Music - Vocal Performance (BM)

UArts’ Vocal Performance program offers you much more than just a solid academic foundation in proper vocal techniques: In our jazz- and contemporary-based curriculum you can also explore a variety of genres, including pop, Jazz, Pop, Classical, Musical Theater, R&B and more, performed by a rotating offering of vocal ensembles.

Class sizes are small, so you'll receive one-on-one attention and private lessons from faculty advisors and mentors, and you will have the opportunity to perform in many of over a hundred different musical performances taking place on UArts’ campus.

In 2020, the School of Music was ranked #2 in The 10 Best “Hidden Gem” Music Schools by Music School Central. UArts’ was also recognized as the 4th best contemporary jazz vocal performance program in the country in 2019. School of Music graduates have gone on to win Grammy awards and go on worldwide tours.

    Quick facts

    • Must complete 120 credits - see curriculum requirements below
    • Students have weekly, hour-long one-on-one lessons with a teacher, and are able to participate in ensembles and join vocal concert series. Past events include tributes to the music of the 2000's, a Grammy Tribute and a tribute to Philadelphia musicians.
    • You are eligible for a wide range of academic scholarships available during the admissions process.
    • You can transfer into UArts. Learn more abot transfer student applications.
    • The Vocal Performance program hosts a yearly concert series that includes recitals by student year, a faculty student recital during which students sing with their teachers and two concerts chosen by the students in the program.

    Program Details

    The School’s numerous performance ensembles represent a wide range of styles and categories.

    Students are involved in a rigorous schedule of performances, with over 150 concerts and recitals presented each year.

    Students graduating from the Vocal Performance degree program will demonstrate

    • strong technique and artistry through the study of varied repertoire and technique exercises;
    • knowledge and understanding of contemporary and traditional music theory;
    • knowledge of fundamental aural skills through singing, sight-reading, dictation and solo transcription;
    • understanding of jazz forms, improvisational concepts, and how to apply them to a broad range of musical styles;
    • the ability to collaborate artistically with other performers, both vocal and instrumental, as a performer, arranger, creator and leader;
    • the ability to compose, orchestrate and create musical arrangements; and
    • knowledge of current technological applications to assist in the creation of one’s art.

    Participating in ensembles is a core part of students’ experience in the Vocal Performance program. Joining an ensemble is typically a full academic year’s commitment. The offering of ensembles rotates regularly based on interest and availability. During the Fall '21 - Spring '22 semesters the School of Music ran 10 ensembles that included vocals: Arranged Standards, Women's Ensemble, Salsa Ensemble, Soul Ensemble, Octonics, Femme Ensemble, Jazz Composers, Vocal Session Ensemble, Rock Ensemble, and Grad Ensemble.

    Vocalists also have frequent opportunities to perform with the School of Music’s two big bands ("Z" Big Band, and Transfusion Ensemble).

    All vocal performance students are required to participate in six semesters of Chorus.

    Students in the Vocal Performance program are able to take part in Semester Abroad and Short Travel programs that are offered by the University.


    About the Curriculum

    The Vocal Performance program curriculum provides a direct and practical education for students interested in establishing a career in jazz and/or contemporary music. The core of this curriculum includes theory and musicianship, piano, improvisation, technology, and music business. Additional study topics include recording, song writing, digital marketing and branding, non - major instrument study and a wide selection of music history and literature courses.

    Students receive weekly, one-hour private lessons in vocal performance with renowned artist teachers. Ensemble and performance opportunities play a critical part in the student’s education by sharpening technical and improvisation skills and increasing the student’s command of repertoire and styles.

    Sample Curriculum

    Duration: Four years, full time
    Credits: 120
    Major requirements: 69 credits
    Discipline history: 9 credits
    Critical Studies: 33 credits
    Free electives: 9 credits

    Expand all Collapse all
    First Year

    Vocal Instruction (3 credits)
    Chorus (1 credits)
    Music Theory I (3 credits)
    Musicianship I (3 credits)
    Class Piano (1 credits)
    Writing I Placement (3 credits)
    Free elective (your choice) (1 credits)

    Vocal Instruction (3 credits)
    English Diction & International Phonetic Alphabet (1 credits)
    Music Theory II (3 credits)
    Musicianship II (3 credits)
    Music Technology Survey (1 credits)
    Writing II Placement (3 credits)

    The first year of lessons and coursework aims to help students solidify their technique and lay the groundwork for advancing into more complex musical studies while still allowing them freedom to begin to explore various genres.

    Second Year

    Vocal Instruction (3 credits)
    Jazz Theory I (3 credits)
    Class Jazz Piano I (1 credit)
    Jazz Musicianship I (3 credits)
    Jazz Improvisation I (1 credit)
    Thinking Through Science (3 credits)
    Free elective (your choice) (1 credit)

    Vocal Instruction (3 credits)
    Jazz Theory II (3 credits)
    Jazz Musicianship II (3 credits)
    Class Jazz Piano II (1 credit)
    Jazz Improvisation II (1 credit)
    Critical Studies (your choice) (3 credits)

    The second year of lessons builds on the foundation that was begun in the first year. The student has even more freedom to choose repertoire and genres that are of interest to them, all while strengthening their vocal technique.

    Third Year

    Vocal Instruction (3 credits)
    Chorus (1 credits)
    Comprehensive Musicianship (3 credits)
    Advanced Piano & Accompanying I (1 credits)

    Vocal Instruction (3 credits)
    Discipline history (your choice) (3 credits)
    Critical Studies (your choice) (3 credits)
    Advanced Piano & Accompanying II (1 credit)
    Free elective (your choice) (3 credits)

    Upon reaching their junior year, students chose a new voice teacher to train and study with for the final two years of the Vocal Performance program. We want the students to begin thinking about the career path they want to pursue, and are empowered to explore their future options under the guidance of a teacher with a compatible creative focus, artistic practice and career experience.

    Fourth Year

    Vocal Instruction (3 credits)
    Business of Music (2 credits)
    Discipline history (your choice) (6 credits)

    Vocal Instruction (3 credits)
    Senior Recital (0 credit)
    Chorus (1 credits)
    Ensemble (1 credits)
    Critical Studies (your choice) (3 credits)
    Free elective (your choice) (3 credits)

    The senior year lessons are focused entirely on preparation for the senior recital. Students work with teachers to craft a performance for the senior showcase that demonstrates the students’ work, growth and achievements during the last four years, displaying their prowess and growth as artists and performers.

    Explore the Full Curriculum

    Alumni & Careers

    Alumni Spotlight

    The Vocal Performance program at University of the Arts will put you on the right track to a fulfilling career as a solo or ensemble performer, teacher or musical theater professional. Whether you pursue a career as an independent artist, in a band, or in the theater, you'll find your time at UArts has prepared you to meet the challenge.

    Julian King by Tyler Golden
    Julian King

    BM '15

    Music - Vocal Performance (BM)
    The Voice, Season 2019, on John Legend's Team
    Josiah Wise headshot - Vocal Performance
    Josiah Wise

    BM '10

    Music - Vocal Performance (BM)
    Originally from Baltimore, MD, debut album 'soil', on national tour
    Head shot of Matt McAndrew, black and white, round glasses and neck tattoos
    Matt McAndrew

    BM '13

    Music - Vocal Performance (BM)
    Runner-up on NBC's The Voice
    Alita Moses headshot
    Alita Moses

    BM '15

    Music - Vocal Performance (BM)
    Currently touring with Jacob Collier
    Anna Ready headshot
    Anna Ready

    BM '18

    Music - Vocal Performance (BM)
    First student to graduate with a double major in both Vocal Performance and MBET.

    Brittany Luna and Catbite

    Brittany Luna BM ’17 (Vocal Performance) shares post-graduation adventures with ska band Catbite. 


    The Vocal Performance program sets graduates up for success in a range of careers related to musical and vocal performance, and music-adjacent fields.

    Career paths for Vocal Performance graduates include

    • Vocal Performer/Independent Artist
    • Music Educator (K-12 Public, Private, Catholic, Charter, and College)
    • Song Writer Session/Commercial music Vocalist
    • Vocal Coach
    • Producer/Studio Engineer

    Student Spotlight

    image of haley joyner wearing a white t shirt with pink and orange bubble letters, a bright read head scarp and smiling in a sun-lit leafy street.
    Haley Joyner


    Music - Vocal Performance (BM)
    Philadelphia native with performance experience throughout the city
    headshot of Jamie Kaufman wearing a pale green blouse with a plunge neckline and golden chain and long curled hair. against a blank background.
    Jamie Kaufman


    Music - Vocal Performance (BM)
    Musician and music educator from South Jersey

    Faculty Spotlight

    A portrait of Kevin Haden, the new dean of the school of music
    Kevin Haden

    Dean, School of Music

    Dean, educator, musician, composer and lyricist
    Liz Radigonda headshot
    Liz Radigonda

    MM '07; Vocal Performance Program Director

    Music - Vocal Performance (BM)
    Program Director; Vocalist who specializes in everything from classical to pop and rock
    V Shayne Frederick stands on a city balcony in a blue suit
    V. Shayne Frederick

    Music - Vocal Performance (BM)
    Has performed as soloist with the orchestras of Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit, Philadelphia and Cincinnati
    Reggie Pindell headshot
    Reggie Pindell

    Music - Vocal Performance (BM)
    Has performed as soloist with the orchestras of Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit, Philadelphia and Cincinnati
    Laurin Talese
    Laurin Talese

    Music - Vocal Performance (BM)
    Actor, composer, lyricist, vocalist
    Janine Whitt headshot
    Janine Whitt

    Music - Vocal Performance (BM)
    Singer, songwriter, educator


    The School of Music brings together many musical talents and skills, and offers many lively opportunities for students, faculty, staff and the public to experience musical performances and engage with students’ work.

    The Vocal Performance program presents an annual series of seven concerts to showcase the talents, progress and creativity of its students:

    • Four concerts are organized by student year, separately showcasing Senior, Junior, Sophomore and Freshman performers.
    • One concert is the Faculty Student Recital, during which faculty members perform together with their students.
    • Two concerts are chosen by the student body.

    Past years have featured performances paying tribute to the 90's, a Grammy tribute, a performance of Spotify Top Ten tracks and a tribute to iHeartRadio hits.

    Beyond these concert series, Vocal Performance students are able to perform in ensembles and other various recitals organized by students.

    About the School of Music

    The School of Music at University of the Arts is dedicated to the preparation and training of musicians for careers in music performance, production, recording, all aspects of the music business, composition and music education. Your growth as a musician is the primary goal of the program. In 2020, the School of Music was ranked #2 in The 10 Best “Hidden Gem” Music Schools by Music School Central.

    The school trains you to be a professional of the highest caliber through a comprehensive curriculum that includes private lessons with an actively performing faculty, an abundance and diversity of ensembles and performance experiences, and a focus on information literacy and critical thinking.

    Performance opportunities sharpen your technical and improvisation skills and increase your knowledge of repertoire and styles. The school’s numerous performance ensembles represent a wide range of styles and categories of classical, hip-hop, jazz, R&B and world music. You’ll be involved in a rigorous schedule of performances: UArts produces over 150 concerts and recitals each year.

    Learn more about the School of Music.


    "Z" Big Band Holiday Performance

    Vocal Performance students contribute their voices to the "Z" Big Band holiday performance. 

    Take a listen to the work of our Vocal Performance students on Soundcloud:  

    Related Programs


    Music Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology

    In the top-ranked Music Business, Entrepreneurship & Technology (MBET) Bachelor of Science (BS) degree program at University of the Arts in Philadelphia, you’ll learn the most up-to-date and comprehensive skills you’ll need to succeed and excel in where the industry’s going. Whether it’s running a recording studio, building audio electronics, marketing for artists and venues, or working with licensing and publishing, the MBET curriculum can be molded to fit your individual needs while preparing you for your desired career.

    Explore UArts' MBET degree program

    Instrumental Performance

    UArts will help put you on track to become a professional touring and recording musician, arranger, producer or music director. You will master your overall musicianship during core study subjects of arranging and orchestration, music business, music history, music theory and technology. UArts features 19 ensembles of varying genres, including the premiere "Z" Big Band ensemble. Through private lessons and ensembles, you will increase your command of diverse repertoire and styles.

    Explore Instrumental Performance


    In UArts’ four-year, 120-credit Music Composition BM degree program, you’ll find your own distinct voice and receive instruction from different teachers with their own unique expertise, allowing you to pursue your own path toward becoming a professional music composer. Learn music composition for every genre of music, and specialize in the genre that most interests you—including big band, classical, gospel, alternative rock, electronica and more.

    Explore UArts' BM in Composition

    How to Apply

    UArts offers recommended priority deadlines; students who apply and submit all required materials by the priority deadline will receive first consideration for scholarship aid from UArts. Applications received after the priority deadline will be reviewed on a rolling, space-available basis. 

    International students requiring an F-1 visa for study in the U.S. might be subject to earlier deadlines to provide time for completion of the visa process. Contact Admissions for guidance if you are an international student who wishes to apply after the priority deadline.

    Spring 2024 priority deadline: Oct. 15, 2023

    Fall 2024 priority deadline: Feb 15, 2024

    We cannot accept spring 2024 applications after Jan. 8, 2024, and cannot accept fall 2024 applications after Aug. 16, 2024.

    We encourage students to complete the FAFSA by March 15, if possible.
    Many students and families have encountered technical challenges while trying to complete the FAFSA this year. If this is the case for you, continue to utilize the FAFSA support resources until your issue is resolved. UArts will ensure that all admitted students who file the FAFSA are eligible for the same institutional funding to support your costs.

    The following materials are required for your application.

    Expand all Collapse all
    A completed application for admission

    Start or resume your application. 

    • The application includes two required short-answer questions: What excites you about UArts? What inspires you?

    A nonrefundable $60 application fee
    • If you qualify for a fee waiver from NACAC, CollegeBoard, UArts or another source, indicate that on your application. If the cost of the application fee is a barrier, contact Admissions to request a fee waiver code.

    Official high school transcript

    • Official transcripts must be sent directly from your school by mail, email or a secure electronic document-delivery service. 

    • International transcript requirements 

    • Transfer student transcript requirements

      • High school transcripts may be waived for transfer applicants who have completed a minimum of 24 credits of college-level coursework, including a minimum of 18 academic, non-studio credits.

      • Official college transcript(s)

        • Official transcripts must be sent directly from all the colleges you have attended by mail, email or a secure electronic document-delivery service. 

        • If you’ve attended college outside the U.S., you are required to have an official course-by-course evaluation of your college coursework sent to UArts. Additional guidelines for international transcripts are available

    Your audition
    International applicants must submit proof of English proficiency.
    Optional letters of recommendation
    • Letters of recommendation from teachers or mentors are optional and may be submitted by the recommender via email to or by your high school through a secure electronic document-delivery service. 

    Apply Now

    Get Started

    Start your application

    Begin your application today. Our admissions team will help you throughout the process.

    Apply Now

    See UArts for yourself

    The best way to get to know UArts is by visiting our campus in person. Come see a show, visit a gallery, and get to know the neighborhood.

    Plan Your Visit

    Not sure where to start?

    We're glad you want to learn more. Our admissions team is happy to send additional information about our school.

    Request More Information