Columbus State University

Schwob School of Music - Vocal Arts Area

Columbus, GA USA

Style & Level

Musical Theatre
High School

Quick Facts

  • Degrees Offered: Bachelors, Master
  • In-State Tuition (per semester): $5,001 - $10,000
  • Out-of-State Tuition (per semester): $15,001 - $25,000


The Vocal Arts Area of the Schwob School of Music at Columbus State University offers an engaging experience featuring a wide variety and large number of performing experiences for all vocal majors. Vocal students have the benefit of nationally recognized faculty, world-class facilities, and the individual attention required for each student to recognize and obtain their full potential as a musician. Artistry and professionalism are cultivated throughout the unique curriculum with mentored guidance by our voice faculty. Vocal Faculty promote working together to create an environment that nourishes and supports professional and personal growth.

Undergraduate and graduate students have the opportunity to sing varied and iconic repertoire of choral history with full orchestra; perform major roles in musical theater and operatic literature; sing annually with the guitar studio; perform as soloists in studio class, convocation, and studio recitals; as well as perform in small ensembles such as the Percussion Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, and the Contemporary Music Ensemble as need and interests allow. The Schwob School of Music Choral Activities features a regular relationship with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, the professional orchestra of Southwest Georgia, and the Schwob Philharmonic Orchestra comprised of Schwob instrumental students. These valuable symbiotic relationships allow vocal students frequent opportunity to sing the staples of the choral/orchestral masterwork repertoire and preference is given to student soloists whenever appropriate for vocal development. Vocalists at Schwob benefit from the equally fantastic instrumental studios and ensembles, which adds depth to their musical education and broadens their future professional network. Schwob Opera Theatre provides a comprehensive program of training and experiences. Undergraduate and graduate students have the opportunity to perform in full opera productions, chamber operas, scenes, and concert events across our community. Schwob Opera Orchestra collaborates with our ensembles as part of our mainstage productions in Bill Heard Theatre.

A jewel of the Southeast, The RiverCenter Performing Arts Center was funded by the community of Columbus, GA. The performing complex serves as a cultural center for West-Central Georgia and includes Studio Theatre, Legacy Hall, and Bill Heard Theatre. The Schwob School of Music operates in Studio Theatre, a blackbox theatre featuring a convertible space, and Legacy Hall, a gorgeous recital hall with absolutely wonderful acoustics for singing. The acoustics are so good, musicians from around the world come to Legacy Hall to record. Bill Heard Theatre is operated by the RiverCenter for the Performing Arts and is the home of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra. Not only does the RiverCenter offer regular performances by a professional orchestra, it also houses touring musicals, ballets, comedians, and pop music concerts.

The curriculum for vocal music majors at the Schwob School of Music is unique. Music education majors are able to serve as paid interns or volunteers working with the children's choir Voices of the Valley, under the direction of Schwob choral music educator, Dr. Michelle Folta. Students gain real world experience working with the choirs, facilitating rehearsals, and communicating with parents. All vocal majors take a comprehensive Lyric Diction course sequence across their first two years. These courses help them learn the rules and phonetic symbols of the International Phonetic Alphabet to enable them to sing with exceptional clarity, impactful artistry, and precision in English, French, Italian, and German. Most competing universities offer less coursework in diction, while we believe it is part of the important foundation for young singers to develop their skills for all career paths.

The focus on stage work begins in the freshman year with the class "Intro to the Lyric Stage" and is required of both music education and music performance majors. Also required of education and performance majors is a two part series of classes in vocal pedagogy, which teaches students how the voice functions and how to effectively teach vocal lessons. The music department at CSU has an open relationship with the theatre department, regularly collaborating on musical theatre productions. Both departments offer exchanges in order to provide a Musical Theatre Performance Certificate involving study in voice, theatre, and dance to music and theatre majors.

In addition to its focus on the choral/orchestral masterworks, the choral department features a chamber choir, the Schwob Singers, which sings the a cappella and accompanied repertoire of the medieval era through to present day. This ensemble performs frequently in Columbus and its surrounding cities, and will sing at Carnegie Hall (NYC) in April 2020. Music education and performance majors have a unique opportunity for professional development in our community with our opera outreach program, which brings a traveling opera production to life for elementary school children and families across our area. Internationally renowned guest artists are brought to the Schwob School of Music to work with our students in master classes to provide a unique artistic opportunity to learn about the variety of career paths.

Opportunities for students beyond the music department include the Honors College and Study Abroad experiences through the Center for Global Engagement. The honors college offers generous scholarships to top students, often including a study abroad stipend. Generally, the honors program of study augments the breadth of scholarship and provides additional opportunities for students. Study abroad programs are popular among music students, as it is a global field. Music faculty have hosted international trips to Denmark, Paris, Oxford, Berlin, and Italy (Florence) over the past several years. Students gain a global perspective and travel skills necessary to facilitate their own future travel or planning tours for their future student ensembles as educators.

Graduates of the Schwob School of Music are singing around the world and our music education majors enjoy a one hundred percent placement rate upon graduation. Due to our emphasis on professionalism and individuality, vocal students have created successful careers beyond singing and teaching. Although we have many successful music educators changing the landscape of Georgia's music education, we have also produced musicologists, choral conductors, music ministers, gospel choir directors, and speech pathologists. Students have attended such prestigious graduate schools in music as Indiana University, Rice University (TX), University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Southern Methodist University (TX), University of California at Santa Barbara, Bowling Green State University (OH), University of South Carolina among others. Our students have won numerous prizes for their singing at the state, regional, and national levels of the NATS and MTNA competitions (Click here for a detailed list/ Link: Auditioned positions in summer study programs have included Si parla, si canta! (Italy), AIMS in Graz (Austria), Accademia Europea Di Firenze: School of Language, Art, Music, and Culture, Bel Canto Institute (Florence, Italy), Festival of International Opera of the Americas (Brazil), International Festival of the Adriatic (Italy), Middlebury Language Schools (Middlebury, Vermont), Harrower Summer Opera Workshop (Georgia State University), Torggler Summer Vocal Institute (Newport News, VA), Voice Works (Port Townsend, Washington), and Opera Works (Northridge, CA). Graduates of the Schwob School have sung in major opera houses across the globe including the Metropolitan Opera Company, New York City Opera, Komische Oper Berlin, Wolf Trap Opera Company, Houston Grand Opera, San Francisco Opera, and the Glyndebourne Festival.

Undergraduate students in the Vocal Arts Area at the Schwob School of Music are in one of three degree programs:

Bachelor of Arts

Bachelor of Music in Music Education

Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance

Students in all degree programs receive a full hour lesson each week, thirty minutes of which are accompanied by a staff pianist. The vocal faculty have equally high expectations for students in each degree program.

Certificate of Music Theatre Performance: audition required for current music majors.

Post Baccalaureate in Music Education: This program prepares students for certification in music education and students must already have obtained a degree in music.


Graduate students may choose from three programs of study:

MM in Vocal Performance

MM in Choral Conducting (PDF)

Artists Diploma (non-degree track)


Schwob School of Music Vocal Arts Program

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