Loyola University Chicago

John Felice Rome Center

MUSC 142 Voice Class for beginners

 Spring 2012


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 studied.

    All 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. 

 5) Vocal Categories--- An extra lecture will be given on the types of voices that exist in women and men,  explaining the structural differences which cause such a variety of vocal colour, range and volume.  The lecture will include a vocal demonstration given by students from the Rome State Conservatory of Music illustrating the different vocal categories.



           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 misused 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.

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



Jan. 16th               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.

Jan. 23rd              Breathing---the fundamental basis for sound

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

Jan. 30th             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

Feb. 6th                 How to study vocal music

                                  a) the Vaccai method of word division

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

Feb. 13th                 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.

Feb. 20th                Rehearsal and midterm exam

Feb. 27th               Student singing-- reviewing the coordination of the technical notions explored in the

                             previous lessons using new repertory.

March. 12th            From March 12th  until April 9th  Student singing reviewing the coordination of the

                            technical notions  explored in the previous lessons under  the guidance of the professor

Apr.16th-Apr.23rd    Rehearsal and final exam.