The foundation of vocal music studies is academic singing, closely associated with acting skills and improving vocal technique and body language. Following the growing demands of opera art, not only are students' vocal skills developed, but versatile and vibrant personalities formed. Students are prepared for both opera and concert stages, stylistically covering several centuries of musical knowledge.
Every year, JVLMA students perform large fragments of opera performances and participate in a variety of concerts. In active cooperation with foreign music universities, the vocal department implements Erasmus +, Nordopera and European opera academy projects for its students and teachers.
The voices of vocal graduates are heard not only on local, but also on the world's largest operatic stages. Elīna Garanča, Inese Galante, Inga Kalna, Maija Kovaļevska, Liene Kinča, Egīls Siliņš and other favourites of the Latvian society are graduates from JVLMA. The performance of singers in Latvian music and secondary schools is also invaluable, educating young potential university students.
Historically, the Department of Vocal Music was one of the first to be formed, at around the same time that the Latvian Conservatory was founded. The head of the singing class was Pāvuls Jurjans, who helped train the voices of the students, opera soloists – soprano Ada Benefelde and tenor Oscar Žubitis.
Soon after, tenor Pauls Sakss also joined the teaching ranks. Opera artists and teachers in the Department of Vocal Music have cultivated new singers such as Aleksandrs Viļumanis (senior), Gurijs Antipovs, Ludmila Rjabova-Brauna, Regīna Fridenberga, Laima Andersone-Silāre, Ilga Tiknuse, Kārlis Zariņš, Anita Garanča, Arvīds Imants Luste and many other teachers who have formed the foundations of Latvia’s vocal schools.
Upon successful graduation of a Bachelor’s study programme a Professional Bachelor's degree in Music, Choreography or Musical Pedagogy (in programmes General Education Music Teacher, Professional Music Subject Teacher) is conferred upon a student, together with the fifth level professional qualification according to the specialisation (pianist, violinist, choral conductor, composer, musicologist, choreographer etc.).
The integral curriculum of the Bachelor's studies, which in addition to academic and professional training courses also include the courses required for teaching, provides all graduates the corresponding pedagogical qualification (teacher of piano playing, violin playing, choral conducting, music theory, dance, etc.). Considering the requirements of today's labour market, a number of study programmes allow students the option to obtain the right to work in a music school as a teacher of a different subject (to teach piano playing, music theory, a related wind instrument, etc.) as an elective course.
Upon completion of a Professional Master's degree programme a graduate is granted a Professional Master's degree in Music or Choreography. Upon successful graduation from the Academic Master's degree programme, a Master of Arts degree in Humanities is conferred.
At the end of academic doctorate studies, students receive a statement regarding the acquisition of a doctorate study programme and, after successfully defending the promotional work, obtains a doctoral diploma and a degree of Doctor of Arts (Dr. Art.).