Voice Concentrations are expected to complete the Concentration Proficiency Exam at the end of their sixth semester of voice study. The exam is in lieu of the regular jury, but occurs during jury week.
Students must prepare eight memorized selections. The repertoire presented for the exam can include up to three pieces learned in the previous semesters. At the start of the Proficiency Exam, the student will choose one piece. Three additional pieces will be chosen by the faculty, and the student may then perform the total of four pieces in any order. Additionally, the students must present a list of all repertoire they have learned during their study in the degree.
Music Education majors must present two pieces each in English, German, French, and Italian. Their repertoire list must contain at least 26 selections, with a minimum of 5 selections in each of the following languages: English, German, French, and Italian.
Music Composition, Music History, or Music Theory majors must present at least two pieces in English, two pieces in Italian, one piece in French, and one piece in German, with the remaining pieces in English or some other language (e.g., Latin, Russian, Spanish.) Their repertoire list must contain at least 26 selections, with a minimum of 3 selections in each of the following languages: English, German, French, and Italian.
For approval, students must receive a score of 19 points or higher (out of a possible 25) with no score of 2 or lower in any category. The student must receive a simple majority of approval votes from the juror panel (including the studio teacher) to pass the examination. The studio teacher's vote will count as part of the approval process, but the studio teacher's score will not factor into the jury grade.
In order to have a successful exam the student must show clear evidence of very good to excellent musical preparation and memorization with few, if any missteps: correct rhythms, pitches, text, diction, and musicality. They must demonstrate that they sing consistently in tune and with an appropriate use of a natural vibrato. There must be clear and regular evidence in all selections that the student is able to produce a voice that demonstrates the timbre appropriate for bel canto singing: chiaroscuro. There must also be clear evidence that the singer is committed to a stylistically appropriate interpretation of each piece, with the ability to convincingly communicate the meaning of the words being sung as well as the musical phrase. The student will either pass or fail the Proficiency Exam, and the final letter grade for the semester will be given by the studio teacher.
Students who do not pass the Concentration Proficiency Exam may retake the exam after an appropriate period of additional study as recommended by the voice faculty.