Vocal Performance

Notre Dame’s fully-funded Master of Sacred Music in Vocal Performance prepares talented and ambitious singers for the diverse portfolio of a 21st century vocal artist, which includes professional solo and choral singing, teaching, and directing, both in the church and on the stage.

Our program pairs exceptional vocal and artistic training with robust emphases on scholarship, service, and community engagement. “The Eight,” as the graduate voice studio octet is known, develop their intellect and artistry via:

  • numerous solo performances
  • advanced studies in oratorio, art song, early and contemporary music
  • graduate courses in musicology, theory, and liturgy
  • optional studies in opera and pedagogy
  • secondary lessons in conducting and keyboard
  • professional choral singing
  • assistantships in the Notre Dame Children’s Choir

Four singers are admitted each year and receive a full-tuition scholarship and stipend for their work as singers in the graduate conducting recital choir and as co-directors of the Notre Dame Children’s Choir. Advanced students may also have the opportunity to teach voice lessons to non-majors.

Graduates are employed across the United States as soloists in oratorio, recital, and opera; professional ensemble singers; choir directors and church musicians; elementary, secondary, and undergraduate teachers. Our students and alumni have been invited to study and perform with organizations such as:

  • American Bach Soloists
  • Amherst Early Music Festival
  • Boston Early Music Festival
  • Carnegie Hall’s “The Song Continues” Program
  • Music Academy of the West
  • Seraphic Fire
  • The Crossing

Workshops and master classes are offered regularly with guest artists and teachers that have included: 

  • New York Polyphony
  • The Tallis Scholars
  • Anthony Dean Griffey
  • Nathan Gunn
  • Graham Johnson
  • David Jones
  • Martin Katz
  • Drew Minter
  • Laura Brooks Rice
  • Arlene Shrut

Academic Courses (24 credit hours)

I. History, Theory & Analysis (12 credit hours minimum)
     A. Music History - choose a minimum of 3                                           
     B. Composition and Theory - choose 1                              
            Theory and Analysis 
            Composition and/or Arranging 
II. Liturgy & Ritual Studies (12 credit hours minimum)                  
     A. Liturgy - choose a minimum of 3   
     B. Ethnomusicology and Ritual Studies/Field Work - choose 1              
            Music and World Culture 
            Music and Ritual Studies 

Practiced Music & Performance (24 credits)

I.  Primary Lessons: Voice (12 credits)
           Includes weekly lesson, coaching, and performance studio class

II. Performance Electives (12 credits)
    A. Primary Electives in Voice (6 credits minimum)
           3 Diction (French, German, Italian/English) 
           Vocal Performance Practice & Literature I (Early-Classical)
           Vocal Performance Practice & Literature II (Romantic-Modern)
           Vocal Pedagogy
           Vocal Chamber Music - "The Eight"
           French Vocal Literature
           Vocal Performance Techniques
    B. Secondary Performance Electives (6 credits minimum)
           Secondary Lessons (Piano, Conducting, Organ)
           Children's Choirs: Methods & Repertory (2 credits, required)
           SMND Ensembles (Repertory & Concordia Choir)

III. Additional Performance Requirements (Not for credit)
           First-year studio recital
           Second-year solo recital
           The Eight rehearsals and performances 
           Applied Music Practice and Colloquia with Distinguished Guests