The voice area of the College of Music at CU has a long history and lineage of sound pedagogical training. Past Directors of Vocal Pedagogy at CU Boulder include Berton Coffin and Barbara Doscher, two of the foremost leaders of vocal pedagogy in the 20th century.
The current Director of Vocal Pedagogy, Dr. John Clayton Seesholtz, has continued this lineage of Pedagogy at CU by opening the Berton Coffin Voice Lab in 2018 and developing the Singing-Health Specialist Certificate (Fall 2020). As both a published scholar and performing artist, his professional activities are largely split between two areas of foci, “CU has a split foci for graduate study in both pedagogy and performance. This means that our graduates who obtain a pedagogy and performance masters or doctorate are held to the same artistic standard as those completing degrees in performance only.” As both a published scholar in the Journal of Singing and performing artist under artistic management, Dr. Seesholtz embodies the characteristics CU hopes to promote in the field of Vocal Pedagogy.
His current positions include:
- President of the CO-WY National Association of Teachers of Singing
- Colorado District Governor and Board Member of West-Central Regional NATS
- Resident Artist/Recitalist with Art Song Colorado (Formerly, DASP)
- Lecturer and Instructor with the Italian based summer opera program, La Musica Lirica
- Lecturer and Instructor with the Chicago based summer program, Up North Vocal Institute
- Managed Opera Singer, Musica Grande Artists
- Managing Co-Director, Composer Fellows' Initiative with CU NOW
- Vocal Pedagogy at CU
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.
In addition to course work, graduate students have opportunities to teach voice in the university’s Continuing Education program, as well as, through the CU Vocal Pedagogy program as a Graduate Teaching Assistant. Assistantships are granted to experienced Graduate Students and Guaranteed to second year DMA students.
Berton Coffin Voice Lab
In the Fall of 2018, Dr. John Seesholtz, John Davis and Peggy Hinton facilitated the opening of the Berton Coffin Voice Lab. The voice lab includes the program voce vista and electroglotograph technologies that help students understand acoustic science, vocal adduction rates, and facilitates research in the field. The lab also includes a full-length weighted keyboard. The Voce Vista Software is considered one of the most reliable programs for acoustic analysis. Students now have access to the voice lab, and a graduate assistant has been assigned to the lab (four hours a week) to help assist in the use of the program.
Singing-Health Certificate (Beginning Fall 2020)
In the past ten years, the study of vocal pedagogy has broadened to encompass choral, pop, musical theater and other contemporary styles. This has been particularly exemplified in the area of acoustic science lead by vocal pedagogues throughout the country. A similar yet slower progression has been seen in voice music academia. If voice teachers/vocal pedagogues hope to be inclusive of a broader spectrum of music styles outside of opera, a shift towards a vocal-health based approach in pedagogy is imperative to the future of voice instruction.
The Singing Health Specialist certificate incorporates study of Speech-Language Pathology, Vocal Pedagogy, Alexander Technique and Sports Psychology. This program can be completed by current CU students in addition to their graduate or undergraduate studies.
- BME Choral General
- BME Choral
- MM Voice Performance and Pedagogy
- DMA Voice Performance and Pedagogy
John Seesholtz, dramatic baritone, is currently the director of vocal pedagogy at CU Boulder, president of the COWY National Association of Teachers of Singing (Colorado Governor), resident artist with Denver Art Song Project, and instructor at two young artist programs: La Musica Lirica and Up North Vocal Institute. Seesholtz has published two articles with the Journal of Singing, “The Origin of the Verdi Baritone,” which was recently featured and quoted on the MET Opera Podcast, and “The AIDS Quilt Songbook and It’s Uncollected Works.” Seesholtz holds vocal performance and pedagogy degrees from University of Michigan (MM), University of Texas at San Antonio (BM) and the University of North Texas (DMA). While working on his doctorate, Seesholtz was awarded the Graduate Music Student of the Year award from University of North Texas. Read more about Dr. Seesholtz on his bio.