Voice Technique 101


Authored by Anne Peckham


Course Code: OVOIC-140

Next semester starts September 23

12 Weeks

Level 1

Level 1

3-Credit Tuition


Non-Credit Tuition


Voice training is the secret to success for many contemporary vocal artists. Voice Technique 101 is an introductory course designed to teach you how to make your voice sound more powerful, how to use vocal technique to expand your range and expression, and how to become more confident in vocal performances. This course is a fantastic option for those seeking voice lessons for beginners, and is an ideal starting point for anyone wanting to make the most of online voice training. 

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Through guided study using video demonstrations, animated illustrations, and hundreds of recorded examples, the course explores how to sing with more freedom, sing simple harmonies, have better breath control, and understand how to take care of your voice. You will work with melody prep tracks designed to teach you melodic independence as well as sing-along tracks with rhythm section accompaniment. You'll learn effective warm-up and practice routines, and ways to address performance anxiety, move on stage, and use microphones. As your voice training progresses, you'll gain the skills to sing in various styles with greater facility and awareness.

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Sing with consistent, accurate intonation
  • Develop coordinated breath support to help stamina and increase control
  • Demonstrate a free-tone quality with minimum tension
  • Establish beneficial practice habits to help growth and development
  • Take care of your voice
  • Use simple melodic embellishment
  • Sing in harmony
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Lesson 1: Developing Good Breath Support

  • Mental Focus
  • Breathing Mirror Check
  • Making Music Vocal
  • Health Forum
  • Environmental Effects
  • Assignment 1: "My Lord, What a Morning"

Lesson 2: Developing Your Vocal Sound

  • Enhancing Tone Quality with Resonance
  • Registers
  • Balanced Tone
  • Vibrato
  • Assignment 2: "Evergreen"

Lesson 3: Anatomy/Health

  • Vocal Anatomy
  • Vocal Health
  • Vocal Pathology
  • Vocal Use, Abuse, and Care
  • Mirror Check
  • Assignment 3: "Jazz Ballad" Etude

Lesson 4: Developing an Effective Practice Routine

  • Building a Balanced Practice Routine
  • Warming Up
  • Technique Study
  • Song Study
  • Cool Down
  • Vocal Study Journal
  • Developing Independence
  • Assignment 4: "Scarborough Fair" or "How Can I Keep from Singing?"

Lesson 5: Simple Melodic Embellishment

  • Range and Registers
  • Pitch Bends
  • Note Embellishments
  • Mirror Check
  • Vocal Health Forum
  • Assignment 5: "Amazing Grace"

Lesson 6: Effective Diction for Singing

  • Good Diction and Ease in Singing
  • Speaking and Singing
  • Vowels
  • Consonants
  • Accents
  • Extra Vocal Sounds
  • Microphone Use
  • Style in Singing
  • Vocal Health Forum
  • Mirror Check
  • Assignment 6: "She Wore a Yellow Ribbon"

Lesson 7: Singing Harmony

  • Creating a Harmony Part
  • The Importance of Listening
  • Diction Challenge
  • Style: Vibrato
  • Simple Interpretation in Complex Music
  • Mirror Check
  • Vocal Health Forum
  • Assignment 7: Harmony Singing

Lesson 8: Advanced Breath Management

  • Shortness of Breath
  • Clear Tone
  • Mirror Check
  • Facial Expressions
  • Vocal Health Forum
  • Assignment 8: "Wayfaring Stranger"

Lesson 9: Performance Polish

  • Adding Dynamics
  • Use it or Lose it
  • Mirror Check
  • Vocal Health Forum
  • Working Out with Style
  • Improving Your Connection with the Audience
  • Moving on Stage
  • Performance Anxiety Solutions
  • Assignment 9: "Ain't Nobody's Bizness"

Lesson 10: Flexibility, Control, Stamina

  • Motivation
  • Performance Anxiety
  • Mirror Check
  • Vocal Health Forum
  • Muscle Control
  • Assignment 10: Latin Vocalise

Lesson 11: The Essential Building Blocks of Vocal Training

  • Practice
  • Patience
  • Perseverance
  • Play
  • Mirror Check
  • Vocal Health Forum
  • Assignment 11: "The Water is Wide"

Lesson 12: The Grand Finale

  • Summary and Review, Putting It Together
  • Expression
  • Posture
  • Active Breathing
  • Assignment 12: "House of the Rising Sun" or Your Choice!


Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements 

Prerequisite Courses, Knowledge, and/or Skills

  • A healthy voice and the capacity to match pitch and sing in tune
  • Ability to read music recommended but not required



  • Students are required to record video while performing with a backing track for their assignments. Options for recording video include:
    • Smartphone
    • Digital camera
    • Webcam (using either video recording software, or the video recording tool that is built into the learning environment)


  • Students are required to capture their performance, as well as monitor audio output. Options include:
    • Input (one required):
      • XLR microphone and audio interface (recommended option)
      • USB microphone
      • Built-in computer/mobile device microphone
    • Output (one required):
      • Headphones (required if multitracking and/or input monitoring)
      • Studio monitors and audio interface
      • Built-in or external speakers
  • Note: Depending on your setup, you may also need an XLR cable, microphone stand, and pop filter.
  • Recommended: Printer, if you would like to print out examples used in the course.

Student Deals
After enrolling, be sure to check out our Student Deals page for various offers on software, hardware, and more. Please contact support@online.berklee.edu with any questions.

General Course Requirements

Below are the minimum requirements to access the course environment and participate in Live Classes. Please make sure to also check the Prerequisites and Course-Specific Requirements section above, and ensure your computer meets or exceeds the minimum system requirements for all software needed for your course. 

Mac Users

PC Users

All Users

  • Latest version of Google Chrome
  • Zoom meeting software
  • Webcam
  • Speakers or headphones
  • External or internal microphone
  • Broadband Internet connection


Anne Peckham


Anne Peckham is a singer, voice teacher, and author, whose work has influenced popular singing pedagogy worldwide. A professor in the Voice department at Berklee College of Music, Anne teaches private voice lessons and develops curricular materials for "Elements of Vocal Technique," a required course for all vocal students. Her work at the college, which has included Berklee's Musical Theater Workshop and the Berklee Concert Choir, has helped enrich the musical experience of hundreds of students over the years.

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Anne has traveled extensively as a voice clinician and adjudicator for song and choral festivals in North America, Mexico, and Europe. Her master classes and vocal pedagogy seminars for students and teachers embrace the foundations of good vocal technique, while building skills in rock, jazz, pop, and R'n'B music. She is a member of the National Association of Teachers of Singing and served as vice president on the Boston chapter's board of directors.

Anne sang with the Tanglewood Festival chorus for four years, performing on two recordings with the Boston Pops, including a featured solo in their televised Gilbert and Sullivan presentation, which aired on PBS. She has performed with regional theater companies, has worked as a professional soloist with area church choirs, and performs frequently in recital and cabaret venues. In 2006 Anne appeared in the TV reality series Trial by Choir, a show featured on the Learning Channel. Additionally, she was featured on the children's television show Fetch in 2007.

Anne is the author Vocal Workouts for the Contemporary Singer, The Contemporary Singer: Elements of Vocal Technique, Berklee in the Pocket: Singer's Handbook, and the instructional DVD Vocal Technique: Developing Your Voice for Performance.

For more information, please visit: www.annepeckham.com Read Less

Sharon Brown


Sharon Brown has been a singer, conductor, and teacher in the Boston area for almost 25 years. She is currently an associate professor in the Voice department at Berklee College of Music, where she teaches vocal technique classes, the musical theater workshop, and vocal pedagogy, as well as private students. She has also taught at Simmons College, the Boston Conservatory, and Northeastern University. Her performing credits as a mezzo-soprano include many years with Boston Lyric Opera Chorus.

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She has also sung with Boston Academy, Intermezzo Chamber Opera, and Salisbury Lyric Opera, in addition to singing oratorio with several orchestras in the area. As a conductor, she founded and led the Boston Conservatory Women's Chorus for seven years, and just recently retired after 20 years as the music director for the Fisk Methodist Church in Natick. She also conducted the Simmons College Choral for four years and led the Masterworks Choral in two of their "Summer Sings." She holds a bachelor's and master's degree in vocal performance from the Boston Conservatory, where she studied with Elisabeth Phinney. Read Less

Cassandre McKinley


Boston born and bred, Cassandre McKinley started a career in film and television upon entering her freshman year of high school. By 16, she had already signed with a New York talent agent, began taking weekly private voice instruction, and attended a long series of intensive music programs specializing in voice performance. After high school, she attended The Boston Conservatory where she majored in Musical Theater and minored in Voice. Cassandre's accomplished career now spans over three decades as a professional singer, dancer, actress, voice-over artist, and print model.

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Cassandre is best known for her powerhouse voice and ability to cross genres effortlessly. She is celebrated for her spirited and emotional performances with a presence on stage that is exuberant and passionate yet warm and disarming. She has performed and/or recorded with greats such as Dick Johnson (Artie Shaw Orchestra), Clay Osborne, Bernard "Pretty" Purdie, Jay Geils, Fred Lipsius (Blood, Sweat and Tears), Jerry Portnoy (Eric Clapton), and the legendary Herb Pomeroy, among others. After self-releasing several commendatory straight-ahead jazz albums, Cassandre drew from deeper influences of her youth and revealed a more “soulful” sounding jazz album in remembrance of the late Marvin Gaye.

She has toured nationally and overseas. Her music can be heard on over 500 national and international radio stations, cable and internet music outlets including iHeartRadio, Spotify, Pandora and XM Radio. Cassandre holds a position as assistant professor in the Voice department at Berklee College of Music teaching both on campus and online. She continues to tour regularly as both a headliner and featured artist. She is in production on a new recording set to be released in the fall of 2017. Read Less

What's Next?

When taken for credit, Voice Technique 101 can be applied towards the completion of these related programs:

Related Degree Major


Contact our Academic Advisors by phone at 1-866-BERKLEE (U.S.), 1-617-747-2146 (INT'L), or by email at advisors@online.berklee.edu.

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