Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Performance

NDNU’s Musical Arts Department offers the only BFA and MFA musical performance degrees in the San Francisco Bay Area. We provide comprehensive education and training for students in music, musical theatre, and opera. Specific tracks include:

  • Musical Theatre Performance
  • Vocal & Opera & Performance
  • Piano & Instrumental Performance
  • Collaborative Piano
  • Pedagogy
  • Music Management (in collaboration with NDNU’s School of Business & Management)

Our exceptional faculty is active professionally and accomplished academically. Small classes in an intimate environment assure individual mentorship by these dedicated instructors. Our graduates are performing on Broadway, national tours, with San Francisco Opera, TheatreWorks, regional opera and theatre companies, and directing performing organizations and educational programs across the country.

See the NDNU General Catalog for program requirements and course descriptions.


Talent based scholarships include the Emerging Artist Talent Awards, the Brooks/Herzo and Finess Awards for undergraduates, and the Robert & Carla Webster Scholarship, for which all students are eligible. Scholarships are awarded after application, audition and interview. Early application is advised.

The Department of Music and Vocal Arts offers several Emerging Artist Scholarships to qualified undergraduates annually. Potential students should contact the Music and Vocal Arts Office for an audition application. Auditions take place in January of each year for entry the following fall. In cases where it is not possible for students to audition in person, a video audition is acceptable. Additional endowed scholarships are available to students qualifying by audition. All scholarship recipients are required to participate in Music and Vocal Arts productions and ensembles as assigned, and are expected to meet academic requirements throughout their university experience.

Requirements: Music majors should prepare two contrasting works from the standard repertoire. Musical Theatre majors should prepare two contrasting songs (classical or musical theater repertoire), and a 1-2 minute monologue. An accompanist will be provided (CD accompaniment is not accepted). Students may also audition by audio or videotape.

Performing Opportunities

Our Musical Arts students perform regularly throughout the year.

  • Musicals
  • Operas
  • Recitals & Cabarets
  • Concerts, including Camerata Chamber Ensemble, Voci (vocal solo performances), and special events.

Performances take place in the Taube Center studio space, the NDNU Theatre, the Cunningham Chapel, the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts in Tracy and other venues around the Bay Area.

Professional Relationships

Relationships with performing organizations offer unique apprenticeships for qualified students as performers, directors and accompanists. Current community collaborators include the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts in Tracy, Hillbarn Theatre, Redwood Symphony, and TheatreWorks Silicon Valley.

Admission Requirements

NDNU admits students for fall and spring semesters. Please visit Admissions for complete admission requirements. Each area of study requires an audition before acceptance into the major, in addition to the university’s standard application and acceptance process. Prospective students should contact the Department of Music and Vocal Arts for audition and interview requirements and schedules.

BFA Musical Performance Audition Requirements

Musical Theatre: 2 songs, 1 short monologue. Be prepared to learn a short dance combination. Opera & Vocal Performance: 2 songs or arias, at least 1 in English. Instrumental Performance: 2 classical pieces in contrasting styles. Music Management: Same as above, depending on the student’s major instrument.


NDNU Admissions

Debra Lambert
Chair, Department of Music and Vocal Arts