The College of Arts and Architecture


Voice Audition Checklist:

1. Apply to the University.
2. Request an audition at the School of Music website:
3. Return School of Music voice student background form.*

*Note: Incomplete files will be at a disadvantage.


When you come to audition, you'll get to meet students and faculty, see our music buildings and enjoy our beautiful campus and town.  You are encouraged to come a day early to sit in on classes and interact with our students. 

 As for the voice audition itself, there are several parts to the day:

(1)We listen to each singer in his or her prepared audition material and fill out evaluation sheets that address aspects such as tone, posture, breathing, communication, musicality, etc.  We will also be very interested to look through your file and learn about your musical accomplishments.

(2) Candidates who seem like the best match for our program are called back for individual mini-lessons and interviews.  The lessons are a chance for us to work technically on certain aspects of your earlier performance, give us a chance to see how you respond to instruction, and give you a chance to see what voice study at Penn State might be like.  In the interview we will be interested to learn more about the specific goals and background of each singer.  Singers who are called back also have a brief aural skills session that includes basic tonal memory and sight-reading.

Optional Friday Schedule
12:10-1:20    Concert Choir (room 110, Music Building 1)
2:30-3:20    Common Hour (Esber Recital Hall)
3:30-4:30    Voice Forum (room 110, Music Building I)

Saturday Schedule      
9:00    Registration
9:30    General Meeting (Esber Recital Hall)
10:00-1:00    Singing Auditions (room 110, Music Building I)
1:30-4:00    Lessons, interviews (on a call-back basis)

While it takes the better part of the day to get through these various steps, we like to get to know our potential students as well as possible — and think you probably want to get to know us as well as you can, too. 

Note: We are no longer accepting recorded auditions.  Also, we generally do not give feedback after auditions.  A prospective or current student is limited to two audition attempts.

Auditionees should prepare three memorized songs from the standard classical vocal literature (contrasting styles, at least one in English and one in Italian).  The material need not be excessively demanding, but should show a breadth of abilities (agility, legato, range, etc.) and complement your current level of skill and technique.  We will be interested in vocal and musical ability that show promise of successful college-level study, including clarity and vibrancy of tone, appropriate musical expression and communication, and keen musicianship.  Musical theatre, or repertoire in other non-classical styles, is not appropriate for these auditions.

Note: Transfer students should also furnish a list of repertoire previously studied.

VOICE AREA / FACULTY                                                              
Our seven resident voice faculty teach approximately 50 voice majors (graduate and undergraduate) and about 50 musical theatre majors (though these students audition and matriculate through the School of Theatre).  It's a very open, sharing, and cohesive department, and students who come here work closely with each of the voice faculty in some capacity during their degree.  In addition to teaching studio voice, each of us also teaches courses in a related area:          

Ted Christopher, Opera Theatre
Richard Kennedy, Lyric Diction, Area Coordinator
Beverly Patton, Music Theatre Voice, Opera Theatre
Mary Saunders, Music Theatre Voice and Pedagogy 
Raymond Sage, Music Theatre Voice
Norman Spivey, Voice Pedagogy
Jennifer Trost, Voice and Vocal Literature

(There are links to each of us on the School of Music web page,, in case you’d like to have biographical and/or contact information.)

We have a weekly Voice Forum:  it's a voice area performance class for which students sign up to sing.  Something we like very much about our Forum is that a teacher other than your regular studio instructor provides feedback and coaching.  It’s another chance for our students to gain input from a variety of sources, and a chance for our colleagues to continue learning from each other.  The way we set out to learn from and share with each other is very special, and is something that we think enables our students to learn and grow together in a demanding, supportive and nurturing environment.  There are, of course, lots of other performing opportunities for motivated students, as well:  Common Hour, Choirs (seven major choral ensembles, plus several smaller choirs), Opera Theatre, School of Music / School of Theatre Musicals and Operettas, Thespians, Bach’s Lunch, Concerto Competition, Recitals, Master Classes (with visiting national and international artists), NATS-sponsored events, Juries, also several off-campus organizations and events.