Red X iconGreen tick iconYellow tick icon


    Lead vocals are the mainstay of most modern songs. The process that transpires from written lyric to a recorded voice requires a specific understanding of the interaction between a ‘voice’, the translation of an emotion or message to an audience and the producer. This synergy appears at the recording stage of a song.

    This course addresses both technical and pragmatic issues relating to vocal performance in recording studio contexts. Through a series of lectures and practical workshops, students will develop an understanding of the accumulative processes required by commercial vocal demands.

    About this paper

    Paper title Special Topic: Vocal Performance & Recording
    Subject Music
    EFTS 0.15
    Points 18 points
    Teaching period Not offered in 2024 (On campus)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $1,173.30
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    18 100-level points
    Schedule C
    Arts and Music
    Prerequisite include 100 level in either contemporary, musical theatre or classical voice.  For other students wanting to take this paper who have not had voice training, they can also audition or submit proof of their experience singing/performing or recording.

    There will be an essay component in the course worth 30%.

    Mr David Harrison

    Teaching staff

    Mr David Harrison
    Ms Arlie McCormick

    Paper Structure
    1. Vocal Staging
    2. Vocal Anatomy and Breathing for Singers
    3. Styles and Genres of singing
    4. In the studio: Vocal harmonies in a studio setting; understanding the Studio, and roles of vocalist and producer
    5. Vocal improvisation and physical gesture

    No textbook is required.

    Course outline

    Contact The School of Performing Arts for a detailed course outline.

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Communication, Critical thinking, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students will gain a greater understanding of working in a recording studio environment. They will also gain the foundational vocal anatomy and techniques and how to apply this knowledge in a recording studio setting. Below are further learning outcomes:

    1. An understanding vocal staging concepts within a studio setting
    2. How to recognise and demonstrate commercial vocal requirements on demand
    3. How to communicate with a producer
    4. How to begin to demonstrate an ability to imitate elements of commercial pop vocal performance
    5. How to establish specific practical knowledge and skills relative to style
    6. How to develop an understanding of studio recording processes
    7. To gain confidence with commercial vocal expectations
    8. To critically review your own performances with a basic understanding of vocal anatomy
    9. To evaluate the presentations of your peers
    10. To recognise and evaluate your individual role and expectations in a studio setting
    11. How to create understanding and communication skills in a recording studio setting
    12. Improve your musicality and ability to harmonise within a commercial recording studio setting
    13. Learn to improvise and create spontaneously within a recording session
    14. How to listen to yourself and understand your voice
    15. How to adapt to a studio setting quickly and effectively


    Not offered in 2024

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught On Campus
    Learning management system
    Back to top