Vocal Performance

The Master of Sacred Music Vocal Performance concentration at Notre Dame is a fully-funded program where the rigorous performance studies of a Master of Music degree are combined with graduate-level training in sacred music and liturgy. Students grow as vocal artists through constant solo performance opportunities and receive a well-rounded formation through studies in oratorio, art song, early and contemporary music, lyric diction, choral conducting, keyboard, sacred music history, and liturgy. The goal is to nurture entrepreneurial singing artists who can excel in broad-ranging repertoires and roles as professional soloists, cantors, choristers, vocal ensemble leaders, children's chorus directors, and church music directors, or pursue doctoral studies to become teachers and professors.

The concentration is intentionally small (8 singers), so that students receive maximum faculty attention and performance opportunities and collaborate closely with their colleagues in organ and choral conducting. Typical internship assignments for vocal performance students include singing in the Notre Dame Repertory & Recital Choirs and working as co-directors in the Notre Dame Children’s Choir. Students may also choose to become involved in opera productions with Opera Notre Dame.    

Academic Courses (24 credit hours)

I. History, Theory & Analysis (12 credit hours minimum)
     A. Music History - choose a minimum of 3                                           
            Passions, Cantatas & Requiems
            Medieval Music & Drama
            Renaissance Polyphony
            Manuscript Study
            Sacred Music & Popular Song in the USA
            Sacred works of the twentieth century (800 level)
            Sacred Music in the late 18th & 19th Centuries
            Electives in Music
     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  
            Roman Liturgy (800 level)
            Gregorian Chant
            Liturgical Prayer 
            Music and the Sacraments of the Christian Faith (new course)
            Sacred Music and the Liturgical Year/Liturgical Year 
            Music in the Documents of the Christian Tradition (800 level) 
            Electives in Theology 
     B. Ethnomusicology and Ritual Studies/Field Work - choose 1              
            Music and World Culture 
            Music and Ritual Studies 

Practiced Music & Performance (24 credits)

  • Primary Lessons: Voice (12 credits)
  • Vocal Literature (2 credits)
  • Diction (French, German, Italian/English, Latin): 4 credit hours (4 courses at 1 credit hour)
  • Minimum of 6 credit hours from below:
    Secondary Lessons
    SMND Ensembles (only repertory & recital)
    Children's Choirs: Methods & Repertory *req for MSM/DMA on Lilly Stipends 2 cr
    Conducting II (2 credits)  
    Vocal Methods I or II (2 credits)
  • Two recitals

Applied Music Practice and Colloquia with Distinguished Guests

Workshops and master classes are offered regularly on a non-credit basis. Invited guest artists have included, among others:

  • Conspirare
  • King’s Singers
  • Pomerium
  • Seraphic Fire
  • Mark Crayton
  • Nathan Gunn
  • Judith Haddon
  • Kevin Murphy
  • Heidi Grant Murphy
  • Stefan Parkman
  • JamesTaylor

Internship (Transcripted Only)

  • All students are assigned an internships, which serve as on-the-job professional training and function as part-time employment for the students. (i.e. basilica, parish, children's choir, etc.)

In order to build repertoire and professional experience, the students are expected to participate in the majority of musical events produced by the Sacred Music program at Notre Dame, and compile a portfolio of their solo, chamber ensemble and choral performance activities, under the guidance of the master teacher in voice, Stephen Lancaster.