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Top Vocal and Singing Colleges

When selecting a college or university at which to study singing, one of the first factors to consider is the available degrees. Degrees awarded in voice and vocal performance include the Bachelor of Music (B.M.), Master of Music (M.M.), Doctor of Music Arts (DMA) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.). A student should choose a program based on his or her existing educational background and career ambitions. Advanced degrees in music prepare students for careers as performers and, in some cases, music educators.

Another important consideration for students selecting singing colleges is the size and reputation of the school. Individualized attention and small class size are important for performing arts education programs like singing. The reputation of a singing school and its faculty might also attract students.

Students selecting a college to become singers might consider the career placement services that a school offers. Access to networking opportunities, industry events, performances and industry insiders might help students get a foot in the door. A school's relationship with music, theater and performance companies also could impact a student's decision in choosing a school for singing.

While a degree in singing and voice is not required for a singing career, students in a degree program can learn the technical skills needed by most professional singers. A program in singing and voice includes coursework in music theory, history, conducting and performance. Most programs encourage students to learn a musical instrument in addition to voice, and vocal recitals are usually required to graduate. Those with a degree can work in vocal performance or education.

University of Southern California in Los Angeles
http://www.usc.edu/
University of Southern California (USC) is located in the center of Los Angeles, where students have opportunities to work with organizations like the Los Angeles Opera, the GRAMMY Foundation and the Recording Academy.

USC features undergraduate and graduate-level programs in classical voice and opera. The Bachelor of Music (B.M.) in Vocal Arts program stresses strong technique and offers classes in diction, music theory and conducting. A Master of Music (M.M.) in Vocal Arts program focuses on ensemble, cantata and oratorio, vocal literature, music history and pedagogy. Earning the Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.) in Vocal Arts requires performing four recitals.

Rock, pop, R&B and folk, Latin and country performance are featured in the B.M. in Popular Music program. Coursework includes songwriting, keyboard and harmony. A Bachelor of Arts in Choral and Sacred Music is also available.

Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
http://www.temple.edu/
Temple University, founded in 1884, is located in downtown Philadelphia and houses the Temple Performing Arts Center. The Boyer College of Music and Dance offers the B.M. in Voice Performance and the B.M. in Jazz Voice Performance. The former program focuses on choral music and opera, while the latter centers on jazz studies. Both degree programs prepare students for careers in performance and vocal education. Classes include ensemble, piano, music theory and conducting.

Earning an M.M. in Voice prepares students for professional performance or further doctoral study. Specializations are available in musical style and performance, vocal literature, language and diction skills, acting technique and music theory. The D.M.A. in Voice program is ideal for those who want to further specialize and attain the highest level of skill in vocal performance. Classes include chamber music, music history and pedagogy. Students must perform with an orchestra or perform a major role in an opera to graduate. An M.M. and D.M.A. in Opera are also available.