVoice Primary (2 terms)4
VC 201AVoice Primary (2 terms)4
VC 301AVoice Primary (2 terms)4
VC 401AVoice Primary (2 terms)4
Piano secondary (4 terms)4
VC 114Introduction to Lyric Diction2
VC 118Italian Diction2
VC 119French Diction2
VC 120German Diction2
Theory and Music History
TH 141
TH 142
TH 241
Musicianship I
and Musicianship II
and Musicianship III
12
Theory level I elective3
Theory level II elective3
TH 342Contemporary Trends3
MH 247
MH 248
Music Historiography I
and Music Historiography II
6
MH 345Music Since 19003
Music history elective3
Professional Studies
VC 191Movement for the Performer2
VC 291The Singing Actor2
VC 305Singing in Italian and French2
or VC 306 Singing in German and English
VC 408Voice Science3
VC 433
VC 434
Song Literature I
and Song Literature II
4
VC 591Performing in Lyric Theater2
Select one of the following:1-2
Opera Workshop
Opera Theater (Role)
Opera Theater (Tech)
Opera Theater (Ensemble)
Arts and Sciences
LL 131English Composition3
Select from:3
Italian I
Italian II
French I
French II
German I
German II
OR3
Italian I
Italian II
French I
French II
French III
French IV
OR3
Italian I
Italian II
German I
German II
German III
German IV
OR3
Italian I
Italian II
Italian III
Italian IV
Select from
French I
French II
OR3
German I
German II
Literature or philosophy elective3
Social/behavioral/natural science elective3
History elective3
Arts & Sciences elective3
Free Electives3
Total Credits121-122

Notes 

Academic Plan of Study

The following educational plan is provided as a sample only.  Rider students who do not declare a major during their freshman year; who change their major; or those who transfer to Rider may follow a different plan to ensure a timely graduation.  Each student, with guidance from his or her academic advisor, will develop a personalized educational plan.

Plan of Study Grid
Year 1
Fall SemesterCredits
VC 101A Voice Primary 2
CR 109 Chapel Choir 1
PI 103 Piano Secondary I 1
VC 114 Introduction to Lyric Diction 2
TH 141 Musicianship I 4
LL 131 English Composition 3
LL 145 Italian I 3
 Semester Credit Hours16
Spring Semester
VC 101A Voice Primary 2
CR 109 Chapel Choir 1
PI 104 Piano Secondary II 1
VC 118 Italian Diction 2
TH 142 Musicianship II 4
VC 191 Movement for the Performer 2
LL 146 Italian II 3
Literature or Philosophy Elective 3
 Semester Credit Hours18
Year 2
Fall Semester
VC 201A Voice Primary 2
CR 209 Schola Cantorum 1
PI 203 Piano Secondary III 1
TH 241 Musicianship III 4
MH 247 Music Historiography I 3
LL 141
French I
or German I
3
VC 291 The Singing Actor 2
 Semester Credit Hours16
Spring Semester
CR 209 Schola Cantorum 1
VC 201A Voice Primary 2
PI 205 Piano Secondary VCPER 1
VC 119
French Diction
or German Diction
2
MH 248 Music Historiography II 3
LL 142
French II
or German II
3
Theory Level I elective 3
 Semester Credit Hours15
Year 3
Fall Semester
VC 301A Voice Primary 2
CR 509 Symphonic Choir 1
CR 215 Fundamentals of Conducting 3
MH 345 Music Since 1900 3
LL 151
German I
or French I
3
VC 591 Performing in Lyric Theater 2
Theory Level II elective 3
 Semester Credit Hours17
Spring Semester
VC 301A Voice Primary 2
CR 509 Symphonic Choir 1
MH 433 Seminar in Music History 3
VC 408 Voice Science 3
VC 120
German Diction
or French Diction
2
TH 342 Contemporary Trends 3
LL 152
German II
or French II
3
Junior Recital  
 Semester Credit Hours17
Year 4
Fall Semester
VC 401A Voice Primary 2
CR 509 Symphonic Choir 1
VC 433 Song Literature I 2
VC 305
Singing in Italian and French
or Singing in German and English
2
Social/Behavioral/Natural Science 3
Arts and Sciences elective 3
Free Electives 3
 Semester Credit Hours16
Spring Semester
VC 401A Voice Primary 2
CR 509 Symphonic Choir 1
VC 434 Song Literature II 2
History Elective 3
Senior Recital  
Select one of the following: 1-2
Opera Workshop  
Opera Theater (Ensemble)  
Opera Theater (Role)  
Opera Theater (Tech)  
 Semester Credit Hours9-10
 Total Credit Hours for Graduation124-125

Courses and Descriptions

VC 001S Applied Voice Studio 0 Credits

VC 101A Voice Primary 2 Credits

VC 101B Voice Primary 1 Credits

VC 101C Voice Elective 2 Credits

VC 101D Voice Elective 1 Credits

VC 101E Voice Primary 2 Credits

VC 101F Voice Primary 1 Credits

VC 101G Voice Primary 2 Credits

VC 103 Voice Secondary 1 Credits

VC 114 Introduction to Lyric Diction 2 Credits

Introduction to the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) and the sounds of all major sung languages through oral and written drill. Open to Voice Performance majors only.

VC 115 English & Italian Diction 2 Credits

Introduction to the rules of singing English and Italian through the use of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) with oral and written drill.

VC 116 French & German Diction 2 Credits

Introduction to the rules of singing French and German through the use of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) with oral and written drill.

Prerequisite(s): VC 115.

VC 118 Italian Diction 2 Credits

Introduction to the rules for singing Italian through the use of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), with oral and written drill. Open to Voice Performance majors only.

Prerequisite(s): VC 114.

VC 119 French Diction 2 Credits

Introduction to the rules for singing French through the use of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), with oral and written drill. Open to Voice Performance majors only.

Prerequisite(s): VC 114.

VC 120 German Diction 2 Credits

Introduction to the rules for singing German through the use of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), with oral and written drill. Open to Voice Performance majors only.

Prerequisite(s): VC 114.

VC 191 Movement for the Performer 2 Credits

Movement exercises and etudes help students develop proper alignment, physical freedom, unification of voice, breath, and body, and help them explore the body as an expressive instrument.

VC 201A Voice Primary 2 Credits

VC 201B Voice Primary 1 Credits

VC 201C Voice Primary 2 Credits

VC 201E Voice Primary 2 Credits

VC 201F Voice Primary 1 Credits

VC 201G Voice Primary 2 Credits

VC 203 Voice Secondary 1 Credits

VC 291 The Singing Actor 2 Credits

The introduction to vocal performance 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.

Prerequisite(s): successful completion of Level I voice jury.

VC 301A Voice Primary 2 Credits

VC 301B Voice Primary 1 Credits

VC 301C Voice Primary 2 Credits

VC 301E Voice Primary 2 Credits

VC 301F Voice Primary 1 Credits

VC 301G Voice Primary 2 Credits

VC 305 Singing in Italian and French 2 Credits

Master class and private coaching in vocal performance of Italian and French language song, recitative and opera arias. The class will focus on pronunciation, inflection and nuances of sung Italian and French.

Prerequisite(s): Successful completion of Level I jury; VC 118, VC 119.

VC 306 Singing in German and English 2 Credits

Master class and private coaching in vocal performance of German and English language song, recitative and opera arias. The class will focus on pronunciation, inflection and nuances of sung German and English.

Prerequisite(s): Successful completion of Level I Jury; VC 120.

VC 401A Voice Primary 2 Credits

VC 401B Voice Primary 1 Credits

VC 401E Voice Primary 2 Credits

VC 401F Voice Primary 1 Credits

VC 401G Voice Primary 2 Credits

VC 408 Voice Science 3 Credits

Study of the physics and physiology of voice production. Musical and vocal acoustics are explored using the facilities of the Westminster Voice Laboratory. Anatomic and physiologic underpinnings of respiration, phonation, articulation, registration and hearing are explored in depth.

VC 433 Song Literature I 2 Credits

A survey of solo literature for voice and accompanying instrument including solo vocal music of the Baroque period and German lieder.

Prerequisite(s): MH 248.

VC 434 Song Literature II 2 Credits

A survey of solo literature for voice and accompanying instrument including French mélodie, songs by nationalist composers, English and American song.

Prerequisite(s): MH 248.

VC 457 Private Coaching 2 Credits

Individual coaching sessions for singers on musical style, interpretation, ensemble, languages, and presentation. Registration for VC 457 involves weekly hour-length lessons and a fee of $1,200. Registration for VC 458 involves weekly half-hour lessons and a fee of $600. May be repeated for credit.

Prerequisite(s): successful completion of Level II.

VC 458 Private Coaching 1 Credits

Individual coaching sessions for singers on musical style, interpretation, ensemble, languages, and presentation. Registration for VC 457 involves weekly hour-length lessons and a fee of $1,200. Registration for VC 458 involves weekly half-hour lessons and a fee of $600. May be repeated for credit.

Prerequisite(s): successful completion of Level II.

VC 467 Private Dramatic/Role Coaching 2 Credits

Individual dramatic coaching sessions for singers on operatic role study and/or audition preparation. Students will provide their own accompanists as needed. Registration for VC 467 involves weekly hour-length lessons and a fee of $1,200. Registration for VC 468 involves weekly half-hour lessons and a fee of $600. May be repeated for credit.

Prerequisite(s): successful completion of Level II.

VC 468 Private Dramatic/Role Coaching 1 Credits

Individual dramatic coaching sessions for singers on operatic role study and/or audition preparation. Students will provide their own accompanists as needed. Registration for VC 467 involves weekly hour-length lessons and a fee of $1,200. Registration for VC 468 involves weekly half-hour lessons and a fee of $600. May be repeated for credit.

Prerequisite(s): successful completion of Level II.

VC 490 Independent Research and Study 1-4 Credits

Students may pursue a special topic for which they have prepared through prior course work. Only one project may be scheduled in a semester. The project may involve 1-4 credit hours. Students may count up to a maximum of 18 independent study hours toward graduation. Approval of the faculty sponsor, department chair, and dean required prior to the first day of the semester in which the project is to be completed. Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 required.

Prerequisite(s): junior or senior standing.