The Bard undergraduate classical vocal program is deeply committed to the development and nurturing of young singers while providing them with the tools they require for a professional career in music or vocational aspirations beyond college.
Studying Classical Vocal Performance
Employing vocal techniques and performance skills used by world-class singers, we educate our students in musical history, theory, languages, movement, and stagecraft. Our voice faculty collaborate in teaching a consistent vocal technique in intensive private lessons. Moderating voice majors additionally benefit from complementary vocal coaching that ensures a diversity of musical perspectives. Together, our priorities are to meet the individual vocal needs of our students and to offer a thoughtful variety of performance experiences.
Performance opportunities include: fully staged opera excerpts with orchestra; recitals in conjunction with moderation and senior projects, performance workshops, and the baroque ensemble; and choral concerts featuring a wide range of repertoire. Students are also encouraged to create their own opportunities by seeking collaboration with their peers. All performance opportunities prioritize a supportive creative environment that encourages students to observe and learn from each other while building their own confidence through practice and experience.
The requirements and recommendations for vocal majors (half these requirements are to be completed by the time of Moderation):
Private lessons every semester for the duration of study with Rufus Müller, Ilka LoMonaco, or Teresa Buchholz
Individual coaching with Erika Switzer or David Sytkowski (sophomores with intent to moderate: second semester only, 30 minutes/week; juniors: 45 minutes/week; seniors: 60 minutes/week)
Performance class for each semester of private lessons (performance classes include Chamber Singers, Baroque Ensemble, Opera Workshop, and the Müller/Switzer Performance Workshop. In some cases, these courses may be audited, but private lessons require registration.)
Both semesters of Pronunciation and Diction for Singers (Music 254A/B)
Three semesters of music theory and music history (includes at least one course at the 300 level or above)
One class in composition, or 4 credits in an approved, equivalent creative course (one 4-credit class in composition or an approved alternative, such as Jazz Improvisation Workshop or Electronic Music Composition)
Juries: Two songs/arias, every semester (excluding final semester for graduating seniors or those preparing a Moderation or Senior Project)
Moderation Project and Senior Project: See dedicated drop-down for more information.
Other suggested complementary courses: Feldenkrais and the Voice; language courses.
Senior Project: Two concerts of approximately 35 to 45 minutes of music each, or one concert of approximately 60 minutes of music that could be comprised of a midway review and final concert. Senior Project Preparation
Students are encouraged to choose repertoire that is meaningful to them and that offers an interesting variety of styles. A common thread or programming theme might assist in guiding repertoire choices, but is not a requirement. Students will choose a faculty member as their senior project advisor to guide them through the process. Faculty are available as resources as students research and curate programs that best suit their voices and creative sensibilities.
Moderation and senior concerts will be performed in the context of our Festival of Voices. While several days will be held for the Festival, it is the student’s responsibility to form a board (consisting of three professors total, including the project advisor) and to confirm a performance time and venue for which all participants (singer/pianist/collaborators) and the board are available to attend. Students are also responsible for booking a dress rehearsal time in consultation with their collaborator(s) and voice teacher. To finalize the moderation or senior project process, students are required to contact their board and organize a time to hold the post-performance board meeting.
Guidelines for Recital Programs and Translations
Here are a few guidelines for recital programs and translation documents for Moderation and Senior projects. We do not have a set format, but we encourage you to create programs that look professional and are ultimately easy to read and follow as an audience member. A few suggestions:
As a general rule, the layout should be clear, concise, easy to read, and look as clean and professional as possible.
Find a way to separate groups of songs so that there isn’t applause between every single piece.
Make sure that you are using a font that is large enough to be easily read by older eyes!
Artwork is fine (please limit your personal photos to the cover page) but just make sure that any artwork or decoration that you include is minimal so as not to distract from the content (and context) of the recital. Any artwork or decoration should enhance the program and relate to the context of the pieces presented.
For translation pages, make sure that you are lining up your text and the translation side by side (see examples). A separate document for translations is preferred so that you can use a larger font and control page breaks. These breaks should fall only between pieces, so that the audience rustle their pages as little as possible during a song or aria.
Program and texts should be ready for review by the advisor a week before the recital.
Please refer to the sample programs linked below for reference. You may use these templates or create something similar.
James Bagwell (chair) – Choral Conducting and History Teresa Buchholz – Classical Voice, Opera Workshop Ilka LoMonaco – Classical Voice, Opera Workshop, Vocal Pedagogy, Feldenkrais and the Voice Rufus Müller – Classical Voice, Opera Workshop, Performance Class Erika Switzer – Vocal Coaching, Diction, Collaborative Piano David Sytkowski – Vocal Coaching, Opera Workshop Music Director, Collaborative Piano