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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.

Click here for SY18-19 department handbook.


To pay Arts Fees CLICK HERE or text Vocal to 41444.



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
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
AP Music TheoryDupor Georges, Janet PeacheyView Syllabus
CompositionPaul MorganView Syllabus
Concert ChoirSamuel L.E. Bonds, Daphne Dunston-Wharton, Dr. Monique Holmes-Spells, Andrew SmithView Syllabus
DictionDr. Monique Holmes-SpellsView Syllabus
Female EnsembleSylvia TwineView Syllabus
Intro to Sight SingingSamuel L.E. Bonds, Daphne Dunston-Wharton, Brent Gossett, Sylvia TwineView Syllabus
Music CompositionJanet PeacheyView Syllabus
Music History ILynne GrayView Syllabus
Music History I & IIJanet PeacheyView Syllabus
Music History I & IIDaphne Dunston-Wharton, Sylvia TwineView Syllabus
Music Theory & Ear Training IILeslie DeLaine, Denna Purdie, Francis ThompsonView Syllabus
Music Theory IITyra Flotte, Lynne Gray, Heather Haughn, Kieron Irvine, Francis ThompsonView Syllabus
Music Theory IIILynne Gray, Janet PeacheyView Syllabus
Music Theory IVJanet PeacheyView Syllabus
Music Theory IVPaul MorganView Syllabus
Piano Technique & Music Theory IChester Burke Jr., Lynne GrayView Syllabus
Piano Technique & Music Theory IIChester Burke Jr., Lynne GrayView Syllabus
Sight Singing IFrances Fonza, Lester GreenView Syllabus
Sight Singing IIDaphne Dunston-Wharton, Frances Fonza, Brent Gossett, Lester Green, Andrew Smith, Sylvia TwineView Syllabus
Sight Singing IIIAndrew SmithView Syllabus
Vocal TechniqueSamuel L.E. Bonds, Daphne Dunston-Wharton, Dr. Monique Holmes-Spells, Sylvia TwineView Syllabus


Department Chair

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