College of Music

University of Colorado Boulder

Vocal Pedagogy

The voice area of the College of Music at CU has a history of sound pedagogical training, starting with the work of Berton Coffin, who researched vowel formants with Pierre Delattre. Dr. Coffin wrote several books espousing the teaching of voice based on sound scientific principles and is famous for his vowel chart showing how vowel modification works in the various voice types. One of his students, Dr. Barbara Doscher, carried on the tradition through her vocal pedagogy book, The Functional Unity of the Singing Voice, and through her development of both practical and theoretical pedagogy courses still taught at CU. Barbara Doscher was well-known for her excellent training of all voice types, and also for her training of prospective voice teachers.

Dr. Doscher’s student, Dr. Patti Peterson, carries on the tradition of teaching singers and educators at CU-Boulder. Professor Patrick Mason also worked with Dr. Doscher and incorporates some of her ideas in his teaching. The voice area is honored that past and present faculty members have been selected and served as National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Master Teachers:  former CU professors Julie Simson (chosen in 2001) and Robert Harrison (chosen 2002), and the late Dr. Barbara Doscher (chosen in 1991 and 1992).

The voice area prides itself in not only producing excellent singers and teachers, but in the unusual congeniality and aesthetic agreement among its faculty. Every member of the voice faculty has well-grounded knowledge of how the voice works, both anatomically and acoustically, and students receive fine instruction from any faculty member with whom they choose to study. The voice area’s open-studio policy allows and encourages students to observe lessons with teachers other than the student’s assigned teacher.

Degree Programs in Pedagogy

The following degrees are offered in vocal performance and pedagogy:
MM in voice performance and pedagogy
DMA in voice performance and pedagogy


Teaching Opportunities

In addition to course work, graduate students have opportunities to teach voice in the university’s Continuing Education program. This program is available for students who have prior approval from their teacher and have passed or tested out of the vocal pedagogy seminar class.