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Two nuns talking - a scene from our production of Sister Act.

Frequently Asked Questions

Vocal Performance


How will I find out who my voice teacher is?

Students sing a diagnostic on the first week of school for the full-time faculty. The faculty carefully evaluates which voice studio would be best suited for each student, taking into account the nuances of each particular voice and the needs related to technical development and singing style. Should a student wish to request a specific instructor, the faculty panel will take the request into consideration. However, requests cannot always be honored due to studio size and availability limitations. 

Are vocal performance students guaranteed to perform in productions? What kind of performance opportunities will I get?

Students have the opportunity to audition for any and all of our productions (Opera, Musical Theatre, and Contemporary Vocal Performances) regardless of their specific area of study. The program is committed to providing opportunities for students to participate in productions, however performance opportunities are extracurricular and  therefore not guaranteed. Student participation is also not required. That being said, students are required to audition for productions because the audition serves a dual purpose. Firstly, it serves as the audition for the productions. Secondly, it provides the student the opportunity to be heard by the voice faculty for a brief assessment of vocal progress. 

While the season changes from year to year in regards to how many productions and the types of productions offered, it can include any of the following (in no specific order):

2 Musicals (one in the Fall and one in the Spring)
1 Chamber Opera
1 Opera 
1 Broadway Orchestra Concert

In addition, the program offers opportunities for students to participate in smaller productions of various works in various genres as well as workshops of new works.

Is this a performance program? Why is it part of the Steinhardt School?

New York University's "school of music" has historically been housed in the Steinhardt School, beginning in 1925, and has become a part of both the structure and tradition of NYU. Vocal Performance - like its sister programs in piano, strings, brass, wind, percussion, and jazz studies - is indeed a performance program. It offers conservatory-like training within the context of a demanding liberal arts curriculum. 

Do music theatre students take classical voice classes? Do classical students take music theatre classes?

Vocal Performance is a hybrid program and provides students with the opportunity to train across genres while declaring a specific concentration track. All students take voice lessons focusing on efficiency, sustainability, and appropriateness of style. Students in one concentration are also encouraged to sing at least one song in a different style, and students with interests in more than one style can have their lessons tailored to their vocal needs. Music theatre and classical voice students do have separate requirements to graduate, and there are some classes that are only open to a particular concentration track. Therefore, it is important to talk to an advisor prior to applying to a specific concentration track when in doubt of which concentration to declare. 

What courses will I take to complete my degree?

Links to the curriculum requirements for each degree offered through this program can be found on the individual Degree Details pages.

How do I apply to NYU?

To apply for undergraduate study, please visit the Office of Undergraduate Admissions website, or call 212-998-4500. 

To apply for graduate study, please visit Steinhardt's Office of Graduate Admissions website, or call 212-998-5030.

Is it possible to begin the course of study in the spring semester?

While it may complicate certain course sequences, undergraduate students can begin their studies in the spring semester as transfer students. Graduate students in classical voice may apply to the program and begin in the Spring semester. However, the graduate musical theatre concentration track is not quite as flexible due to sequential courses; therefore, applications are only open for fall acceptance each year.   

How do I arrange an audition? What is required in the audition?

Students must first apply to New York University through either Undergraduate Admissions or Graduate Admissions. Please then visit the How to Apply page of your chosen degree for your next steps.

For the 2020-2021 application cycle, if we require an audition following the review of your prescreening submission, you will be sent an email invitation with several choices of dates on which to appear. Auditions will be held on Zoom.

I have some live video recording from concerts. Can I use them as pre-screening materials? 

It is important that you submit two contrasting songs with a piano as specified on our website. Be sure to submit material with good audio quality that will allow adjudicators to hear your voice without much interference from overall noise from a live performance. If you have a live recording and you are unsure if the quality will be sufficient to demonstrate your vocal abilities clearly, we encourage you to submit it as additional material to the required pre-screening materials.

How do I apply for financial aid?

Please visit the Financial Aid Office or call 212-998-4444 for financial aid information.

What types of financial aid are offered? Does the program offer assistantships?

NYU offers need-based aid, as determined by the FAFSA and the CSS Profile. NYU Steinhardt occasionally offers merit-based talent scholarships. This requires no additional application, and notification about scholarships occurs along with your admissions decision. Keep in mind that NYU is a tuition-driven institution and students who apply for FAFSA normally receive some type of financial support from the school. If you haven’t received any along with your offer letter, you may reach out to the graduate admissions office directly to check and also to see what other options might be available for you. 

What is the difference between Tisch Music Theatre and Steinhardt Music Theatre?

Steinhardt offers a Bachelor of Music (BM) in Vocal Performance, with a Concentration in Music Theatre. Tisch offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Drama with a Concentration in Music Theatre. Steinhardt offers a foundation in the Steinhardt Liberal Arts CORE, infused with music theory, aural comprehension, and music history, and emphasizes sustainable vocalism, acting, and dance. Tisch BFA operates on a studio-based curriculum, where three days a week are focused on singing, acting and dance, and two days are focused on the Liberal Arts Core. For more details, see Steinhardt Music Theatre’s curriculum, and Tisch Music Theatre’s curriculum. Both are equally reputable and well-respected pre-professional programs in the theatre industry.

Who do I talk to about TOEFL exams and scores? I’ve taken the exam before, do I have to take it again specifically for NYU?

Reach out to Luke Mariotti from the Graduate Admissions office. You may reach him via email at

Are there non-degree programs or special workshops offered?

The program offers two-week summer workshops in both music theatre and classical voice that are open to both visiting college students and pre-college students. The workshops include acting classes, song analysis (how to act a song), dance training, private vocal coachings, and a performance at the end of the three weeks. Private voice lessons are also available. In order to participate students must have completed their junior year of high school and must be sixteen years old. We also offer a two-week Contemporary Vocal Workshop.


Is it possible to apply for early decision?

Undergraduate applicants can apply for early decision. Information in regard to that process can be obtained from Undergraduate Admissions. 

How long will it take to complete my degree as a transfer student?

If you are offered admission as an undergraduate transfer student, there are two factors that determine how long it will take you to complete your degree at NYU. These factors are 1) the number of completed credits that NYU will accept and apply to your curriculum requirements and 2) the number of semesters of private voice the faculty adjudicators decide you must take in order to complete your degree. Completed semesters of private voice at another institution will not necessarily count toward your degree requirements at NYU. Be aware that while the voice study requirement can be provided to you immediately upon your acceptance, it often takes longer for the University and the Program to assess your transfer credits.


How long does it take to complete the master's degree? Can I transfer in?

It is possible to complete the master’s degree in three semesters. However, most students choose to attend the program for four semesters. You cannot transfer into the master’s program as it is a two-year degree program.

Can I finish the master’s program in Vocal Performance in 3 semesters?

The curriculum is set up in a way that allows for students to conclude the performance master’s in 3 semesters, however, it is not advisable due to the sequential nature of the program being spread out in 4 semesters. Students wishing to contemplate the 3-semester option can discuss it further with their academic advisor upon acceptance into the program and strategize a plan that will allow for that.

Are placement exams mandatory?

Students are required to take placement exams in Music Theory, Aural Comprehension, and Music History. The results of these exams will determine what remedial courses – if any – you will be required to take. The credits for those courses will not count toward the completion of your certificate. These exams will be administered during the first week of classes, and Vocal Performance students are only required to demonstrate proficiency (and take the courses if needed) in Basic Musicianship I and II and Review of Tonal Theory I. No music history remedial courses are needed, even though the exam is mandatory to obtain a baseline level from all students, considering that you will be receiving a master’s in music. 

Can I add Vocal Pedagogy to my degree after being accepted to the master’s program?

Students interested in joining the Dual Degree track by adding the Advanced Certificate in addition to pursuing a master’s in performance can reach out to the program to inquire about the possibility. The pedagogy program is competitive and can only accommodate so many students each year. This post-graduate certificate focuses on the high-performance voice development process by interweaving theory with practice. This program takes a minimum of 4 semesters to complete. Therefore, students who audition to be considered for the Pedagogy program during the first year of their master’s degree need to be aware that by doing this they would be adding an extra year of study (3 years instead of two, being that the first two years would be full time while the third year it would be part time). Candidates in this program are hired by NYU to teach non-major voice lessons (approximately 6 hours/week starting in the second semester in the Pedagogy Program after having earned the grade of a B or higher on Pedagogy I).

For the Pedagogy program, can I video my teaching sample mostly in English but assisting some with a foreign language, if necessary?

Considering that you will be teaching in English if you are accepted in the program, we would prefer a teaching video that allows us to observe your level of  English proficiency while teaching. If that is not possible, we would ask that you please add subtitles with a word-for-word translation of the lesson. The adjudication panel needs to see the steps you take during the lesson and your interaction with the student in guiding them through exercises and giving feedback.