Bachelor of Music (BM) in Performance

The Performance program is offered in eight areas: Strings, Woodwinds, Brass, Percussion, Piano, Collaborative Piano, Organ, and Voice. Performance majors combine performance studies with courses in theory, musicology, pedagogy, and related music studies. Each student is assigned to a teacher with whom they study individually during their degree program. The Historical Performance program is available for those seeking instruction on period instruments or baroque style.

Learning Outcomes

All students graduating with a Bachelor of Music degree are expected to demonstrate:

  • A practical knowledge of basic music theory, musicianship, and analytical skills.
  • An appropriate level of technical and interpretive performance skills.
  • A broad knowledge of music history and associated repertories of music.
  • An appropriate level of pedagogical skills.
  • The ability to apply creative approaches to problem-solving and 
self-directed study.

Students graduating with a Bachelor of Music in Performance are additionally expected to:

  • Demonstrate evidence of an advanced level of technical proficiency and artistic judgment on their chosen instrument/voice, through a variety of solo, chamber music, large instrumental/choral ensemble, and operatic performances, as appropriate, over the course of their undergraduate career.

Undergraduate Curricula

General Degree Requirements

To attain the Bachelor of Music, each student must meet the following requirements:

  • Satisfactory completion of all courses in the chosen program of study, as prescribed by the School of Music
  • Completion of a minimum of 132 credits (please refer to the Boston University Residency Requirement policy
  • Demonstration of proficiency in all technical and professional courses, including satisfactory recitals at the junior and senior levels (for performance majors) and a recital of original compositions (for composition majors)

The curriculum falls into four main categories: Musicianship, Applied Studies and Ensembles, Major Requirements, and BU Hub Requirements. For specific policies and procedures, please refer to the School of Music Undergraduate Handbook.

Musicianship

Music Theory Sequence and Aural Skills

All undergraduate music majors must satisfy both the written music theory and aural skills requirement. Music theory consists of a six-semester sequence, while the aural skills sequence lasts four semesters. All entering undergraduate music majors are required to take placement examinations in both music theory and aural skills. Exams are given during the Summer Orientation and at the start of each semester. Based on the results of these placement exams, students may test out of some, but not all, of these courses. Music theory must be completed through Level 6 (MT 302) and aural skills for four semesters and/or through Level 5 (MT 311).

Group Piano

All undergraduate music majors, with the exception of piano performance majors, have a two-semester Group Piano requirement. A non-mandatory Keyboard Proficiency Exam is offered for students wishing to test out of this requirement.

Conducting

All undergraduate music majors have a two-semester conducting requirement, with the exception of voice performance majors, whose requirement is one semester. An introductory course is required of all students, covering basic techniques, terminology, and transpositions. The second semester specializes in either instrumental or choral techniques.

Music History

All undergraduate music majors are required to take four semesters of music history. MH 211 History and Literature of Music 1 and MH 212 History and Literature of Music 2 are required. The remaining music history requirement may be taken from a selection of elective offerings. The list of electives is broken down into two series. Series A, which includes period, opera, and performance practice courses, requires the two survey courses as a prerequisite. Series B, which includes courses in non-Western, jazz, and popular repertories as well as interdisciplinary topics, is open to all students and has no prerequisite.

Applied Studies and Ensembles

Applied Lessons

All undergraduate music majors must study a major instrument for credit every semester in residence, up to a maximum of eight semesters. Instruction is offered in the following areas: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, saxophone, horn, trumpet, trombone, euphonium, tuba, percussion, piano, organ, harp, voice, violin, viola, cello, and bass. Prescribed levels of proficiency are adjudicated through juries and recital permission hearings.

Music Organization

All undergraduate music majors are required to perform in a music organization for credit every semester in residence, up to a maximum of eight semesters. Music education students are exempt from the music organization requirement during their semester of full-time practicum (student teaching).

BU Hub Requirements

All students entering as freshmen in Fall 2018 and after will pursue coursework in the BU Hub, a general education program that is integrated into the entire undergraduate experience. BU Hub requirements are flexible and can be satisfied in many different ways, through coursework in and beyond the major and, in some cases, through co-curricular activities. Students majoring in Composition and Music Theory will, through coursework in the major, ordinarily satisfy BU Hub requirements in Aesthetic Exploration, Historical Consciousness, Quantitative Reasoning, some of the Communication requirements, and many of the requirements in the Intellectual Toolkit. Remaining BU Hub requirements will be satisfied by selecting from a wide range of available courses outside the major or, in some cases, co-curricular experiences.

In addition to BU Hub requirements and specific major requirements, CFA School of Music students must also meet all requirements for obtaining a Bachelor of Music. School of Music requirements can be found here.

Major Requirements

Each major has a number of courses tailored specifically to that major. Students in the major take a combination of professional development courses, literature and pedagogy courses, and electives, as outlined in the Program of Study below. They enhance the general Musicianship components of the curriculum and form the body of major study around the BU Hub coursework.

Program of Study

First Year 1st 2nd
ML 501 Applied Piano 3 3
MT 101, 102 Music Theory 1, 2 3 3
MT 111, 112 Aural Skills 1, 2 1 1
MP 603 Music Organization: Symphonic Chorus .5 .5
First-Year Writing Seminar (e.g., WR 120) 4
Writing, Research, and Inquiry (e.g., WR 150/151/152) 4
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4 4
Electives 1 1
Total credits 16.5 16.5
Second Year
ML 501 Applied Piano 3 3
MT 201, 202 Music Theory 3, 4 3 3
MT 211, 212 Aural Skills 3, 4 1 1
MH 211, 212 History and Literature of Music 1, 2 4 4
MP 610 Music Organization: Ensemble for Pianists 1 1
MP 621 Accompaniment Skills 1 1
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4 4
Total credits 17 17
Third Year
ML 501 Applied Piano 3 3
MT 301, 302 Music Theory 5, 6 2 2
MH XXX Music History Electives 4 4
MP 610 Music Organization: Ensemble for Pianists 1 1
MP 411, 412 Piano Literature 1, 2 3 3
MP 381 Introduction to the Organ 1
MP 382 Harpsichord for Keyboard Majors 1
BU Hub requirement (s) outside the major 4 4
Total credits 18 18
Fourth Year
ML 501 Applied Piano 3 3
MP 603 Music Organization: Symphonic Chorus .5 .5
MP 408 Chamber Music 1 1
MP 413, 414 Piano Literature 3, 4 3 3
MP 415, 416 Piano Pedagogy and Practicum 1, 2 2 2
MP 390 or 391 Conducting 1,2 2 2
Electives 3 3
Total credits 14.5 14.5


First Year 1st 2nd
ML 505 Applied Organ 3 3
MP 603 Music Organization: Symphonic Chorus .5 .5
MT 101, 102 Music Theory 1, 2 3 3
MT 111, 112 Aural Skills 1, 2 1 1
Electives in Music 1 1
First-Year Writing Seminar (e.g., WR 120) 4
Writing, Research, and Inquiry (e.g., WR 150/151/152) 4
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4 4
Electives 1
Total credits 17.5 16.5
Second Year
ML 505 Applied Organ 3 3
MP 609 Music Organization: Baroque Chamber Music 1 1
MH 211, 212 History and Literature of Music 1, 2 4 4
MT 201, 202 Music Theory 3, 4 3 3
MT 211, 212 Aural Skills 3, 4 1 1
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4 4
Electives 1 2
Total credits 17 18
Third Year
ML 505 Applied Organ 3 3
MP 609 Music Organization: Baroque Chamber Music 1 1
MP 382 Harpsichord for Keyboard Majors 1
MH XXX Music History Electives 4 4
MT 301, 302 Music Theory 5, 6 2 2
MT XXX Music Theory Electives 3 3
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4 4
Electives 1
Total credits 18 18
Fourth Year
ML 505 Applied Organ 3 3
MP 341, 342 Modal and Tonal Counterpoint 2 2
MP 390, 391 Conducting 1, 2 2 2
MP 603 Music Organization: Symphonic Chorus .5 .5
MP 609 Music Organization: Baroque Chamber Music 1 1
MP 685 Organ Seminar 2 2
Electives 3 3
Total credits 13.5 13.5


First Year 1st 2nd
Applied Music (varies by instrument) 3 3
MP 111, 112 Group Piano 1, 2 1 1
MP 600 Music Organization 1 1
MT 101, 102 Music Theory 1, 2 3 3
MT 111, 112 Aural Skills 1, 2 1 1
First-Year Writing Seminar (e.g., WR 120) 4
Writing, Research, and Inquiry (e.g., WR 150/151/152) 4
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4 4
Electives 1
Total credits 18 17
Second Year
Applied Music (varies by instrument) 3 3
MP 600 Music Organization 1 1
MP 408 Chamber Music* 1 1
MH 211, 212 History and Literature of Music 1, 2 4 4
MT 201, 202 Music Theory 3, 4 3 3
MT 211, 212 Aural Skills 3, 4 1 1
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4 4
Electives 1
Total credits 17 18
Third Year
Applied Music (varies by instrument) 3 3
MP 600 Music Organization 1 1
MP 408 Chamber Music* 1 1
MH XXX Music History Electives 4 4
MT 301, 302 Music Theory 5, 6 2 2
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4 4
Electives 1 1
Total credits 16 16
Fourth Year
Applied Music (varies by instrument) 3 3
MP 390, 391 Conducting 1, 2 2 2
MP 441, 442 String Literature 1, 2 2 2
MP 445, 446 String Pedagogy and Practicum 1, 2 2 2
MP 600 Music Organization 1 1
MP 408 Chamber Music* 1 1
Electives (could be used for BU Hub requirements outside the major) 4 4
Total credits 15 15

*Bass majors may substitute MP 440 Orchestral Techniques.


First Year 1st 2nd
ML 539 Applied Music 3 3
MP 111, 112 Group Piano 1, 2 1 1
MP 449 Harp Pedagogy/Literature/Ensemble 1 1
MP 600 Music Organization 1 1
MT 101, 102 Music Theory 1, 2 3 3
MT 111, 112 Aural Skills 1, 2 1 1
First-Year Writing Seminar (e.g., WR 120) 4
Writing, Research and Inquiry (e.g., WR 150/151/152) 4
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4
Electives 2
Total credits 16 18
Second Year
ML 539 Applied Music 3 3
MP 449 Harp Pedagogy/Literature/Ensemble 1 1
MP 600 Music Organization 1 1
MH 211, 212 History and Literature of Music 1, 2 4 4
MT 201, 202 Music Theory 3, 4 3 3
MT 211, 212 Aural Skills 3, 4 1 1
MP 408 Chamber Music* 1 1
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4 4
Total credits 18 18
Third Year
ML 539 Applied Music 3 3
MP 449 Harp Pedagogy/Literature/Ensemble 1 1
MP 600 Music Organization 1 1
MH XXX Music History Electives 4 4
MT 301, 302 Music Theory 5, 6 2 2
MP 408 Chamber Music* 1 1
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4 4
Electives 1 1
Total credits 17 17
Fourth Year
ML 539 Applied Music 3 3
MP 390, 391 Conducting 1, 2 2 2
MP 449 Harp Pedagogy/Literature/Ensemble 1 1
MP 600 Music Organization 1 1
MP 408 Chamber Music* 1 1
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4
Electives (could be used for BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major) 4
Electives 2 2
Total credits 14 14

* Harp majors may substitute approved electives.


First Year 1st 2nd
ML 507 Applied Voice 2 2
MP 111, 112 Group Piano 1, 2 1 1
MP 131, 132 Phonetics for Singing 1, 2 1 1
MP 603 Music Organization: Symphonic Chorus .5 .5
MP 604 Music Organization: Small Choral Ensemble .5 .5
MT 101, 102 Music Theory 1, 2 3 3
MT 111, 112 Aural Skills 1, 2 1 1
CAS LI 131, 132 Modern Language (Italian) 4 4
First-Year Writing Seminar (e.g., WR 120) 4
Writing, Research and Inquiry (e.g., WR 150/151/152) 4
Electives 1 1
Total credits 18 18
Second Year
ML 507 Applied Voice 3 3
MP 231, 232 Diction (English, Italian) 1 1
MP 603 Music Organization: Symphonic Chorus .5 .5
MP 604 Music Organization: Small Choral Ensemble .5 .5
MH 211, 212 History and Literature of Music 1, 2 4 4
MT 201, 202 Music Theory 3, 4 3 3
MT 211, 212 Aural Skills 3, 4 1 1
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4 4
Electives 1 1
Total credits 18 18
Third Year
ML 507 Applied Voice 3 3
MP 233, 234 Diction (French, German) 1 1
MP 331, 332 Song Literature 1, 2 2 2
MP 390 Conducting I 2
MP 603 Music Organization: Symphonic Chorus .5 .5
MP 604 Music Organization: Small Choral Ensemble .5 .5
MH XXX Music History Electives 4 4
MT 301, 302 Music Theory 5, 6 2 2
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4
Total credits 17 15
Fourth Year
ML 507 Applied Voice 4 4
MP 333 Song Literature 3 2
Voice Department Elective 1
MP 603 Music Organization: Symphonic Chorus .5 .5
MP 604 Music Organization: Small Choral Ensemble .5 .5
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4 4
Electives (could be used for BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major) 4
Electives 3
Total credits 15 13


First Year 1st 2nd
Applied Music (varies by instrument) 3 3
Music Organization (varies) 1 1
MP 111, 112 Group Piano 1, 2 1 1
MP 408 Chamber Music* 1
MT 101, 102 Music Theory 1, 2 3 3
MT 111, 112 Aural Skills 1, 2 1 1
First-Year Writing Seminar (e.g., WR 120) 4
Writing, Research and Inquiry (e.g., WR 150/151/152) 4
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4 4
Electives 1
Total credits 18 18
Second Year
Applied Music (varies by instrument) 3 3
Music Organization (varies) 1 1
MP 408 Chamber Music* 1 1
MH 211, 212 History and Literature of Music 1, 2 4 4
MT 201, 202 Music Theory 3, 4 3 3
MT 211, 212 Aural Skills 3, 4 1 1
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4 4
Electives 1 1
Total credits 18 18
Third Year
Applied Music (varies by instrument) 3 3
Music Organization (varies) 1 1
MP 390, 391 Conducting 1, 2 2 2
MP 408 Chamber Music* 1
MH XXX Music History Electives 4 4
MT 301, 302 Music Theory 5, 6 2 2
BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major 4 4
Electives 1
Total credits 16 18
Fourth Year
Applied Music (varies by instrument) 3 3
Music Organization (varies) 1 1
MP 465 Pedagogy and Practicum 1 2
MP 408 Chamber Music* 1 1
Electives (could be used for BU Hub requirement(s) outside the major) 4 8
Electives 2
Total credits 13 13

* Chamber Music for percussionists may be satisfied by a total of six semesters of enrollment in either MP 671 Percussion Ensemble or MP 470 Percussion Orchestral Techniques.