Welcome to the Vocal Arts Division of TCU!

We are here to assist you on your way to being a better singer, scholar, and citizen. This handbook is meant as a guide to your vocal study at all levels, and explains our policies, requirements, and resources. The entire voice faculty is available to you if you have questions.
We recommend you read this handbook thoroughly, so you know exactly:
• What is required of you and when
• What you may expect of us and when
• How to plan your academic activities
• How to accomplish your requirements and what resources are available to help you do so
• How to address problems and difficulties that may arise

We want nothing for you but success. Success starts with knowing how it all works.
In the 2020-21 academic year at TCU, we will all be dealing with the realities of Covid-19. To ensure you are receiving the best education possible, we are prepared for two different scenarios, which we refer to as “modalities”:

• Modality 1: We are prepared to teach you in person in the traditional way while simultaneously teaching online those who can’t be on campus
• Modality 2: We are prepared to teach you completely remotely should circumstances require it

Both modalities have their benefits and challenges. To honor those differences, each modality will have its own requirements in terms of repertoire assignments, jury fulfillments, sophomore barriers, and public performances. Please read this handbook carefully to make sure you are aware of those differences and are ready to act accordingly. Because of the unpredictable nature of a pandemic, we must be prepared not only for all modalities, but to be nimble and able to jump from one modality to another if need be.

Of the utmost importance is the health and safety of every single one of us—students, faculty, and staff—and we will be taking no unnecessary risks.

That said, we want to be on campus and working in the traditional way just as badly as you do! We will do everything in our power to make that happen.

We are all looking forward to another great year of music at TCU and cannot wait to get started. To those of you who are new to TCU, welcome! To those of you who are returning, welcome back and be sure to check out APPENDIX VIII, which will explain how to complete any requirements left over from Spring 2020. Be sure to check out our brand-new performance center at the TCU Van Cliburn Concert Hall and imagine yourself singing there. It will not be long.

With our best wishes for you and the 2020-21 academic year and GO FROGS,

TCU Vocal Arts Division

Dr. James D. Rodriguez, Assistant Professor of Voice and Voice Pedagogy

Division Chair of Vocal Arts

james.rodriguez@tcu.edu ELH 241, ext. 4572


J. David Brock, Adjunct Faculty in Voice

j.brock@tcu.edu ELH 225, ext. 6621


Marcie Ellen Duplantis, Adjunct Faculty in Voice

m.duplantis@tcu.edu, Foster 004, ext. 7232


Jeremy Hays, Adjunct Faculty in Voice

jeremy.hays@tcu.edu, Foster 004, ext. 7232


Dr. San-ky Kim, Professor of Voice and Opera

s.kim4@tcu.edu ELH 223, ext. 7762


Twyla Robinson, Assistant Professor of Professional Practice in Voice

twyla.robinson@tcu.edu ELH 239, ext. 4575


Dr. Corey Trahan, Interim Director of Opera

corey.trahan@tcu.edu ELH 234A, ext. 6630


Angela Turner Wilson, Associate Professor of Professional Practice in Voice

a.t.wilson@tcu.edu ELH 221, ext. 5765


Audrey Davis-Stanley, Adjunct Faculty in Voice

Audrey.l.davis@tcu.edu, ext. 7602


Nancy Elledge, Adjunct Faculty in Voice

n.elledge@tcu.edu, ELH 129, ext. 6099


Lois Sonnier Hart, Adjunct Faculty in Voice

l.s.hart@tcu.edu ELH 129, ext. 7341


Colleen Mallette, Adjunct Faculty in Voice

cmallette@tcu.edu ELH 309, ext. 6610


Allison Whetsel Ward, Adjunct Faculty in Voice

a.m.whetsel@tcu.edu Jarvis Hall 304, ext. 4956

Dr. Christopher Aspaas, Associate Professor

Director of Choral Activities

c.aspaas@tcu.edu Jarvis Hall 323, ext. 7609


Dr. Marla Ringel, Visiting Lecturer of Music Education

m.ringel@tcu.edu Jarvis Hall 311, ext. 6626


Dr. Amy Stewart, Instructor in Music

a.b.stewart@tcu.edu Jarvis Hall 326, ext. 7179

Dr. Corey Trahan, Interim Director of Opera

corey.trahan@tcu.edu ELH 234A, ext. 6630


Mark Metcalf, Adjunct Faculty in Voice and Opera

m.metcalf@tcu.edu ext. 9789


Stephen Carey, Adjunct Faculty in Opera

s.carey@tcu.edu Secrest-Wible Opera Studio

MUSP 21100—Secondary Voice

Applied lessons for freshman and sophomore students enrolled in:

  • music majors taking voice as a secondary or elective
  • music minors
  • any theater degree
  • non-music degree plans

Division permission required. 1-2 hours credit

MUSP 20110—Lower Division Voice

Applied lessons for freshmen and sophomores enrolled in:

  • BM Vocal Performance
  • BME Vocal Concentration
  • BA Voice

Division permission required.

MUSP 40110—Upper Division Voice

Applied lessons for juniors, seniors, and super-seniors enrolled in:

  • BM Vocal Performance
  • BME Vocal Concentration
  • BA Voice

Division permission required.  Prerequisite:  4 semesters of Lower Division Voice and successful completion of the Sophomore Barrier (See Sophomore Barrier:  Proficiency Exam in Voice.)

MUSP 50210—Artist Diploma Voice

Applied lessons for students in the Artist Diploma certificate plan.  Division permission required

MUSP 60110—Masters Voice

Applied lessons for students enrolled in the MM degree track at any level:  primary, secondary, elective. Division permission required.

MUSP 70110—Doctoral Division Voice

Applied lessons for students enrolled in the DMA degree track at any level:  primary, secondary, elective. Division permission required.

MUSI 20051—Class Voice

Class Voice provides a foundation for beginning singers in a supportive group situation. This class may be repeated and satisfies the requirements of the BFA—Theater/Music Theater concentration and the Voice Minor. No permission required.

MUSP 40110—Upper Division Vocal Coaching

Vocal coaching for students in the BM Vocal Performance degree plan.

Introduction to professional methods used by opera companies and musical theatre. Students will concentrate on in-depth study of details of text and style, ensuring authentic sounding diction and appropriate stylistic interpretation. Repertoire studied will be that assigned by the studio teacher, geared toward Recitals I and II.  While this course has the same course number as Applied Lessons, it is intended to be the 3rd credit hour of Voice as required for the BM Vocal Performance degree plan at the Upper Division level, and will have a different instructor than the Major Teacher.

Concurrent enrollment in MUSP 40110 Upper Division Voice and division permission is required. 1-2 hours credit. Course may be repeated for credit.

Students receive one thirty-minute lesson per week for one credit hour and an hour of instruction per week for two or three credit hours. The number of credit hours is determined by the student’s major:


MUSP 21100—Secondary Voice                                                                                                   1 or 2 hrs
(hours determined by permission of instructor)

MUSP 20110—Lower Division Voice                                                                                           2 hrs

MUSP 40110—Upper Division Voice

                                      BM, BME                                                                                                      2 hrs

                                      BA                                                                                                                  1 hr

MUSP 50210—Artist Diploma Voice                                                                                           1-6 hrs

MUSP 60110—Masters Division Voice

Choral Conducting, Music Education, Elective                                                                          1-2 hrs

Vocal Performance, Vocal Pedagogy                                                                                           2 hrs

MUSP 70110—Doctoral Division Voice

Performance w/ Cognate in Music Theory, History, or Composition                                   3 hrs

Performance w/ Cognate in Vocal Pedagogy                                                                            2 hrs

Composition w/ Cognate in Performance,

Conducting w/ Cognate in Performance, Elective                                                                    1 hr

MUSP 40110—Upper Division Vocal Coaching                                                                         1-2 hrs

Admission to voice study and studio assignment are done by placement audition for majors and non-majors alike. All incoming students enrolled in voice at any level must audition to be assigned a studio teacher. Students who have interrupted enrollment must re-audition for studio acceptance.

Studio Placement Auditions

Fall Semester auditions are held in August on the Sunday immediately preceding the first day of classes. Spring Semester auditions are held in December during voice juries, which take place on the reading days preceding fall semester finals.

*In the event that Covid-19 prevents in-person auditions on this day, placement auditions will occur through video submissions.  You will be contacted well in advance with instructions.

Audition Repertoire

Each student should prepare one solo song to be sung from memory. An accompanist will be provided for these auditions. Studio space is limited. Secondary students should be aware that acceptance is competitive and prepare their audition accordingly.

Studio Assignments

Student requests for a specific teacher will be honored as studio space allows. Studio assignments will be posted on the Voice Division Bulletin Board by the first day of classes. Each student must then contact their studio teacher as soon as possible to arrange a lesson time.  It is the student’s responsibility to make contact.

Studio Change Policy

There is a set of very specific steps a student must follow to change studios in the TCU School of Music, and this policy is department wide.  Failure to follow these steps in their entirety and in the correct order is likely to result in denial of the student’s request.

Full details on the TCU School of Music Studio Change Policy.

Repertoire Requirements: Each student will memorize a minimum of three songs for each hour of voice credit*. In addition, vocal performance and vocal music education majors have repertoire distribution requirements for a specific number of songs in English, Italian, German, French, and Spanish. The student is responsible for maintaining a current repertoire form, copies of which must be presented to the entire voice faculty at the time of the Sophomore Barrier and again the semester before graduation.

* Repertoire requirement number may be reduced by one piece per credit hour in the first semester of study in a new studio. Those students undergoing a Sophomore Barrier will have one additional piece of repertoire assigned 10 days before the jury date.

Repertoire Management: For the entirety of your time at TCU, you are expected to maintain a database of all your learned repertoire. This database helps you keep track of all the different genres, languages, and styles you have covered, and helps you see where you may be lacking in any of those things. You may maintain this database in any format you wish, but Dr. Corey Trahan has created a helpful template should you wish to use it.

Semester Grade: The studio teacher will grade the student on the semester’s work based upon the requirements of the individual studio syllabus. This grade will be averaged at 66% with the student’s jury grade at 34% to determine the final semester grade.

Accompanist: It is the student’s responsibility to provide an accompanist or accompaniments for lessons and juries. TCU School of Music offers a limited number of accompanying students through the collaborative piano program. Contact Professor Michael Bukhman at m.bukhman@tcu.edu if you require financial assistance, or see the official list of TCU-approved accompanists. If we need to move to Modality 2, pre-recorded accompaniments will be required, and you can find a list of good places to get them in the Resources section.

Jury Examinations: Each semester the final examination for studio voice study consists of a jury performed before the voice faculty. All students, regardless of major, must perform a jury. Juries are waived for any student performing a recital after Midterms. Juries are also waived for any student who performs a Major Role after Midterms and has successfully implemented the Role Substitution Policy.

Jury Schedule and Content: Voice juries are held during the University study days preceding semester finals. Jury times are posted one week in advance on the Voice Division Bulletin Board. Students sing one selection of their choice from their semester repertoire. The voice faculty will then request one or more additional selections. Questions regarding text and historical/harmonic context may be asked.

Covid-19 accommodations: Should events related to Covid-19 throw us into Modality 2, juries will be held remotely by submitted video. You will receive detailed instructions well in advance, and it is strongly encouraged that you follow Best Practices for Video Submissions.

Absences: An unexcused absence from the jury examination will result in a failing grade for the semester. Absence due to documented health problems will result in a grade of “I” (incomplete). The “I” grades must be removed within the first 60 days of the semester immediately following or it will become an “F.”

Jury Grading: The student will receive written comments for in-person juries, as well as numerical grades from the faculty panel. The numerical grades will be averaged and combined with the studio grade to determine the final semester grade. Copies of all jury forms will become part of the students’ School of Music file. Juries submitted by video will not receive comments.

Jury Waiver: A student presenting a degree recital or an approved role presentation after midterms is exempt from performing a jury during that semester.

Absences: An unexcused absence from the jury examination will result in a failing grade for the semester. Absence due to documented health problems will result in a grade of “I” (incomplete). The “I” grades must be removed within the first 60 days of the semester immediately following or it will become an “F.”

Students must successfully complete an examination demonstrating an appropriate level of technical, musical, and music literature proficiency for their degree track in order to study at the upper division MUSP 40110 level. This examination usually occurs at the end of the sophomore year. The student will present:

  • jury performance of 3 new repertoire items for every credit hour of enrollment
  • jury performance of an additional song:

– assigned by the studio teacher 10 days before the jury
– of moderate difficulty
– independently prepared
– memorized
– presented in fully committed, communicative performance
– prepared to speak clearly regarding song text and translation, dramatic context, and historical context

  • printed repertoire list of at least 20 songs which are certified as being memorized and representing a variety of musical styles and languages
  • sight reading competence exam during the jury

The Sophomore Barrier is graded by numerical score according to a rubric. Click here to view it.

In the event that Covid-19 necessitates Modality 2, Sophomore Barrier juries will be held by video submissions. Full instructions will be given to you well in advance.

In the event of an unsuccessful Sophomore Barrier, the student will remain in Lower Division Voice and make another attempt within the first 60 days of the next semester. Subsequent failures must be followed by another attempt within 60 in-session days. There is no limit on the number of attempts a student may undergo; however, they will be barred from enrolling in Upper Division Voice until the semester after the successful completion of the Barrier. Due to the curricular requirement of 3-4 semesters of Upper Division Voice for all voice degree tracks, each semester that passes without satisfactory completion of the Barrier will possibly result in the postponement of their graduation date. Extended scholarship funding past the original planned graduation date is not guaranteed, and such extensions are usually reserved for those students completing an unusually heavy or double curriculum.

We recommend, in the strongest terms possible, that any student with multiple failed attempts consider a different major. The Sophomore Barrier is in place as an indicator of viability in one’s chosen musical field. The inability to attain basic proficiencies in the stated areas after multiple attempts indicates the student is not well-suited for their intended career path. The Barrier serves as a protection for the student’s investment—both present and future—of time and capital.

Any student admitted to the BA or BME majors in voice may transfer to the BM track after one year of study and faculty consideration.  The approval of four full-time voice faculty members is required.  The appropriate time to do this is after the student’s jury in the second semester of that year.  It is the student’s responsibility to obtain these approvals. A Request to Transfer Vocal Major form must be completed and submitted to the Chair of Vocal Arts no more than 48 hours after the jury.

It is strongly recommended that any student wishing to transfer vocal majors declare their intent as soon as possible to the faculty members from whom they seek approval, so their work ethic may be closely observed over time.

The University has established both informal and formal procedures that a student may follow when presenting academic and personal grievances. A grievance is defined as any dispute or difference concerning the interpretation or enforcement of any provision of University regulations, policies or procedures or state or federal laws applicable on the campus. Administrators, faculty and students are encouraged in all instances to resolve grievances informally and as promptly as possible. However, formal procedures may be followed when needed. Detailed information about the University educational discipline system is provided in the TCU Student Handbook, available at the beginning of each fall semester.

Individuals who have additional questions about how to gain access to the system may contact the Office of Campus Life at 817.257.7926.

Except for first-semester students, all voice students must perform publicly at least once each semester. Vocal emphasis majors and minors may fulfill this requirement by performing on Vocal Arts Division Recitals, School of Music Recital Hour, Master Classes, in competitions, and by giving a required or elective recital. Certain other performances, approved in advance by the studio teacher, may also fulfill this requirement, please see below. Appropriate dress is required for all performances.  What is listed below is by no means a complete listing of all opportunities in this area.

These classes act as a lab for voice instruction and provide a forum for group instruction and for performances before a small, supportive audience of peers. Students will perform for these classes as scheduled by their voice teacher.  Attendees are expected to form musical judgments about repertoire performed and collaborate with performers toward improvement.

Periodic Master classes with guest artists enhance the learning experience of all voice students, performers and auditors. Students receive University-approved absence from classes to observe and participate in these classes whenever they are held.

During each semester, there will be 2- 4 recitals in which students from all voice studios can perform before their peers in a semi-formal situation. Attendees are expected to form musical judgements about repertoire performed and collaborate with performers toward improvement. Attendance is required for ALL vocal emphasis majors and minors enrolled in studio voice lessons.

Students enrolled in studio voice at all levels are encouraged to prepare and audition for solo performances (including duets, and other solo ensembles) with the TCU choral organizations and Opera Studio. Many opportunities are available.

Each Fall, late in the semester, students compete for the opportunity to sing with the TCU Symphony in the Spring.  The guidelines are as follows:

  • Each division (piano, strings, voice and winds/percussion) will select the students to advance to a final round of competition. The number of finalists is as follows: Piano 2 finalists, Strings: 2 finalists, Voice: 2 finalists; Winds/percussion: 4 finalists.
  • All finalists from each division will compete in the finals, to be judged by an outside jury chaired by the orchestra director. The finals will take place the last week of the Fall semester at a time TBD. The date of the competition will be announced at the beginning of the Fall semester, once the football schedule is available.
  • A winner (or winners) will be chosen at the discretion of the jury to perform with the TCU Symphony during the Spring semester on a date chosen by the orchestra director.
  • All competitors must perform from memory* Pieces should not be longer than 20 minutes and material should be available. Please let us know if the piece is purchasable, or if it is available as a rental, the music rental company, and the price of the rental.
  • Students participating should find an accompanist and be prepared to play the entire concerto/piece.
  • Vocalists performing opera selections must assure that the material chosen is available as excerpts, so the complete opera does not have to be rented.
  • Students, with guidance from applied faculty, must choose a piece that was not performed the previous year.
  • If a student has won the Competition in the previous three years, they may not compete again within that time frame.

*Under special circumstances the applied faculty, in consultation with the orchestra director, might permit the use of music.

Each year NATS chapters and regions host Student Adjudications (also referred to as Student Auditions), an exciting experience where singers perform and receive written feedback about their performances. At these events singers meet and hear other singers, NATS teachers get to know their colleagues better, and everyone has the chance to hear a variety of songs.

Typically, the event begins with a preliminary round, in which students sing only for a panel of adjudicators and perhaps a small audience. Finalists in the adjudications usually perform again for everyone present, and many chapters and regions offer prizes for their winners.

NATS Student Adjudications should not be confused with the NATS Artist Award competition; the NATSAA competition is designed for singers getting ready to launch a professional career, while the Student Adjudications are designed to nurture singers at various levels of voice study.

The idea of the Festival of American Song was conceived by Angela Turner Wilson to promote all genres of American song and its significant living composers. The FAS is typically a two-day event. The first day is divided into three segments, morning rehearsals with the composer, the masterclass with the composer, and a concert featuring the composer’s works with the composer in attendance. The following day features an afternoon concert/discussion with the composer addressing the issues of career, process, collaboration, and inspiration.

Current and former TCU students participate by serving as performers for the concerts and masterclasses, ticket coordinators, ushers, distributing publicity by posting posters or social media, and other administrative duties. Last year’s festival employed 20 TCU students as performers and 3 students as assistants.

Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society was founded in 1918 at Northwestern University and is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies. Through election to membership the Society recognizes those junior, senior and graduate music students who have demonstrated superior achievement in their studies. TCU’s Gamma Epsilon Chapter was chartered on May 6th, 1970 and sponsors an annual Honors Recital as one of the events of Honors Week in the Spring semester.

  • Auditions are usually held in February.
  • Application forms are available from the Music Office or from Dr. Amy Stewart, president of TCU’s chapter of Pi Kappa Lambda.
  • Repertoire and personnel (performers) to be heard in the recital must be the same as heard in the audition. NO substitutions will be allowed.
  • Eligibility
    • Membership in Pi Kappa Lambda is not a requirement.
    • Both music majors and non-majors are eligible to audition.
    • All undergraduate and graduate classifications may audition. Artist Diploma students are not eligible.
    • Undergraduate applicants must be enrolled for at least 12 semester hours of courses.
    • Graduate students must have “full-time” status as determined by the College of Fine Arts Office of Graduate Studies.
    • All applicants must be enrolled for studio lessons in the performance medium of their audition.
    • Except in the case of accompanied solos, all participants must meet the eligibility requirements as stated above. If you have questions regarding the eligibility of any performers, please contact Dr. Amy Stewart (a.b.stewart@tcu.edu)  before submitting your application form.
    • Repertoire Applicants may perform an entire work, a single movement, or a cohesive group of movements, songs, etc.

The total length of performance may not exceed 10 minutes.

TCU School of Music Voice Faculty teach at summer programs around the world and would be delighted for TCU students to attend.

American Institute of Musical Studies (AIMS-Graz)

Orfeo Music Festival

Music Academy International

MusicFest Perugia

BM Vocal Performance majors present a half-recital during their junior year and a full recital during their senior year. BME majors present a half- recital, typically before their student teaching semester. BA students have the option of presenting a recital. MM students present 2 recitals, DMA students present 3 recitals, and AD students present 4 recitals. Other students may elect to give recitals for upper division credit with the approval of the studio teacher. All recitals must contain new repertoire equivalent to a semester’s normal requirements. For example, if enrolled in 2 credit hours of voice, a normal semester’s repertoire requirements would be 6 new pieces. Your recital must reflect that as a minimum, supplemented by repertoire from previous semesters and times. You are certainly welcome to exceed that number.

MM, DMA, and AD students may substitute a Major Role for a portion of their recital requirements. Full details can be found in the section about Role Substitution Policy.

Check the TCU School of Music Student Recital Scheduling Policy for the most recent recital scheduling policies.

B.M. in Voice Performance Junior Recital:

A Junior Recital for the BM in Vocal Performance candidate shall exhibit the student’s knowledge of vocal repertoire in different styles and languages with appropriate technique. No more than 30 minutes of music.

B.M. in Voice Performance Senior Recital

A Senior Recital for BM in Vocal Performance candidates shall exhibit the depth of the student’s knowledge in vocal repertoire and technique. A balanced program, displaying diverse styles and languages is encouraged. However, a major art song cycle by a single composer may replace a large portion of the recital if deemed appropriate. No more than an hour of music.

B.M.E. Vocal Concentration Recital

A Senior Recital for BME in Vocal Concentration shall exhibit the student’s knowledge of vocal repertoire with appropriate technique and contain no more than 30 minutes of music. The program should contain no more than half hour of music, shall include at least three different languages, and show mastery of at least three different historical styles:  1) Baroque and earlier 2) Romantic 3) Twentieth century and later

BA Optional Recital

BA students are not required to give a recital.  Should they choose to perform an optional recital, repertoire requirements are at the discretion of the studio teacher.  All pre-recital hearing requirements apply.

MM & DMA Voice Performance/ Pedagogy and AD Recitals

These recitals shall exhibit the student’s mastery of diverse vocal repertoire and technique and be no more than 60 minutes in length.

Covid-19 Accommodations

Should we end up in Modality 2, all recitals will be given via video live-streaming, with minimum repertoire requirements being reduced to:

  • 6 songs for BME Senior and BM Junior recitals
  • 9 songs and 1 aria for BM Senior recitals
  • Full-length recitals for all MM, DMA, and ADs

These reduced numbers should still present a variety of languages, styles, and historical periods.  Understand these are minimums, to accommodate students whose living and recording situations do not permit more.  You are strongly encouraged to get as close as possible to a full recital—as per the normal requirements—while still maintaining quality of content. 

See:  Best Practices for Video Submissions (Appendix IX)

All recitals for credit will be graded by a Recital Committee of at least three voice faculty members whose participation is solicited by the student prior to the hearing. The recital grade will be calculated by an average of the Committee scores. Any grade lower than “C” requires performance of another recital with at least one group of new material.

All recitals (whether for credit or not) must be pre-approved by the voice faculty at least two weeks before the recital. At the hearing, the student must present:

At least three faculty members must be present to approve a Recital Hearing.
Should circumstances put us into Modality 2, Recital Hearings will be held digitally via pre-recorded video, and the requirements are as follows:

• 4 selections from the recital recorded, from memory
• Full program, notes and translations in TCU program format
• A detailed explanation of the methods that will be used to conform to Best Practices for Video Submissions (Appendix IX), as well as information on which live-streaming platforms will be used
• A detailed explanation of any aspects of presentation that may be special or unique
• Deadline for the submission is 3 weeks before the recital date to give the Vocal Arts Division time to review the material

Any notes and translations to be used at the recital must be presented for approval at the time of the hearing. Poets and translators must be credited. Upon the successful hearing, this document must be immediately edited to reflect faculty suggestions and presented to the Music Office for publication. The Music Office requires two weeks for program production. It is strongly suggested that you submit your finalized program and notes to the Music Office within 24 hours of your successful hearing.

Use of sheet music in recitals is prohibited, except for those works that are traditionally performed on book: chamber music and oratorio ensembles. Oratorio arias, including those with instrumental obbligato, must be performed from memory, as well as any ensemble typically performed in a theatrical setting. No matter the breakdown of repertoire, 75% of the recital must be memorized.

MM, DMA, and AD students are allowed to substitute a major operatic role for recitals. Roles that are appropriate for recital substitution are those which contain at least 25 minutes of actual singing, and a Role Committee is required. However, for each recital replaced by an operatic role, one remaining recital shall contain no more than two operatic arias, and at least one recital credit must be fulfilled by an actual recital.

A Role Substitution Proposal Form must be fully executed no later than 30 days before the performance.

All students may opt-out of recital live streaming if they so choose. The Major Teacher and the Vocal Arts Division reserve the right to cancel live streaming of any performance for any reason at any time.

(MUSI 10100/60100)

Curricular ensemble credit is given for participation in Opera Studio. Scholarship ensemble credit is given at the discretion of the Director of Choral Activities. It is open to all students, regardless of major. Auditions are held periodically for casting purposes; however, audition is not required for participation in Opera Studio. A minimum of 4 semesters is required for all BM Vocal Performance majors. It is also required for students enrolled in MUSI 60162. Techniques for the Singer Actor is also available for the highly motivated singer who would like to study a specific role in its entirety or create an individual project. The culmination of this course is a performance of a portion of the studied role, or presentation of the individual project to the Opera Studio class.

Opera Studio is a combination of fundamental training in stage movement, text analysis, and audition preparation as well as performance opportunities in productions of chamber opera, full- length opera, and scene study presentations. Individual coaching sessions are given by highly qualified professional coach/accompanists. Full productions may be accompanied by the TCU Symphony Orchestra and are presented in Ed Landreth Auditorium, TCU Opera Studio, or other venue.

CLASS TIMES: W: 4:00-6:30 p.m. and F: 2:00-5:30 p.m.

Students must be available during these times for class work, scheduled rehearsals and training sessions. During preparation of productions, students are often called for only a portion of the 6 hours of regularly schedule class time. Singers must also be available for some evening rehearsals during the preparation of the productions (subject to availability) and must also be available for evening rehearsals the six (6) days prior to the opening of each major production.

All TCU students, regardless of classification or major field of academic interest, are eligible and encouraged to become members of the choral organizations. For ensembles requiring an audition, auditions will be scheduled prior to the beginning of classes in the fall and at the end of fall semester for spring. Further audition information about audition requirements and sign-ups can be made by contacting the corresponding conductor for each ensemble.

Concert Chorale (MUSI 10040) Dr. Christopher Aspaas
CLASS TIMES: Monday/Tuesday/Thursday 4:00-5:20 p.m.
Prerequisite: Audition and permission of instructor

University Singers (MUSI 10060) Dr. Sheri Neill
CLASS TIMES: Tuesday/Thursday, 11:00-12:20 p.m.
Prerequisite: Audition and permission of instructor

Frog Corps (MUSI 10140), Dr. Christopher Aspaas
Frog Corps is an ensemble dedicated to performance of quality tenor-bass repertoire.
CLASS TIME: Tuesday 7: 00-8:50pm
No prerequisite

Cantiamo (MUSI 10130) Dr. Sheri Neill
Cantiamo is an ensemble dedicated to performance of quality treble repertoire.
CLASS TIMES: Tuesday/Thursday 2:00-2:50
No prerequisite

Purple, White, and Blues—Vocal Jazz (MUSI 10070) Dr. Amy Stewart
CLASS TIMES: Monday/Wednesday/Friday 12:00-12:50
Prerequisite: Audition and permission of instructor

New Music Ensemble (MUSI 10150)
Dr. Misha Galaganov, coordinator
CLASS TIMES: Meets at the discretion of the advising professor
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor

Collegium Musicum (MUSI 10180)
Dr. Joseph Butler, conductor
CLASS TIMES: Meets Monday/Wednesday/Friday 12:00-12:50, as called
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor

Students often have questions about how to maintain their vocal health, and it is a topic much discussed both in the studio and the vocal pedagogy lab. Specific questions that aren’t answered in your lessons can be referred to Dr. James Rodriguez, Assistant Professor of Voice and Voice Pedagogy, but for more general information, a wealth of resources can be had at the National Center for Voice and Speech website.

Self-Help for Vocal Health
NCVS Frequently Asked Questions
Tips to Keep You Talking
Prescribed Medications and Their Effect on Voice and Speech
Dr. Titze’s Favorite Five Vocal Warm-ups for Singers

Located on the third floor of the Mary Couts Burnett Library, the Music/Media Library houses several thousand scores, print books, CDs and music discipline-related videos. The Music/Media Library and Hamilton Audiovisual Center provide a creative space for musicians to listen to music, watch performances, study scores, write research papers and attend specialized classes.

The Music/Media Library is led by TCU’s music and media Jedi Master Cari Alexander.  She has written a comprehensive guide on what we have, how to find it, and how to use it.  Begin your search with this guide and chances are your search will end with this guide.

Students may bring their own laptop or check out one from the Library Information Commons to obtain internet/computing access for their studies. Computers for the Library Catalog and the numerous music-related reference and streaming databases are available for research. *

Noteworthy print databases include Grove Music Online, RILM Abstracts of Music Literature, Music Periodicals Database and The International Inventory of Musical Sources (RISM). Streaming audio/visual databases include the full gamut of Alexander Street Press products such as Classical Music Online, Opera in Video, and Jazz Music Online, as well as standalone Naxos Music Online, and Met Opera on Demand.  Click here to see the full list of subscription-only music databases TCU offers to students free of charge.  Of particular interest to singers will be access to IPA Source, Met Opera-on-Demand, Music Online: Opera in Video, Naxos Music Library (audio), and Music Online: Classical Scores Library.

TCU students are also eligible for a TexShare card from the TCU Library. A TexShare card allows you to check out books while visiting other TexShare participating libraries.  This allows TCU students to take advantage of the other great music libraries in the Metroplex, such as those at UNT and SMU.

Print books and music scores are in open stacks for browsing. * Audiovisual materials, while in a closed stacks environment, are easily accessible via catalog search and a library call number provided to staff.

The Music/Media Library also houses the archives for the TCU School of Music, beginning in 1949, and the Archives of the Van Cliburn Piano Competition Foundation. Both the Music/Media librarian and the Cliburn archivist/liaison for the School of Dance have offices in the Music/Media Library.

For more information, contact:
Cari Alexander
Music/Media Librarian

*COVID-19 Accommodations:

The Library—all its functions, all its services, and all its materials—require special handling during this time of pandemic.  Check the library guide on Covid-19: Library for the latest details on what’s required to access and use resources.  This information is fluid, so be sure to check back regularly to make sure you are completely up to date.

Classical Vocal Repertoire 
The country’s foremost expert in vocal sheet music, Glendower Jones, owns this store. There is nothing you can come up with that he cannot locate for you. Start your search here, and 99% of the time, it will end here. He offers both print and digital music.

Beethoven & Co
A fine print sheet music house, independently owned and well run.

Sheet Music Plus
Print and digital sheet music.

J.W. Pepper
Good for basic repertoire if you don’t need it quickly.

Hal Leonard
The largest music publisher in the world for both print and digital music, with a large digital learning component for rehearsal tracks and language work. Publishes the Musical Theater Anthologies.

Excellent source for musical theater repertoire in single songs. Digital music is printable, able to be saved as PDFs, and viewable/playable on tablets using their branded app.

IMSLP, also known as the International Music Score Library Project or Petrucci Music Library, was started in 2006. The logo on the main page is a capital letter A. It was taken from the beginning of the very first printed book of music, the Harmonice Musices Odhecaton. It was published in Venice in 1501 by Ottaviano Petrucci, the library’s namesake. The ultimate goal of the IMSLP is to gather all public domain music scores, in addition to the music scores of all contemporary composers (or their estates) who wish to release them to the public free of charge.

Art Song Central
Art Song Central is principally an archive and directory of free, printable sheet music for singers and voice teachers. An emphasis is placed on standard classical and traditional repertoire.


Your Accompanist

Classical piano accompaniments, collections and repertoire mastery tools for singers. 5000 tracks to choose from with instant downloads, allowing you to rehearse immediately. All tracks are performed by a singer-sensitive accompanist, and MP3s are DRM-free: use on any device.

Lyribox Music Store

Lyribox Music Store tools are divided in three different categories:

  • Recordings (high quality accompaniment, vocal line, text recited by a vocal coach)
  • Manuscript (literal and literary translation, biographies (composer, poet, etc.) and digital sheet music available in any key)
  • Videos (accompaniment with scrolling score, vocal line with scrolling sheet music, and audio text with scrolling translation).
  • Tools may be purchased, used with a subscription, or accessed through their branded apps on both Apple and Android products.


Appcompanist gives you full control (tempo, key, direction, rubato, fermata, and melody blend) over thousands of piano accompaniments:  Opera, Art Song, Musical Theater, and over 450 Vocal Exercises (Vaccai, Concone, Marchesi, Garcia, etc.). Available for Apple products only.

Opera Practice Perfect

OPP accompaniments are the played piano part of the piano/vocal score of a complete opera or choral work. The tempi of the accompaniments are matched to a well-known recording of each opera thus providing the nuances of renowned singers following the baton of a world-class conductor. They carry many standard works and can be purchased by the role or complete works.  Available as MP3s or CDs.

Diction and Texts

IPA Source

Online since 2003, IPA Source is the web’s largest library of International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) transcriptions and literal translations of opera arias and art song texts. Now with over 12568 titles.  TCU students have free access to this service through the Music/Media Library at Mary Couts Burnett Library.

Diction Domain

The Domain includes books, websites, recordings, software, fonts and other materials and tools that are of use to singers learning to perform in various languages. The emphasis is on materials and resources of benefit to singers and teachers of vocal diction. A few representative (but in no way exhaustive) resources from related fields of spoken diction and linguistics are also included, in the hope they may provide further leads for vocal diction research.


SingersBabel offers tools to help you learn the meaning and pronunciation of texts found in art songs, oratorios, and secular and sacred choral music. Hear a native speaker reciting the text while seeing the original text, word-for-word English translation, and International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).  They offer an app for Apple products, with promises of an Android app soon.


This site has a huge offering of Russian art songs and arias:  IPA transcriptions, word for word translations, song lyrics read by a native speaker, multimedia online diction manuals, vintage common domain sound recordings, and biographical information.

Hal Leonard Diction Coach Series

All anthologies in the Hal Leonard Diction Coach Series include recorded diction lessons, IPA, and word for word translations. Each piece is recorded twice. In the first version the coach recites the text as an actor would speak it, showing flow of the language and the mood. The second version is a slow, deliberate lesson, allowing time for the student to repeat each line. These language coaches from the Metropolitan Opera and the Juilliard School adapt the “R” in German and French in the slow versions, and are very sensitive to liaisons between word sounds in the musical settings. All Diction Coach Series anthologies include accompaniment tracks.

The Lied, Art Song, and Choral Texts Page

This website houses an extensive, growing archive of texts to 139,718 settings of Lieder and other art songs (Kunstlieder, mélodies, canzoni, романсы, canciones, liederen, canções, sånger, laulua, písně, piosenki, etc.) and other vocal pieces such as choral works, madrigals, and part-songs, in 125 languages, with 27,606 translations to Catalan, English, French, Greek, Italian, Dutch, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and many other languages.

Aria Database

A diverse collection of information on over 1000 operatic arias, includes translations and aria texts.

Art Song Central

Art Song Central provides IPA transcriptions of the free sheet music they offer.





Memorization and Performance Psychology

The Four Stages of Memorization. A top-ranked article by Gerald Klickstein.

Memorization: Psychological Data and Some Practical Tips, by Scott M. Smith.

Read the Preface to Guide to Memorizing Music, by Alfred J. Goodrich (1906).

The Musician’s Way, by Gerald Klickstein (Oxford, 2009; 15th printing, 2019).

Comprehensive guidelines to learn, memorize, and perform.

The Bulletproof Musician, by Dr. Noa Kageyama

What does mental training actually look like? How exactly is practicing for skill and practicing for performance different? How the heck does one manage nerves, or “practice” confidence or focus? Answering such questions is what this blog is about. Taking what researchers have learned, and what great musicians have been saying for decades, and figuring out how to put all of it into action. Both in the practice room, and on stage.

Deliberate Practice, a blog by Jason Haaheim, Principal MET Tympanist

He writes, “’What I’ve learned’ has been unique given my unorthodox path to the MET Orchestra. I was appointed principal timpanist in 2013; prior to that, I worked for 10 years as a senior scientist at a nanotechnology company in Chicago. I double-majored in physics and music as an undergraduate, and earned a master’s degree in electrical engineering. I did not attend a conservatory, nor do I hold a graduate degree in music. But for me, that’s actually been an asset — I feel that I’ve gained unique insight into the mutually-reinforcing realms of science and music, particularly in terms of how to engineer an audition process and what it really means to practice.”

NATS offers a wealth of resources and opportunities for the students of its members, as well as membership to the students themselves by either joining or creating a local SNATS (Student NATS) chapter.

Students of NATS members have access to one of the organization’s most widely recognized activities: Student Auditions. They also have the opportunity, along with members, to compete at a national level through the National Association of Teachers of Singing Artist Awards (NATSAA), the National Music Theater Competition (NMTC), and the National Student Auditions competition.


The National Opera Association promotes excellence in opera education and pedagogy through its support of a diverse community of opera educators and professionals.

NOA holds an annual conference, along with a growing series of regional events, featuring performances, panels, workshops, and other continuing-education opportunities for opera educators, performers, scholars, composers, students, and everyone interested in our craft. Major activities of NOA include the encouragement of young artists and composers through competitions and performance opportunities, sharing resources for collegiate and regional productions, and publication of scholarly articles. Special projects of NOA include The Legacy ProjectSacred in Opera, the Young People’s Opera Project, and the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The owner of YAPTracker writes:

The YAP Tracker website is the brainchild of a technically savvy opera singer and her artistically sensitive computer programmer husband. I, the opera singer and Excel instructor (my “day job”), managed my applications in the past with a standard Excel spreadsheet, but I still found it difficult to stay current with all opportunities.

Having won several competition prizes in the last few years, I decided to expand my already unmanageable list of applications and investigate other competitions to which I could apply. I was surprised by how many were out there; my current system would no longer suffice to keep track.

And thus, YAP Tracker was born. We collaborated with singers of every professional level, from graduate school students to managed professionals, and we came up with what we consider to be a product that will benefit artists at any stage of their career. Our technical team has also paid special attention to those that are less technically able; we believe YAP Tracker to be a very user friendly product with a tremendous depth of features and functions that will continue to grow as we assimilate recommendations from our newest users.

We hope to see you around the YAP Tracker community!

As a member you will enjoy the following benefits:

  • Access to over 3000 audition opportunities published each year. See last year’s breakdown for more details
  • E-mail alerts and reminders for upcoming deadlines
  • Tracking tools including personalized calendar, expense tracking and auditors
  • Notifications when auditions and contracts have been offered to other singers
  • Mobile friendly version

Many of you were affected when TCU made the necessary, sudden shift to remote learning when Covid-19 exploded on the scene.  There were a number of instances where requirements had to be delayed, and Fall 2020 is the time to get those requirements wrapped up.

If you were to complete a Sophomore Barrier:

  • We will be hearing Spring 2020 Sophomore Barriers on
    – August 28, 6:00-10:00 PM
    – August 29, 1:00-5:00 PM
    – Please reserve these dates in your calendars, and you will receive your specific time soon
    – You will be accompanied by either Dr. Michael Bukhman or Igor Parshin
    – Clean and readable scans of your music is due by July 31st
    – You will be given rehearsal time with whomever accompanies you, in PepsiCo Recital Hall for distance and safety purposes
  • Repertoire requirements
    – 4 songs, as agreed upon by you and your Major Teacher
    – 1 song assigned 10 days before your jury
    – To refresh your memory on the details and purposes of the Sophomore Barrier process, please see Sophomore Barrier: Upper Division Proficiency Exam
  • If you had a postponed Recital:
    – If you haven’t rescheduled your recital yet, please contact Nita Ferrell at ferrell@tcu.edu immediately for instructions. All Recital Hearing requirements apply.

The TCU Vocal Arts Division owes a debt of gratitude to Jeannie Miller and Jun Guo for taking the time to provide us with an explanation of the steps they used for successful video creation.  You may see an example of their techniques here.

Jeannie writes:

Process to create Vanilla Ice Cream:

  1. I picked out the song myself and made sure Jun Guo, my pianist collaborator, and I had the same copy of music (same edition and key). We communicated via Facebook Messenger.
  2. I rehearsed the song on my own, making sure to give myself adequate time for the dialogue sections. In order to make sure my timing was correct, I practiced each time using all of my props (notepad, pencil, and later on a pint of ice cream!) Once I felt that I had an appropriate sense of timing, I recorded myself 3 or 4 times on my phone’s voice recorder singing the song acapella with all the dialogue, using props. I listened to all the recordings, picked the best one, and then emailed that recording to Jun.
  3. Jun used that recording to rehearse by playing my acapella recording through a device (I don’t know which device he used) and into his wireless earbuds as he accompanied my recording on his piano. The effect was that he was accompanying me just as if I had been in the same room singing next to him. He recorded a video of himself accompanying my recording, uploaded it to YouTube, and then gave me the link via Facebook Messenger (I believe he made the original accompaniment video public).
  4. Once I had the link, I was able to rehearse with the video, and when I felt confident with the timing, I recorded a couple audio takes on my voice recorder and sent the best one to my TCU vocal coach to go over for our Zoom coaching.
  5. He had a few critiques regarding some of the timing and some of Jun’s stylistic choices, and he recommended that I rerecord another acapella version and send it again to Jun in order to create a new accompaniment. So, we basically recreated steps 2-3.
  6. With the new accompaniment, I staged the scene on my bed and tried to plan out the timing of everything with the new added dimension of singing while sitting on my bed. I played Jun’s YouTube accompaniment track through my desktop computer speakers, video recorded myself a few times using my phone (android), picked out the best video, cropped off the beginning and ending at appropriate places (using my phone’s preinstalled video editing program), and emailed it to David Gately, the opera director, to get his input on the staging. The trickiest part regarding the video recording was figuring out how to start the accompaniment track (which was on my desktop, nowhere near my bed), while getting over to my bed in time to begin the song. In my case, I ended up asking my brother to start the YouTube video and my phone recording for me, so I didn’t have to move all around. In retrospect, I should have just asked Jun to leave me about 10 seconds of empty space at the beginning of his recording, so I would have enough time to get to my place before the song started.
  7. After working with David Gately over Zoom, he gave me the idea to introduce a tub of ice cream into the scenes and gave me some helpful acting ideas, which I incorporated into my practice.
  8. After practicing using David’s staging and acting tips, I made a few more video recordings (step 6) and selected the best one. I cropped the beginning and ending, and emailed this final video to Jun.
  9. Jun used video editing software (no idea what he used) to align both of our videos with respect to the audio, making sure to only use the audio from my finished video. He then spliced both our videos into a dual frame, added captions, and uploaded it to YouTube.

Equipment used:

  • Audio recording: my Samsung Galaxy A20 voice recorder
  • Video Recording: my Samsung Galaxy A20 video camera
  • Process of Video Recording: I leaned my phone up against a small box on my dresser, checking for correct placement and asked dear brother to start/stop audio and video recording for me. He ducked out of the picture, so he wouldn’t be seen or heard. This allowed me to start the recording without having to dart onto my bed in time to start the song.
  • My Lenovo Yoga laptop to meet with people over Zoom and correspond through email
  • Facebook Messenger to communicate with Jun Guo
  • My phone’s editing software to crop the beginning and ending of video appropriately
  • My I-Mac desktop to play Jun’s YouTube accompaniment (the speaker on my desktop is really nice compared to my laptop speaker. That’s why I used my desktop)