The Vocal Performance program is designed to develop your unique voice and artistic identity while building your confidence as a vocalist. You’ll gain essential musical skills by singing in a variety of ensembles and taking private lessons tailored to your interests and personal goals. Whether you’re into rock, pop, R&B, jazz or musical theater, you’ll have the freedom to explore a variety of styles — and the support of experienced faculty to help you master the music you’re most passionate about.
By building a solid foundation in music theory, sight-reading, ear training, vocal control, microphone technique and stage presence, you’ll graduate ready to excel as an artist and professional musician.
Ready For The Real World
As a Vocal Performance major you’ll receive a hands-on education that prepares you for the real world. You’ll collaborate with fellow performance, songwriting, business, and production majors on real projects. You’ll perform in concerts and theater productions in our on-campus venues, and get to write and record original material in our state-of-the-art studios. You’ll learn tour management, how to book your own shows, and how to market and promote yourself as an artist. And through our extensive job board, you’ll find singing opportunities with both area bands and commercial projects.
You’ll get a head start on your music career by building your professional network while you’re still in school. With access to guest artists, internships and the thriving Twin Cities music and arts scene, you’ll be connected to the industry before you graduate.
Teaching For Tomorrow
To succeed as a professional vocalist, you need a well-rounded education that prepares you for the dynamic future of the music business. That’s why our vocal performance degree program focuses on fostering your creativity and musicianship while giving you the necessary technology skills to adapt and compete in the industry. You’ll also graduate equipped with the entrepreneurial concepts and business savvy you’ll need to reach your goals and establish your career.
With a comprehensive education that blends artistry, technology and entrepreneurship, you’ll be ready to make and sustain a life in music.
Your Career Path
Graduates of the Vocal Performance program are prepared for a variety of career options, including:
- Professional Singer
- Band Leader
- Touring Musician
- Choir or Music Director
- Theater Performer
- Vocal Coach
- Music Teacher
- Private Lesson Studio
Studios & Facilities
Our campus features 3 performance venues, 6 technology labs, and 11 recording studios where students learn to record, edit and mix music and audio.
There’s a lot to explore outside of class, including student organizations, free concerts, music ensembles, and the diverse music and art scene of Minneapolis-St. Paul.
FacultyView All Faculty >>
Charlie Christenson has spent the last decade working closely with many of the country’s most well respected jazz educators and performers, including Fred Strum (Lawrence University), Christine Salerno (UW–Green Bay), Peter Eldridge (New York Voices), Theo Bleckmann (Meredith Monk Ensemble) and Kate McGarry (Grammy Nominated Jazz Vocalist). He holds a Bachelor’s of Music in Choral and General Music Education from Lawrence University and a Master’s of Music in Jazz Performance from the Manhattan School of Music.
During his time on the East Coast, Christenson had the honor of performing in many of New York’s finest jazz clubs, including Jazz at Lincoln Center and Birdland. Before moving back to the Midwest in the Summer of 2011, he spent two years teaching and developing training strategies for Apple Inc. in Southern California. Christenson is an active educator, clinician and performer in the Twin Cities area—as a soloist, with his trio and with the newly formed McNally Smith Faculty Vocal Quartet.
Rachel Holder has been singing professionally in the Twin Cities since she was 19 years old. Her unique voice has a sensitivity and expressiveness far beyond her years. In 2007, Holder graduated from McNally Smith College of Music with a Bachelor’s degree in vocal performance. Currently, she performs at several venues in the Twin Cities, including The Dakota Jazz Club, Hell’s Kitchen, Honey, The Townhouse and The Artists’ Quarter.
Holder is an extremely versatile singer and performs many genres of music, including jazz, Latin, R&B, and pop. She performs with the Wolverines, the George Maurer Group and Vital Organ, as well as fronting her own groups. Holder’s debut album, “Save Your Love For Me,” recorded with jazz pianist Dan Musselman, was released in February of 2009. She has been a guest artist and clinician at several Minnesota and Wisconsin high schools and has been teaching voice and piano privately since 2007.
We offer 1, 2 and 4-year degrees in Vocal Performance, giving you options for a degree that fits with your plans and budget.
$12,870 per semester for full-time attendance (13-17 credits)
- Bachelor’s degree: 120 credits
- Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree: 60 credits
- Diploma: 45 credits
$990 per credit for part-time attendance More info >>
On average, more than $1 million in College-funded aid is awarded annually in the form of merit-based scholarships and need-based grants. More than 85% of our students receive financial assistance to help cover their educational costs.
Click here to learn about the many resources available to help pay for college.
Gainful Employment Statistics
McNally Smith College of Music is institutionally and programmatically accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) and is registered with the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. More info >>