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MUSIC 3N03 Vocal Methods (C01)

Academic Year: Fall 2018

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Tracy Wong


Office: Togo Salmon Hall 409

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 23671

Office Hours: By appointment

Course Objectives:


The fundamentals of singing, including breath control, tone production, diction, stage presence and repertoire selection will be introduced in a group setting.



Singing is one of the most natural forms of self-expression, incorporating both the intellectual and aesthetic aspects of music. This course will provide you the opportunity to develop your singing voice through the study, analysis and performance of group and solo vocal repertoire.



In the performance of any instrument, the ability to sing is a musical asset. Regardless of one’s area of specialization, most professional musicians become involved in singing. Practical situations often require one to demonstrate a musical idea with the voice, e.g. teach a vocal class, coach singers, conduct a church or community choir, or demonstrating a phrase for instrumentalists. The foundational learning provided in this course can be very helpful in preparing for the future.

Voice Technique: Healthy vocal production, including the discussion and practice of body alignment, breathing, awareness, phonation, tone quality, resonance, and intonation.

Artistic Performance: Singing repertoire with expressive musicianship e.g. phrasing, rhythmic vitality, dynamic contrast, diction, style, communication, dramatic energy and characterization.

Confidence: Personal poise and stage presence as natural outcomes of thorough preparation.

Self-Discovery: Discovery of self through the empowerment of one’s own voice. This is a highly participatory class. Your involvement and commitment determines your success. Discover yourself as you develop your voice, and most important, enjoy the journey!

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

The Singing Book, 3rd Edition, Meribeth Dayme & Cynthia Vaughn


Notebook/binder for notes and hand-outs

Manuscript paper for vocal exercises

Recording devices for solo performances

Reading materials – posted on ATL, to be printed and read prior to classes according to schedule

Method of Assessment:

Summary of Evaluation


55%    1 Trio / Quartet (10%), 3 Solos (15% each)

15%    3 Written Assignments (5% each)

20%    Written Test (covers textbook readings, handouts, lectures, and discussions)

10%    Participation and Attendance


Evaluation of Singing Assignments

Performances will be evaluated according to the following criteria, with level of previous singing experience in mind, and based upon individual progress:


            Accuracy (Notes, Rhythm, Precision, Tempo)

            Tone & Diction (Vowels, Consonants, Tone Quality, Resonance, Intonation)

            Vocal Production (Breathing, Posture, Energy)

            Memorization & Musicianship (Communication, Expression, Phrasing, Interpretation,
                                 Dynamics, Articulation)

            Stage Presence (Focus, Confidence, Characterization)

            Improvement (Incorporation of feedback from instructor & peers)


Trio / Quartet Performance: students will perform from a selection of rounds in the textbook or as provided by the instructor.


Solo Performance #1: folksong in English

Solo Performance #2: folksong, art song, aria, or musical theatre

Solo Performance #3: folksong, art song, aria, or musical theatre


Repertoire choice guidelines: Students will choose repertoire in consultation with the instructor according to the student’s voice classification, range, tessitura, and level of study. Selection of repertoire can be found in the textbook. If students would like to perform a song not listed in the textbook, they can do so in consultation with the instructor. All performances must be accompanied by piano. Students may not accompany themselves.


Students are expected to maintain a rehearsal journal, and record their rehearsals and performances to monitor their development. Rehearsal journal, score study, and post-performance reflection of solo performances are to be handed in the following class.


Performance dates can be found on the course schedule. Missed performances will receive a mark of zero. Please inform your instructor immediately in the event of an illness or emergency (medical documentation may be required) – an arrangement may be made to make up for the missed performance.


Your instructor is available by appointment to provide brief vocal coaching sessions to help in the preparation of solo performances, if needed.


Evaluation of Written Assignments


Written assignments will include the following:


Assignment 1: Reflection on Singing & Voice Profile, Due Sept. 17

Assignment 2: Reflection on Guest Speaker, Zimfira Poloz (Artistic Director, Hamilton Children’s Choir)’s visit, Due Oct. 29

Assignment 3: Final Reflection, to be submitted with post-performance reflection #3


Specific information on each assignment will be available on ATL. Spelling, grammar, writing style, and presentation are considered in the evaluation of all written assignments.

Students in this course will have received 10% of their grade in this course by November 9th.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Late assignments will be accepted with a 10% deduction per day (up to 50% deduction per week). It is important that assignments be completed on time as they coincide with in-class performance work.

Missed performances with no advanced notice cannot be deferred.

Peer support and feedback is important in this course as every student learns from observing others in class. Attendance is mandatory and one mark will be deducted for every unexcused absence.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Other Course Information:


Week 1

Sept. 4, 6, 7

Introduction of course

Reflection on Singing

Body Mapping

Muscles & Physical Alignment

Creating a Singing Sound

Vocalise & Warm Ups

Week 2

Sept. 11, 13, 14

Voice Quality & Resonance

Voice classification

Video demonstrations

Vocalise & Warm Ups

Review: rounds & folksongs

Assignment 1: Reflection on Singing & Voice Profile, Due Sept. 17

Week 3

Sept. 18, 20, 21

Articulation & Expression

Review: rounds & folksongs

Trio / Quartet in-class practice

Week 4

Sept. 25, 27, 28

Trio / Quartet Performance

Performance review – in-class discussion

Song preparation: practice, score study, working with an accompanist, mental preparation

Week 5

Oct. 2, 4, 5

Stages of vocal development – an overview

Performance anxiety

Review: Warm Ups, Articulation & Expression

Rehearse: folksongs for solo performance #1


Oct. 9, 11, 12

Mid-term recess

Week 6

Oct. 16, 18, 19

Solo performance #1


International Phonetic Alphabet

Rehearsal journal, score study, and post-performance reflection due Oct. 23

Week 7

Oct. 23, 25, 26

Guest Speaker: Zimfira Poloz (Artistic Director, Hamilton Children’s Choir)

Group discussion of guest speaker.

Review: Tone Quality & Resonance

Review: repertoire for Solo Performance #2

Assignment 2: Reflection on Zimfira Poloz’s visit, Due Oct. 29

Week 8

Oct. 30, Nov. 1, 2

Review: Diction, International Phonetic Alphabet

Vocal Health

Rehearse: repertoire for solo performance #2

Week 9

Nov. 6, 8, 9

Solo Performance #2

Review: Tone Quality & Resonance

Rehearsal journal, score study, and post-performance reflection due Nov. 12

Week 10

Nov. 13, 15, 16

Review: Performance Anxiety

Physical Expression for singers

Rehearse: repertoire for solo performance #3

Week 11

Nov. 20, 22, 23

Rehearse: repertoire for solo performance #3

Solo Performance #3

Rehearsal journal, score study, and post-performance reflection due Nov. 29

Week 12

Nov. 27





Nov. 29, 30

Solo Performance #3, cont.

Rehearsal journal, score study, and post-performance reflection due Nov. 29

Assignment #3: Final Reflection, due Nov. 29



Week 13

Dec. 4

Dec. 7


Written Test (time TBC)