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Final Comprehensive Examination Guidelines - Doctor of Musical Arts - Voice Performance

Final Comprehensive Examination Guidelines - Doctor of Musical Arts - Voice Performance

All DMA students are advised to read and consult the College of Music DMA handbook throughout the course of their program. The student has sole responsibility for understanding and abiding by policy and procedures contained therein:


Students completing the Doctor of Musical Arts in Voice Performance must pass written and oral comprehensive examinations.

These exams may be taken no more than three times. Failing and retaking the exam may delay projected graduation; a third failure will result in failing the program.

In order to pass these examinations, students must demonstrate a professional breadth and depth of knowledge related to all areas of classical vocal performance and pedagogy. DMA candidates will refer to the MM Oral Exam Study Guide found in the Voice Handbook as a starting point in their preparation for their qualifying examinations. In addition to the points of preparation detailed in that document, doctoral students must demonstrate an appropriate understanding of vocal technique, as well as of anatomy and physiology of the larynx, respiratory system, etc. Candidates will also be expected to define characteristic musical terminology and discuss the significance of notable personages (singers, conductors, coaches, poets, etc., both past and present) as related to classical vocal performance. Candidates are encouraged to discuss preparation for these exams directly with their major and related field professors.

The written portion of the qualifying exam will consist of essays, short answer questions, score identification/analysis, I.P.A. transcription/rules of lyric diction, and creation of sample recitals for various voice types. Students are advised to budget their time in the exam to address each question as thoroughly as possible. The exam will be written and graded by the major professor, in consultation with the voice faculty. The schedule for the written portion of the exam will be as follows:

Day 1 - Major Area
Hour 1: Essay (Art Song)
Hour 2: Essay (Orchestral works for voice – opera, oratorio, etc.)
Hour 3: Short Answer and identification (Terms and Personages)

Hour 4: Diction (transcription/rules exam)
Hour 5: Recital Building
Hour 6: Pedagogy (Short answer exam/terms, concepts, etc.)

Day 2
Three hour exam in the Related Field. The form of the exam is up to the related field advisor.

The oral portion of the examination will be administered by a committee of three faculty members. The committee typically consists of the major professor (usually the student’s voice instructor), the related field professor, and another faculty member from the Division of Vocal Studies. Candidates are responsible for scheduling the time and location for this exam directly with the committee members. In this examination, candidates may ask the committee members for clarification of questions posed; one clarification request per question is allowed, after which the student will either attempt an answer or ask for a new question (in which case the previous question will be considered failed). Weaknesses or omissions from the written exam will form a portion of the oral exam.

These exams are scheduled only at specific times during the semester that are published at the beginning of classes. Consult with the graduate office for specific dates.