Voice studies at NIU provides opportunities for you to develop personal creativity, empower performance skills to expand your expressive potential, build lifelong friendships, inspire audiences and explore social justice issues confronting our communities. 

Our voice faculty strives to help students discover their unique and authentic voice, both physically and artistically, and guiding them through all aspects needed to become skilled professional singers and educators, who are also confident expressive artists and inspirational teachers. In addition to the music core curriculum, you’ll work with our world-renowned voice faculty taking weekly voice lessons and participating in convocations and master classes, opera theater productions, diction classes and more.

The requirements in applied voice lessons are designed to foster the maximum growth of each singer. You’ll focus on the techniques of correct posture, breath management, tone production, development of musical expression and appropriate interpretation of solo literature. Technique in singing requires the daily application of vocal exercises that are assigned to build vocal strength, beauty of tone and expressiveness.

Performance Opportunities

As you develop your voice, you’ll build knowledge of many genres of repertoire, learn music in its dramatic and historic context, and collaborate with other musicians in chamber music. Students perform in opera scenes and full opera productions, in various School of Music competitions, and in a multitude of ensembles from various choral ensembles to contemporary and world-music ensembles.

Choral Ensembles

Participation in the choral ensembles at NIU provides an opportunity for students to synthesize their studies of vocal technique, theory, aural skills, history and pedagogy in rehearsal and performance. Individualized experiences for students are integrated into the curriculum for conductors, music educators, composers and soloists. Students are given the opportunity to lead sectionals and conduct in rehearsals and performances.

Our choirs have performed, or recorded, several new works written by NIU student composers. In our annual choral orchestral performances, students perform solo movements with our NIU Philharmonic Orchestra.

Master Classes

In addition to studying with the faculty of the School of Music our students had the opportunity to have master classes with distinguished artists and teachers such as Frank Lopardo, Brandon Jovanovich, Cynthia Hoffmann, Daniel Washington, Jonita Lattimore, Cynthia Clarey, Mira Zakai, Karen Brunssen, Marc Embree, Kurt Hanson and more.

Residency Programs

Our choral musicians have also had front row seats to learn from and work with internationally acclaimed composers and conductors through our residency programs, such as Libby Larsen, Morten Lauridsen, Murry Sidlin, Fernando Malvar-Ruiz, James Whitbourn, Dominck DiOrio, Timothy C. Takach, Jocelyn Hagen, Jerry Blackstone and many more. NIU is also home to Cor Cantiamo, Ensemble-in-Residence, under the direction of Eric Johnson, D.M.A.

Opera Theatre

Opera theatre gives students insight into the process of opera production and role preparation for the live and online professional operatic stage. The repertoire featured aims to provide students grounding in both historical and contemporary practices of operatic performance, and provide a strong foundation in acting technique, movement, performance practice and audition technique.

Banda Los Huskies

New to NIU is the ensemble, Banda Los Huskies. The most popular subgenre of regional Mexican music, Banda relies solely on an instrumentation of wind instruments (unlike Mariachi and Noteño) featuring brass, clarinets, percussion and singers.

Huskie Spotlight

Abria Shaw, '25
Vocal Performance
and Music Education

Explore all NIU Music Huskie Spotlights

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