Classical Vocal

Students currently in 8th-11th grades may apply.

The NOCCA Classical Vocal Music Department accepts talented students who have an aptitude and interest in pursuing classical vocal music. The Vocal Music Curriculum is designed to develop the student’s vocal technique, performance skills, and musicianship. Classes include Voice Class (vocal technique and repertoire), Music Theory, Musicianship (ear training and sight singing), Piano Class, Opera Workshop and Choral Ensemble.

Include with your completed application:
Demonstrate a singing voice with potential in classical music by recording and uploading a video of you singing one prepared and memorized song from the following list:

    • Any Italian art song from the 24 Italian Art song book ( G. Shirmer). We recommend Caro mio ben or Sebben crudele for beginning students.
    • One of these songs: “Danny Boy," “Drink to Me Only with Thine Eyes."
    • Two verses of a hymn.
    • A traditional spiritual.

No other song genres are permitted. Some of these songs may be downloaded from our website. Please make a video recording of you singing this song and upload it with your application. You may use live accompaniment, recorded accompaniment, or sing a capella. It is your preference. Please stand to sing and face the camera. Please dress appropriately for an audition (in nice clothes).

At the live virtual audition you will be asked to: 

    • Demonstrate the ability to match pitches and melodies that will be played for you on the piano
    • Repeat clapped rhythms.
    • Sing a major scale ascending and descending.
    • Be able to discuss with the Vocal Music faculty your grades and your desire to explore Classical Vocal Music.
    • Demonstrate basic sight-reading skills involving simple rhythmic and melodic sequences (An example of the sight singing may be downloaded from our website)
    • Answer basic music theory questions.
    • Read aloud a short poem in English that will be given to you at the audition.

Click here for song examples and click here for sight singing examples.


Photo of Dr. Leslie Cain

Dr. Leslie Cain

Music Theory, Ear Training, Accompanist Music


Pianist Leslie Cain, D.M.A., has been widely praised for her delicate touch and nuanced sense of color at the keyboard. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she completed her Bachelor’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with André-Michel Schub. She subsequently earned her Master’s and Doctoral degrees from the University of California, Santa Barbara in the studio of Paul Berkowitz. Prior to attending conservatory, she completed an undergraduate degree in Philosophy from California State University, Los Angeles, where she was named the department’s Outstanding Undergraduate in her junior year.

Dr. Cain’s primary interest as a pianist and scholar is the French repertoire of the early 20th century, especially Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy, and Erik Satie. Her doctoral dissertation, “Ravel the Existentialist?,” reconciles the two disciplines of her academic background by analyzing the composer’s life and work using the philosophy of Jean-Paul Sartre as a conceptual and historical lens. She is also an alumna of the Conservatoire Américain de Fontainebleau, the renowned institute of French music held each summer at Napoleon Bonaparte’s château.

Dr. Cain has performed in master classes with many of the world’s foremost musicians, including Murray Perahia, Jeremy Denk, Gilbert Kalish, Yo-Yo Ma and the Kronos Quartet. She was one of six pianists selected to perform in Richard Goode’s master class on the Debussy preludes at Carnegie Hall, by invitation of the Weill Music Institute. Her other recognitions include first prizes in the Los Angeles International Liszt Competition, the MTNA Senior Piano Competition, and the Cypress College Piano Competition, as well as concerto performances with several orchestras throughout Southern California. During her doctoral studies, she was a member of UC Santa Barbara’s fellowship ensemble, the Young Artist Piano Quartet, and especially enjoys collaborating with string players as a chamber musician.

Besides playing and teaching music, a few of Dr. Cain’s favorite things include her tortoiseshell cat Ouija, lavender lattes, the New Orleans Spooky Book Club, and, when assuming her not-so-secret identity as a fitness instructor, teaching classes for Barre3.


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