Welcome to voice pedagogy at the University of Colorado Boulder College of Music!

The College of Music voice area has a long history and lineage of sound pedagogical training. Past directors of vocal pedagogy include Berton Coffin and Barbara Doscher, two of the foremost leaders of vocal pedagogy in the 20th century.

Director of Vocal Pedagogy John Seesholtz has continued this lineage of pedagogy at our College of Music by opening the Berton Coffin Voice Lab and developing the Singing Health Specialist Certificate. As both a published scholar and performing artist, his professional activities are largely split between two areas of foci for graduate study in both pedagogy and performance; our graduates who obtain a pedagogy and performance master’s 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 a performing artist under artistic management, Seesholtz embodies the characteristics the College of Music promotes 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 Italy-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 (CU NOW)

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 coursework, graduate students have opportunities to teach voice in the university’s Continuing Education program, as well as—through the College of Music 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 2018, John Seesholtz, John Davis and Peggy Hinton facilitated the opening of the Berton Coffin Voice Lab. The voice lab includes the program VoceVista and electroglotograph technologies that help students understand acoustic science and vocal adduction rates, and facilitates research in the field. The lab also includes a full-length weighted keyboard. The VoceVista 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 to help assist in the use of the program.

Singing Health Specialist Certificate 

In the past 10 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 toward a vocal health based approach in pedagogy is imperative to the future of voice instruction.

The College of Music’s 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 Boulder 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 SeesholtzJohn Seesholtz

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 earned 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. MORE