Columbia College Chicago

Performance, Vocal Performance, BMus

Singing is one of the most expressive and complex ways to create music. Along with learning the principles of good vocal technique, you’ll engage in a course of study that supports your unique experience and skill set. With the support of our faculty of working professional musicians, this program focuses on contemporary genres such as blues, gospel, pop and rock, with an emphasis on versatility and collaboration. As a BMus student, you’ll complete rigorous advanced coursework that will prepare you for a professional career.

You’ll perform in ensembles at public concerts on campus as well as venues like Chicago’s famed Auditorium Theatre and the House of Blues. You’ll gain rich experience singing with other vocalists and working with instrumentalists. Our goal is to help you bridge the gap between your natural talent and the specialized techniques that will support your continued development as a professional singer. You’ll leave Columbia with a strong individual portfolio, including professional recordings, that will set the foundation for your career.

What to Expect Your First Year

You’ll begin as a BA student with Music core classes appropriate to your skill level. You’ll learn basic music literacy as well as music theory, ear training and sight singing. You’ll take master classes facilitated by voice pathologists to learn how to maintain a healthy voice. You’ll immediately apply your skills by joining the Gospel Choir or the Jazz/Pop Choir. These groups have performed at the Auditorium Theatre, at Operation Push events, at the House of Blues, and for the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. You’ll attend numerous performances and productions in Columbia’s Music Center Concert Hall and across campus. You’ll have the opportunity to audition for the BMus program in your first or second year.

What to Expect Your Last Year

By your senior year, in addition to completing the required sequence of vocal-focused classes, you’ll be a seasoned performer. You’ll perform at Columbia events such as Manifest and Open House, showcasing your growth and artistic development through solo and group performances.

You’ll also meet and work with acclaimed artists in residence, who hold master classes and workshops with our students.

You’ll continue to hone your unique vocal and performance techniques. You’ll also gain key show production insights, repertoire development, collaboration experience, and skills in communicating, networking and auditioning. Your faculty mentors will help you identify a career path that makes sense for your artistic goals and will guide you as you develop a portfolio to showcase your talent to industry leaders.

For degree requirements and detailed four-year and transfer plans, visit the course catalog.


Real-world Opportunities

What experience will I get outside the classroom?

As a Music student, you’re encouraged—and expected—to perform in a variety of settings, both on campus as part of your coursework and in Chicago’s vibrant music scene. Chicago is a robust, diverse and accessible place for a working musician, even if you’re just starting your career. Our students play in dozens of ensembles, including bands, choirs, orchestras and more. Columbia’s Music Center hosts more than 200 student, faculty and artist-in-residence performances and workshops each year. Our department also offers exchange programs with the Conservatorio Luisa d’Annunzio in Pescara, Italy, the Popakademie in Mannheim, Germany and other EU partner institutions.

What are my internship options?

You’ll have the opportunity to intern at recording studios, record labels, production companies and radio stations, or work as an assistant to composers, musicians or music business managers. You’ll also have the opportunity for real-world training with singing gigs at Chicago venues, campus events, or with the artists in residence who, in addition to teaching, perform with our students.


Which minors complement this major?

This program is credit intensive. If you pursue a minor, your academic enrollment may extend beyond four academic years. However, if you have a significant number of advanced placement or transferred credits, you may be able to complete the minor in a timely fashion. Please consult with the College Advising Center before officially declaring a minor.


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