Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center

MUSC 142: Voice Class for Beginners

Fall 2012


Musc. 142  SYLLABUS  -- FALL   2012

Professor  Delia Surratt

Lesson Schedule   Monday

Lesson time  930 am-1.00pm



This is a core introductory course in singing open to any  student who wants to understand more about how the human body  can make harmonious, intense sound in a natural way.  This course explores the technical  basis of “Belcanto” as it is understood throughout the world using the Italian musical repertory from the Art Song to Italian Pop music.



The course is structured in the following manner:

1) A basic understanding of the human body used as an instrument of sound.

a) the important role of the brain.

b) breathing---the human body, used for singing and speaking, is a wind instrument.

c) the mouth and tongue positions.


2) Compositions to be studiedAll music used during the course will be provided by the professor and will be exclusively Italian.

a) Art songs to be studied  from the following albums:Parisotti, “Arie Antiche”vol.1,2,3. Ed.Ricordi; Knud Jeppesen, “La Flora” Arie Antiche vol. 1,2,3. Ed. Hansen.

b)”Operetta in Europa”vol.1,2. Ed. Almanacco.

c)Operatic  Arias  by Monteverdi, Pergolesi. Paesiello and Alessandro Scarlatti.  

    In addition to the above compositions,for advanced  vocal students  operatic arias by Donizetti, Rossini and Verdi  will be studied.

d)Popular Music—Italian Pop music from the 30’s, 40’s 50’s,60’s,70’s,80’s,and 90’s.



3) Study Method

  The course also offers a methodic  way to study vocal music:

a) The text---Translation,  Italian diction for singing and an introduction to the “Vaccai “method of word division.

b) Physical coordination---Feeling how the body can make sound  using the chosen pieces of music to employ the technical notions pointed out during the lessons.

c) Italian music---Part of the full cultural immersion at the Rome Center, the Italian language is perfect for singing because of its many vowels.  The music will be chosen keeping in mind the student’s personal  goals and repertory preferences.


4)Advanced voice students----If the student is advanced in vocal study, the art of coloratura and embellishments will be introduced.



a) Attendance is fundamental.  No more than one unexcused absence will be permitted.  Each additional absence  will  incur a 5% drop in the final grade.

b) Homework: home reviewing of  the papers that the professor distributes in class; listening assignments suggested by the professor which will include attendance at both one performance of an opera and one vocal recital.

c) Healthy vocal cords---which means that the student has a natural voice that hasn’t been misuse to the point of having nodes on the vocal cords.



The students will be judged by the following criterion: Attendance, homework assigned, and most important of all, at midterm and for the  final exam the students will be asked to perform a song or duet learned during the course  in which  they will apply the technical notions learned during the course.

The student’s progress will be judged keeping in mind the initial  vocal state, since this is for the majority of the students an introductory course.



         a) 30%participation

         b) 15%homework  

         c) 20%midterm exam

         d) 35% final exam



Sept. 3              Introduction to the Art of Singing

                                    a)the human body as an instrument of sound.

                                    b)an audition of each student’s basic singing voice.

Sept.10             Breathing---the fundamental basis for sound

                                   a)coordination of this natural function under the guidance of the professor  using song.

Sept 17             The important role of the brain

                                  a)checking the breathing with the  sound production  of each student.

                                  b)the importance of distance perception in making intense sound.

                                  c)the students use these notions singing an art song under the guidance of the professor

Sept.24               How to study vocal music

                                  a)the Vaccai method of word division

                                  b)student singing using the notions explored during the previous lessons

Oct. 1                   The positions of the mouth and tongue.

                                   a)mouth openings  that change with the various areas of the vocal range.

                                   b)the importance of a relaxed tongue

                                   c)student singing  exploring these technical notions.


Oct. 8                  Rehearsal  and midterm exam

Oct 15                 Student singing-- reviewing  the coordination of the technical notions explored in the previous lessons using new repertory.

                             (Italian pop songs,operetta, opera arias ecc)

Oct.29                    From  Oct 29  until Dec.10--Student singing reviewing the coordination of the technical notions explored in the previous lessons under the guidance of the professor

Dec 10                   Rehearsal and final exam