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Vocal Music

"You can cage the singer, but not the song."

- Harry Belafonte

IM-JazzVocalist Theresa WatsonVocal music students receive vocal training in classical style (four years) and are required to take music theory (Sight singing and music reading and writing, four years), a choir (four years chosen from: Female Ensemble, Male Ensemble, Jazz Vocal Styles, Chamber Singers, Show Choir) and class piano (sometimes combined with music theory). Electives include Opera Workshop, Dance Orientation, Introduction to Acting, Songwriting, Music Composition, Music Technology, Music History, and African-American Music History. Students are required to attend elective classes as chosen or assigned.  Students perform occasionally as soloists (as designated by their teachers) on recitals, and if they demonstrate excellence in their semester jury, on Honors Recitals, and prepare a solo recital in the senior year.

Students majoring in Vocal Music at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts study the following five major components of the discipline:

  • Vocal Technique: The how-to of breath management, tone, vowel placement, diction in English and other languages, physical technique, stage deportment, vocal health, etc.
  • Performance: Stage presence, auditioning, musical style
  • Music theory: Reading and writing musical language
  • Ensemble: Working as part of a group to produce music
  • Piano: The instrument essential for every singer

By practicing each of the above daily, Ellington students learn rigor, cultivating a professionalism that enables them to succeed in virtually any style or situation.

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Curriculum

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4
Vocal Techniques I Vocal Techniques II Vocal Techniques III Vocal Techniques IV/ Opera Workshop
Choir I Choir II Choir III Choir IV
Piano Theory I Piano Theory II Music Theory III Music Theory IV* OR
AP Theory OR
Composition
Intro to Sight Singing Sight Singing I Sight Singing II  Sight Singing III
Electives Electives Electives 

*Electives: Selection options as designated by Vocal Music chair

Online Syllabi

Course Instructor Syllabus
Concert ChoirFrances Fonza, Andrew SmithView Syllabus
Female EnsembleSylvia TwineView Syllabus
Music HistorySylvia TwineView Syllabus
Music History I & IIJanet PeacheyView Syllabus
Sight Singing IIBrent GossettView Syllabus
Vocal Technique I – IVMarquita Cooper, Dr. Monique Holmes-Spells, Xavier Joseph, Sylvia TwineView Syllabus

Department Chair

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