All incoming majors (freshmen, transfer students and graduates) must be heard for assignment to a studio. STUDIO PLACEMENT AUDITIONS are held the first week of school each August. Detailed information is available from the Prof. David Brock, Chair of the Voice Division (j.brock@tcu.edu). Each student should prepare one piece of classical repertoire to be sung from memory. An accompanist will be provided for these auditions. Sign-up lists will be posted on the Voice/Opera Board, ELH south second floor stairwell.

Music minors and electives who have not taken studio voice previously at TCU must audition for acceptance in the voice area as well as for studio assignment. Studio space is limited. Secondaries should be aware that acceptance is competitive and prepare their audition accordingly.

Texas Christian University
Division of Vocal Studies
Audition Repertoire Requirements


  1. One selection in English
  2. One selection in a foreign language
  3. One selection may be an aria from an opera or oratorio, please include the recitative if applicable

Nordan Scholarship

  1. One selection in English
  2. Two selections in a foreign language
  3. One selection should be an aria from an opera or oratorio, please include the recitative if applicable
  4. The screening DVD must contain all three selections


  1. The candidate should present at least 6 selections, including songs and arias in contrasting styles and at least 3 different languages, including English.
  2. Performances should demonstrate the fullest range of the applicant's artistry.
  3. One selection should have been written since 1960.
  4. Voice Performance and Voice Pedagogy applicants will be asked to sight-read and translate French, German and Italian into English during the audition. Further, as a prerequisite for admission to the MM in Vocal Performance, all candidates must have completed intermediate French, German or Italian, or demonstrate equivalent knowledge.


  1. Five arias selected from opera and oratorio in contrasting languages and styles, please include the recitative if applicable.
  2. A fifty-minute Recital program consisting of selections representing at least four different stylistic periods and languages. One language should be English. One group should have been written since 1960.
  3. The screening DVD, submitted at the time of application, should contain a twenty-minute sample of the above repertoire.

Artist Diploma

  1. The candidate should present at least 6 selections, including songs and arias in contrasting styles and at least 3 different languages, including English.
  2. Performances should demonstrate the fullest range of the applicant's artistry.
  3. One selection should have been written since 1960.



The TCU Vocal Arts Laboratory provides the opportunity to enhance studio instruction with scientific tools fostering both the art and artistry of singing and the understanding of the physiological and acoustical processes involved. Although the vital acuity of the teacher's ear and expertise remains the core of the learning process, the Kay-Elemetrics Computerized Speech Lab, like the mirror, cassette tape, and video camera, provides information that can help the singer overcome technical problems more quickly and effectively, allowing time for confidence and artistry to develop. In the Vocal Arts Laboratory, students learn the acoustic parameters of pitch control, fundamental frequency and harmonic partials that determine vocal timbre, vowel definition, the presence of vibrato, legato, and linguistic accuracy by listening to and observing phonations from their own lessons and performances as well as by studying live phonations in the laboratory.

TCU joins many colleges and universities, including the Oberlin Conservatory prototype, Westminster Choir College, Belmont University, the Voice Institute of West Texas at Abilene Christian University, Stetson University, UT Austin, and the Vanderbilt Voice Center (which employs several TCU Speech Pathology graduates) in incorporating this powerful technology into the development of vocal artists.

With the laboratory's real-time spectrography, the voice professor and the applied voice student, the voice therapist and the patient, the actor, and the instrumentalist have numerous analytical tools for understanding the complex acoustical data of spoken, sung, and played sound. A classically trained singer's spectrogram has unique features that are easily visible: the singer produces not just a single note, but a simultaneous sounding of selective overtones which define the vowel and allow the voice to carry over a large orchestra in a 3,000 seat performance hall. These features can be observed, as can the consistency of richness and color through the dynamic and pitch range of the voice.

The student or patient has several options in using the laboratory:He/she may bring in a previously recorded cassette, DAT tape or video cassette of his/her own phonations to study.

He/she may record him/herself in the laboratory, making adjustments while watching real-time spectrography.
He/she may study recordings in any form of professional singers recommended as desirable (or undesirable) models.
Visible read-outs of the spectrogram include:
Frequency (cps or Hertz)
The vertical axis shows the fundamental frequency and all the overtones (partials) generated by a single tone. The horizontal axis shows time. Real-time spectrography graphs the sound patterns exactly as they are produced by the singer or speaker.

Acoustic Energy

Acoustic energy is measured from light to dark, with dark tracings representing higher acoustic energy. Patterns of acoustic energy display the balance of tonal color, vowel definition, clarity of sound onset, and the presence of the ėsingerís formantî constant between 2800-3500 Hertz in sound with the carrying power necessary for success in performance. The ėring and warmthî characteristic of great voices including Jussi Bjoerling, Renata Tebaldi, and Luciano Pavarotti can be analyzed. The student of singing learns that formant balance rather than sheer muscular effort produce increased Decibel output. Extraneous muscle tension only dampens or inhibits sound.

Continuance (Legato)

Legato, the seamless sung vocal line without noise or interruption, is easily visible when the student produces a spectrograph without stops or inconsistencies, full of contiguous lines of similar acoustical data. For both singers and speakers, vowel and consonant duration can be observed with great clarity, immediately drawing the student's attention to the common (and frequently unconscious) pattern of forming the consonant prematurely.

Vibrancy (Vibrato)

Regularity in cycle and pitch excursion of vibrato are easily discerned through spectral analysis. Vibrato rate and straight tone can also be immediately discerned.

Registration/Vowel Modification

Acoustical data of all singing registers, chest, head, and falsetto, are easily apparent. To control consistency of timbre across registration events, the student can check to see if the formants remain in a consistent pattern.

Speech vs. Singing

The student can notice the enormous differences in the acoustical energy and duration of the singing and speaking voice. In some instances the speech of a singer exhibits greater acoustical energy than the singing voice. This immediately shows the student that certain modifications must take place to correct the imbalance.

Vowel Definition

Split screen audio-visual allows the performer to see both him/herself shaping an English or foreign language phoneme and the resultant spectrogram, which demonstrates the accuracy of the effort. The vowel chart mode, which displays 1st and 2nd formant positions also helps both singers and speakers with vowel clarity and assists in dialect reduction.


The video camcorder is an invaluable tool for improving body alignment, extraneous movement of the head, jaw, shoulders, lips, and neck. Dramatic skills, facial expression and stance, can also be improved through the use of the camcorder in the studio and the laboratory.

Sign up for individual appointments in the Vocal Arts Laboratory on the door to ELH 233. Direct any questions to Prof. David Brock.

For further information about the TCU Vocal Program, contact:
Prof. J. David Brock
Division Chair, Voice
Texas Christian University
TCU Box 297500 - Fort Worth, Texas 76129
Fax: 817.257.7344