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Voice and Opera Performance


Voice and opera performance programs teach people to sing solos and perform with groups such as choirs and operas.

In voice and opera programs, students learn skills, including:

Students also study:


Students in voice performance can sometimes choose to focus on a certain type or style of music and presentation, such as musical theater or choral music.


A few community colleges offer associate degree programs in voice and opera performance. An associate degree program at a community college usually takes two years to complete.

Most colleges and universities offer bachelor's degrees in voice and opera performance. A bachelor's degree usually takes about four years of full-time study. Typically, studying voice and opera at the undergraduate level is usually done as a concentration in a general music performance program.

Many universities offer graduate degrees in voice and opera performance. A master’s degree typically requires two years of study beyond a bachelor’s degree. Doctoral (PhD) degree programs usually require two or more years of study beyond the master’s degree.

See schools that offer this program.

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Program Admission

You can prepare for this program by taking courses in high school that prepare you for college. This typically includes four years of English, three years of math, three years of social studies, and two years of science. Some colleges also require two years of a second language.

Private lessons and performing in your community can be valuable preparation as well.

You may also need to submit a recording of your singing or perform a live audition. Some schools also require a personal interview.

Below is a list of high school courses that will help prepare you for this program of study:

Graduate Admissions

Admission to graduate programs is competitive. You need a bachelor's degree, good grades, and a strong record of performance. You also need to submit letters of recommendation and a personal statement.

You should preferably major in music or a music-related field. If not, you should take several courses in music theory, history, and performance. You may have to take an exam in theory and history to determine whether you need to take "make up" courses before you can begin graduate study.

If you're applying to a doctoral degree program, you typically need a master's in voice or opera performance.

Most schools also require you to send in a recording of your singing and perform a live audition. You might be asked to sight-read and prepare a variety of pieces from different periods of music.

Additional requirements at some schools include:

Typical Course Work

Program Courses

In this undergraduate program, you typically take courses such as the following:

Especially as an opera student, you're often encouraged to take courses in a second language - preferably German, Italian, or French. This is because many operas are written in these languages, and when you perform them, you want to understand what you're singing!

You also typically take private or group lessons as part of your curriculum as well.

Also, because this is typically a performance-based major, you usually perform regularly as part of your curriculum. You might perform as a soloist, as part of a musical, or in an opera production.

Graduate Program Courses

Graduate course work tends to vary from program to program. However, the outline of a typical graduate curriculum looks like the following:

Most schools require graduate students in this program to learn a basic repertoire of keyboard music, including composers of different styles and time periods.

You also need to develop reading abilities in one to two languages other than English - usually French, German, or Italian.

Things to Know

Individual courses in voice and opera performance are often available through programs in liberal studies, humanities, or interdisciplinary studies.


East Side Area

Central Washington University

Walla Walla University

Washington State University - Pullman

King-Snohomish Area

Cornish College of the Arts

Seattle Pacific University

Shoreline Community College

University of Washington - Seattle

Spokane Area

Eastern Washington University

Gonzaga University

Whitworth University

Tacoma Area

Pacific Lutheran University

University of Puget Sound

Tri-Cities Area

Columbia Basin College